52 Super Series go Smartmark, autonomous remote controlled
During the upcoming five regatta season the 52 Super Series will utilise autonomous remote controlled marks from the German company Smartmark. The buoys were comprehensively tested last season at the Rolex TP52 World Championship in Mallorca. The marks can be precisely remotely controlled to a GPS position said to be accurate to within 11cms.
The Smartmark will significantly reduce the number of RIBs and personnel required on the water each day thereby reducing the fuel burned and thereby contributing to the circuit's sustainability targets this year. It will also eliminate the use of anchors for mark buoys which damage the seabed.
And while the sustainability gains are significant and long lasting there are expected to be some improved efficiency and accuracy in course laying which is all controlled from the Race Committee Boat.
The Smartmark are built around a GRP hull – like a small RIB - and are positioned using 3-D Drone technology. Each has quadruple sensors - four gyroscopes, four barometers, four compasses and seven thermal sensors. One part of the sensors is thermally encapsulated whereas the other part is located in the atmosphere. With the help of the intelligent software the sensors are responsible for more than 70% of the precision of the Smartmark (30% by GPS). Allowing to distinguish whether the mark is moving or it's deviations in the GPS signal. They are positioned using two electric motors. A web based interface system makes it relatively straightforward for the PRO to set up the desired course geometry and make any changes quickly and efficiently.
The marks have proven efficient in recent high wind, strong current tests in the Solent off Southampton operating in four knots of current and 25kts (on the Baltic Sea the marks operated in 35 knots of wind) true wind speed they are reported to have stayed to in position to within 11cms. And while the marks are controlled from the committee boat because of the web based interface control can be assumed from other remote locations or stations in extreme situations.
The mark's exact positions can be interfaced into the 52 Super Series race tracking during racing and can be positioned into each boat's navigation software.
Sustainability Director of the 52 Super Series Lars Böcking commented,
"We are very excited to be moving to Smartmark. It is important for us to be leading by example and adopting pragmatic new technologies which will allow us to reduce our carbon footprint by cutting back on what has been a significant daily fuel use. We are looking to improve in all areas all the time."
CEO of 52 Super Series Agustin Zulueta reported,
"We estimate this will save us the need for two RIBs operating on the water each day and that means saving more than 100 litres of fuel each event. We are very much looking forwards to working with Smartmark and seeing the savings and the improvements we can make."
CEO & Co-founder of Smartmark Jonas Schumacher stated,
"It is great to be chosen by 52 Super Series and get the trust in our technology by one of the most professional race circuits in the world. The core values of Smartmark are highest quality standards in sail racing by boosting efficiency and sustainability. 52 Super Series practices these values in all their events and daily business too."