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Dalhousie's Autonomous Sailboat Recovered from Ireland

Posted by Piotr Kawalec on July 5, 2019 in News
CERC.OCEAN's Mechanical Engineer Piotr Kawalec (front) with the rest of the SeaLeon team before its Trans-Atlantic crossing
CERC.OCEAN's Mechanical Engineer Piotr Kawalec (front) with the rest of the SeaLeon team before its Trans-Atlantic crossing

On June 10, 2019 the “SeaLeon”, Dalhousie’s Autonomous Sailboat, was brought back to Nova Scotia after washing up on the Irish coast seven months after its launch. The SeaLeon was designed and built by students and staff from Dalhousie’s Faculty of Engineering. It was Dalhousie’s second attempt at the Microtransat Challenge, which is a transatlantic race for small (< 2.4m), wind-powered robotic vessels. The SeaLeon set a new record in the fully autonomous category, reporting its location over 3700 km in three months. After a telemetry failure on October 14, the vessel was presumed to have been lost at sea – until February 21, when the team received reports of it surfacing in Ireland, washed up on a beach in Castletownbere on the south-western coast. To date, no autonomous vessel has completed the journey.

Piotr Kawalec, CERC.OCEAN's newly-hired Mechanical Engineer, was one of the SeaLeon designers and helped to launch it from Scaterie Island, Cape Breton on July 30, 2018. With the vessel now recovered and in usable shape, Piotr is hoping to rejoin the project, forming a partnership between the CERC.OCEAN Lab and the Faculty of Engineering. The goal is to rebuild the SeaLeon, equipping it with oceanographic sensors to collect data at the air-sea interface during its next deployment. Piotr will be one of the presenters at the upcoming COVE Connector Event on July 18, 2019, entitled “SeaLeon’s Travels”. For more information about this event, please visit: https://coveocean.com/events/2019-07-18/ocean-connector-sealeon-s-travels.

Check out the following links to find out more about SeaLeon:

https://www.microtransat.org/tracking-history.php?year=2018

https://www.dal.ca/news/2019/03/07/lost--then-found--dal-engineering-sailboat-washes-up-on-ireland-.html