Mayflower sails again

Transat­lantic ro­bot boat hopes to recre­ate his­toric voy­age to Amer­ica of 400 years ago

Motorboat & Yachting - - News -

A multi-mil­lion-pound transat­lantic ro­bot boat could carry your name on its maiden voy­age from Ply­mouth, eng­land to Ply­mouth in the USA.

Fundrais­ers be­hind the Mayflower Au­ton­o­mous Ship (MAS) are launch­ing a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign later this month, of­fer­ing in­di­vid­u­als the chance to etch their name on the side of the tri­maran when it’s built.

It’s the 21st-cen­tury ver­sion of the Mayflower and will sail to Amer­ica in 2020 with­out crew on the 400th an­niver­sary of the first sail­ing.

or­gan­is­ers need £300,000 for the cru­cial de­sign and devel­op­ment stage – which will in­clude ro­bust wave tank scale-model test­ing – to get the boat from blue­print to boat­yard.

‘new pil­grims’ are be­ing of­fered the chance to get their name writ­ten into his­tory. For £20 you can put your name on the boat; for £50 you can put your fam­ily’s name on it and for £35 you can put two names and a sig­nif­i­cant date.

“So far we’ve the plans, the pas­sion, the po­ten­tial. now all we need is to get it to pro­duc­tion,” said pro­gramme man­ager Pa­trick dowsett. “It is ground-break­ing in so many ways and will put Ply­mouth on the global map for ma­rine sci­ence ex­cel­lence. we are of­fer­ing every­one a chance to get in­volved in this in­cred­i­ble devon pro­ject,” said dowsett, who spent 30 years in the royal navy, in­clud­ing time as a com­man­der in charge of

HMS Northum­ber­land.

“this first stage will nail down the plan­ning, test­ing, pro­ject devel­op­ment and mod­el­ling to en­able us to start the build of the real thing in 2018,” he said.

the MAS will be a 32m-long car­bon-fi­bre tri­maran, 16m wide. de­sign and test­ing will take about 18 months. the team will start build­ing in 2018 and tri­als will start later that year.

the launch will ce­ment the city of Ply­mouth’s rep­u­ta­tion as a global centre of ma­rine ex­cel­lence and a ma­rine sci­ence hub.

the MAS is the first ves­sel of its kind able to sail with­out cap­tain or crew across the At­lantic and con­duct sci­en­tific re­search around the world.

with driver­less cars al­ready on the hori­zon and air­lines us­ing com­put­ers to fly planes, MAS could lead the way to chang­ing the way the ship­ping in­dus­try works.

It can be con­trolled by a com­puter or by a cap­tain sit­ting be­hind a vir­tual bridge on­shore. It would sail out of Ply­mouth via re­mote con­trol and switch to au­ton­o­mous con­trol once at sea.

It will be so­lar pow­ered, with cut­tingedge bat­tery and re­new­able en­ergy cap­ture, trav­el­ling to in­hos­pitable parts of the world to con­duct sci­en­tific re­search and col­lect data.

there will be un­manned aerial ve­hi­cles plus life rafts on board to re­spond to dis­tress calls.

the MAS will be built in Ply­mouth and the south-west, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Ply­mouth sub­ma­rine builder Msubs, Ply­mouth Univer­sity and char­i­ta­ble ma­rine re­search foun­da­tion Pro­mare.

£20 gets your name on the boat in a fundrais­ing scheme to get it from blue­print to boat­yard

For £20, you can put your name on the Mayflower as one of its vir­tual ‘pil­grims’

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