Mayflower sails again
Transatlantic robot boat hopes to recreate historic voyage to America of 400 years ago
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
“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