Our autonomous sailboat, Force 12 Xplorer, uses our proprietary dual rigid
wingsail design. The wingsails are robust, reliable, and maximize the points of sail – the relative wind direction to which the boat can make progress. The hull and keel design offer optimal stability and self-righting capabilities, so that it can endure the most severe weather conditions, including hurricanes. But it also travels well in light winds, providing superior control and excellent speeds.
It’s propelled entirely by wind, while the solar panel provides power for the sensors, communication devices, processor and rudder controller. We can operate it autonomously or by remote control, and using satellite telemetry we can deploy it anywhere in the world.
Force 12 Xplorer is ideal for use as an alternative to tethered buoys for data collection, or for long-duration missions in areas with reliable winds. The vessel has been engineered to be as simple as possible for maximum reliability, while ensuring it has the capabilities as a versatile robotic research craft. At only 2.5 meters in length and 50 kg in mass, it can easily be carried by two people, and launched from a large ship with a single attachment point.
The rigid wing sails provide two main advantages over traditional cloth sails; indefinite longevity, and buoyancy to assist with self righting. Traditional cloth sails will fray and degrade quickly when exposed to heavy winds, while rigid wing sails are impervious. We have also simplified the overall system as much as possible with our patent-pending sail control system. No actuators or vulnerable trim tabs are required to control the sails, creating extreme reliability and light weight. The boat can travel 270 degrees relative to wind direction, and can carry a payload of 30 kg.
Sensors can be affixed to the long fin keel at a depth where aeration is minimal. Overall, this vessel is designed to be like a corked bottle – having the ability to tumble end over end off the tops of fifty foot breaking waves without being compromised. The ballasted keel and buoyant sails allow for instant self righting, while its light weight and carefully thought-out design enable reliable and fast performance.