The Alexander’s path tracked in Track and Trace.
In “The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me Today”, Tom Waits’ dark and brooding hero hopes to drown, but the Sea takes pity and keeps pushing him safely back to shore. Conversely, in “Homeward Bound” Simon and Garfunkel sang of a traveler going far away but longing for the comforts of home. But we’re talking about miniboats and satellite asset tracking here. This better tie up nicely…
Since June 25, Geoforce has tracked the progress of the Alexander, a 2-meter unmanned sailboat built by students at the United Technologies Center in Bangor, ME and aided by computer models developed at the University of Maine.
Implementing lessons learned from last year’s Sailing on a Dream miniboat launch, the Alexander increased its ballast to 20 pounds, added a larger sail area, and installed a compact, rugged Geoforce GT0 Satellite Asset Tracker. Everyone agreed Alexander would make quick work of crossing the Atlantic.
Never tell the Sea your plans.
Things started well, thanks to fishing vessel Triston Marie carrying Alexander past the breakers and launching Alexander 100 miles east of Portland, Maine. The GT0 reported like a Swiss watch, and ‘Alex immediately headed due east to the North Atlantic. But then it tacked sharply north and hugged the Maine coastline southward on a return course to Portland. Then north again, and as of this writing, the Alexander is between Monhegan and Matinic Islands.
Thanks to the GT0 and its Track and Trace online application, Geoforce displays the Alexander’s position every four hours for the students back at the United Technologies Center. And the don’t-say-it-or-you’ll-jinx-it landing site might not be too rural for a full recovery effort.
So, is this a case of the ocean not “wanting” Alexander, or is it just “homeward bound”? Well, it’s a crazy world out there right now, so maybe the Ocean just wants Alexander back home, safe and sound.
So does Geoforce. We’ll keep you informed of any new developments.
Jay Karlson is a Senior Product Manager at Geoforce.