Land, Ho!

 

“Australia is big.”

-Tim Lapham, Professional Australian (and Geoforce employee)

In September, we shared how Geoforce was monitoring the progress of Sailing on a Dream, a 2-meter unmanned sailboat riding the currents of the Indian Ocean. Equipped with a Geoforce tracking device and using the Track and Trace online software platform to track her progress, the ‘ Dream launched into the Cape of Good Hope in July.

The goal was to teach students about the science of our oceans while sharing all recorded data with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

As of this writing, ”Sailing on A Dream” is just a few miles off the southern coast of Australia.  IF she continues course, (this is the sea, after all) she’ll land in the next day or two near Israelite Bay, Australia. That means she has sailed 5,952 miles from Cape Town just 150 days ago. That averages to 39.66 miles per day, a phenomenal pace for a 67-inch sailboat.

And Geoforce has been with her every step of the way.

In fact, Geoforce has taken so many location samples, we had to archive the readings just so we wouldn’t fill up the servers. And that’s okay—we know where the ‘Dream has been. We’re much more interested in where she’s going, and  that high reporting rate is about to pay off at the most exciting and dangerous stage of the project- landfall and recovery.

According to the students’ website miniboat research.org, miniboats come ashore on following wind and sea, and boats can very quickly be damaged onshore if not immediately recovered.  It’s best for a miniboat to be picked up at sea, but often there isn’t enough time to make proper arrangements.

Some miniboats can take weeks or months to recover, while others have been recovered in a little as 90 minutes after landfall. The key is knowing the exact location and getting the word out. Let’s hope the students get some takers down under.

And if that doesn’t work, maybe Geoforce could deploy its own professional Australian. For Tim, that’s a bucket list item: getting paid for a day at the beach.

Land ho, indeed.

Jay Karlson is a Senior Product Manager at Geoforce.