This fall, the MarkSetBot schedule for our Bot Techs has been packed. We’re nearing 29,000 Bot Days on the water and many weekends have seen more than 100 Bots online at any given time. The weekend of October 7th was one of those busy weekends, with Bots being used at elite events across the world. Two of these events were the 2023 US Sailing Adult Championship, better known as the Mallory Cup, in Holland, Michigan and the World Match Racing Tour Gold Cup in Bermuda.
The Mallory Cup
Situated on the Eastern side of Lake Michigan, Holland is known for its annual Tulip Festival, the famous “Big Red” Lighthouse and world class sailing.
This was on full display for the Mallory Cup. Seven teams from across the country were selected to compete at Macatawa Bay Yacht Club in the VXOne during the 3-day event. The event saw peak Lake Michigan conditions, with flat water and strong winds.
Saturday saw Lake Michigan proving her power and racing was ultimately called off due to the breeze being above the sailable limit for the VXOne. A frequent fixture at MBYC, Bots have been used for the Chubb Championship and more recently as part of the GL52 Summer Series.
MarkSetBot helps keep the course square in all types of breeze and conditions. Betsy Alison, Director of Adult Sailing at US Sailing gave us her thoughts on using MarkSetBot. “The MarkSetBots were great to have on the water,” Betsy said. “The data the Bot sent back on wind strength helped us make some weather-related calls and the accuracy in positioning seemed spot on. We were really thankful for Bots being a part of our event!”
The Gold Cup
Bermuda is known as an idyllic, 21-square-mile island in the vast North Atlantic Ocean. Given its location and reliance on nature, it is no surprise that a key focus of the island is increasing and improving sustainability. Island residents and local business take steps to increase their eco-friendly practices. The Bermuda Gold Cup was no different. “The Bermuda Gold Cup is committed to the Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta program,” race organizers said. “An important part of that effort is the use of MarkSetBots, the popular robotic buoys that eliminate the need for mark set boats and their accompanying exhaust pollution and also reduce the impact on the biodiversity of seafloors as they eliminate the need for anchors.”
While the two events were happening thousands of miles away from each other, big breeze conditions were present at both. The first two days of the Bermuda Gold Cup saw light and shifty breeze with 32 races completed. However, threat of Tropical Storm Philippe caused the Race Organizers to cancel the next two days of racing out of an abundance of caution. There was hope that racing would once again commence on Saturday, but breeze of over 30 knots kept sailors on shore.
The breeze did not however, keep the Bots off the water. Hoping to start sailing as soon as the breeze died down, race officials had the Bots head out and wait. The Bots held position the entire time they were out on the water in the windy and wavy weather.
Regardless of conditions or location, MarkSetBots are able to seamlessly manage an entire racecourse, keeping everything square. This helps Race Officers and sailors spend less time waiting and more time sailing.