Rescued at sea: UBC students get an early Christmas present

sailboat_ada.jpg The crew of U.S. research vessel Neil Armstrong recovered Ada after a year and a half at sea.

After a year and a half spent drifting at sea, a self-navigating robotic sailboat built by University of British Columbia students has been rescued off the coast of Florida by a U.S. research vessel.

The UBC students launched the “sailbot”—called Ada after the first computer scientist—off the Newfoundland coast in August 2016 on a course to Ireland. The students had hoped that Ada would be the first sailboat to cross the Atlantic without human help, but Ada was damaged in a storm and the students lost track of its location. The boat did however set the record for longest distance autonomously sailed across the Atlantic Ocean during this time.

Ada was discovered Dec. 1 by the research vessel Neil Armstrong, during an expedition led by Jennifer Miksis-Olds, a research scientist in the school of marine science and ocean engineering at the University of New Hampshire. (See Miksis-Olds’ blog post about the discovery.)

Efforts are now underway to bring the boat back to B.C.

Click here to view Flickr album of Ada’s launch and retrieval.

For interviews, please contact: 

UBC students:

Kristoffer Vik Hansen
Tel: 778.995.6401
Email: kristoffer.vik.hansen@gmail.com

Arek Sredzki
Tel: 650.484.8396
Email: arek@sredzki.com

U.S. research vessel:

Capt. Kent Sheasley
Email: master@armstrong.whoi.edu

Jennifer Miksis-Olds
By email only before Dec. 15: sci4@armstrong.whoi.edu
After Dec. 15: j.miksisolds@unh.edu