The current generation of sailing robots require a small number of essential components in order to function successfully. These include some kind of sail and a device for de- tecting the direction of the wind, in order to ensure that the angle of attack of the sail is suitable for the course to be sailed. These two devices present some of the most difficult engineering and control system challenges in building sailing robots. This paper summarises a number of experimental designs and approaches to the construction of these components. In particular a number of wingsail construction and control techniques are presented as well as designs for mechanical and ultrasonic wind direction sensors. All of the devices presented have been built and tested by the authors. Commentary on the performance and interaction of the devices is also presented.
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|Published - 10 Jul 2009