Hi ! I'm Robin Lovelock, and I've set up this little page to provide some information, while Jamie is away from his computer that controls the official website stem.epsomcollege.org.uk , where you will see the complete picture, including the latest track of where "That'll Do" has reached. My Snoopy page explains why I am so interested in this Trans-Atlantic attempt. Keep up the good work guys ! :-)
The Epsom College Team got some Royal Navy help In having their boat launched well offshore. This means that they did not need to wait for a "weather window", as does Snoopy, who is launched from the beach. We were able to follow the AIS track of the RN boat, carrying "That'll Do", out to it's launch point, south of Torquay and the Fawlty Towers Hotel.
The track of "That'll Do" is below. Latest information is on stem.epsomcollege.org.uk . The "wobble", due to the tide, is normal, for a compass based autopilot - or any low speed boat. More detailed pages linked from my "Snoopy" page explain things like the behaviour of the tidal current, and that of all low speed boats, including with GPS-Only autopilots, those using a compass, or even full sized sailors, aiming for a distant visual landmark, such as a lighthouse. The tidal current follows a cycle, from side to side. If you draw a line between the "peaks", where the direction of tidal current is changing, you will see what direction the boat is sailing. The same thing applies to a bottle, without sails, but it will only move downwind at the speed of the surface water: perhaps 0.6% of wind speed. See Snoopy's Questions and Answers page. Click on the Local Guardian article to read it. You can listen to Jamie's interview on Talk Radio here.
Comparing the track with the wind direction & speed , we can make a good guess at what is happening on the boat. e.g. if the wind picks up from the west, as is expected, the boat may continue drifting downwind to the east, as it has in recent days. This indicates a problem with the steering. e.g. loss of solar power; the mainsail having come loose; the rudder servo or it's linkage having broken; something magnetic near the compass; an autopilot software bug; or the little hamster steering the boat, not having been properly trained :-)
If the boat starts sailing towards the west or south west, then everything is working OK. e.g. a dodgy wiring connection makes contact again. Who is taking bets on where "That'll Do" will land ? It's all a matter of how well you can forcast the wind direction & speed !
One thing is for sure: the brilliantly named "That'll Do" has already achieved good results, whatever the final outcome. Let's hope that tracker keeps going: it will show us where the boat hits land, and we may even get it back, to return to Jamie and his Epsom College Team. If anyone is able to help, please contact me on my email@example.com. I'll update this after Jamie is back in contact.
Robin Lovelock - grumpy old ex-NATO mad scientist :-)
What a fantastic picture, sent to me by Jamie, taken soon after the launch of "That'll Do" on Tuesday 5th July 2016.
The path of "That'll Do", from launch until the tracking stopped on Sunday 10th July. The boat might now be washed up on a beach between Torquay and Brighton !
Barry sent us these pictures and video clips of "That'll Do", bobbing about becalmed, at the southern most part of her mission...
Peter's map showing plot of "That'll Do". Other information includes Snoopy's launch site and course waypoints. Peter appears as photographer on numerous Snoopy launches and the 2012 photo-recces . Peter has done all our good "Snoopy" maps over the years, and recent pioneering work on showing Snoopy's position near other vessels reporting on AIS. If you have Google Earth, you can look at the track using RBEPSOM1.KML.
From Peter (of Team-Joker) morning of Friday 8th July: Brown bands are shipping lanes from marinetraffic. You can see she's quite near the Channel lightvessel and, at point of closest approach, was 3.74 nm from it. I guess even if there was a web cam on the lightvessel we wouldn't have seen her. Nice one Peter !
The "Meeting with Van Eyck": Why was "That'll Do" moving in the opposite direction to the tidal current, and wind, and along a shipping route ? Could it have got snagged in the nets, or been taken on board this Belgian fishing boat, Fishing boat Z-53 Van Eyck ? The unexpected movement lasted much of Saturday afternoon, 9th July, from about 1500 to 1800 GMT. If Van Eyck was not close enough, maybe it saw "That'll Do", or even just another vessel passing - that was NOT reporting on AIS ? It would be lovely if they took a photo :-)
Could this be the cafe where those guys off Van Eyck have their chips and mayonaise ? :-)
Robin's visit to see "That'll Do", guarded by the Dragon's Teeth, on Monday 18th July 2016. The boat looks well-guarded, and should be safe.
Of course, not all ships have their AIS switched on. e.g. these Royal Marine Landing Craft Utilities, caught by the BBC video in 2012, before Snoopy also moved mysteriously against the tide, and ended up on the steps of an old military bunker :-)
How we count visitors to this page is explained near the end of the Snoopy page.
© 1991-2016 Robin Lovelock, Sunninghill Systems. 22 Armitage Court, Sunninghill, Ascot, Berks SL5 9TA, United Kingdom.