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To open new frontiers in low-impact ocean research by creating the first sailboat to autonomously cross the Atlantic Ocean while simultaneously educating the next generation of engineers.

Recent Activity

5-Year Plan


Year 1

Began with refurbishing an old boat and renaming it Git Boat. This provided Software with a platform to develop on while Mechanical and Electrical worked on the next boat. Our year-end goal is to sail Git Boat autonomously around Lake Waban in Wellesley.

Year 2

Our second year will include finishing our next boat, a trimaran with a wing sail named Hawsepiper, and refining our behavior algorithms. We will also begin design of the I-Boat. The year will culminate with testing in a small section of the Massachusetts Bay.

Years 3-4

As time goes on, we will build increasingly large boats, working our way up to something on the order of 20-30 feet long. We will also be further refining our software, giving it the brains to cross an open ocean. As our technologies progress, we’ll test them in increasingly formidable conditions.

Year 5

In our last year, we’ll put the finishing touches on whatever Electrical, Mechanical, and Software systems we’ve developed. We’ll do our final durability testing, triple-check all our math (and the rules of the open ocean), and set her free!



Tumultuous Atlantic Ocean conditions demand exceedingly robust construction


Prolonged periods of physical inaccessiblity require extremely reliabile systems


Changing sea and weather conditions necessitate constant adjustment to behavior


Conducting ocean research requires a customizable, multi-purpose platform



Originally known as Olin Robotic Sailing (ORS), we took 2nd place overall in Sailboat 2011 as rookie team. We also presented our work at National Instruments conference, as we were using their LabVIEW platform at the time.


Our success during the previous year’s Sailbot afforded us the option of hosting Sailbot 2012, which we accepted and hosted in Gloucester, MA. We  came in 4th overall.


Having made the decision to no longer compete in Sailboat, we started experimenting with different sized boats in order to work up to something worthy of crossing the Atlantic. This included attempting to convert a Sunfish (pictured) into an autonomous sailboat. Through our toils, we determined that a boat made for humans wasn’t the best platform for developing an unmanned autonomous sailboat, as the design decisions made to accommodate humans often got in our way.


We decided to take a year-long hiatus from our original mission to compete in the AUVSI RoboBoat competition. To accomodate our broadened interests, we renamed ourselves Olin Aquatic Robotic Systems (OARS). However, by the end of the year it was clear this was not where our team’s collective heart was, and thus we were eager to refocus our attention the following year.


With our focus back on trans-Atlantic sailing and team enthusiasm at a high, we first needed a manageable platform to continue development on. This meant bringing back to life a small boat that hadn’t seen the light of day in years, Damn Yankee. Recristened Git Boat, it has served as Software’s development platform of choice for the Spring 2018 semester. Meanwhile, Mechanical has been working on designing a new and improved boat named Hawsepiper, which will be a trimaran (three hulls) and have a wing sail, like the America’s Cup racing yachts. Having achieved all our goals set so far, we are headed into testing season as the weather warms up.