Frequently Asked Questions
The most asked MarkSetBot questions
MarkSetBot Product Details
What functionalities does the MarkSetBot app have?
The MarkSetBot app is a robust course-setting toolkit that places course data easily at your fingertips!
- Course Layouts: We have 14 of the most common racecourses pre-set in the app. Don’t see what you need? Reach out, and our team can help set up your preferred course geometry in the app. Enter your wind direction, course lengths and select a racecourse and the app will automatically layout your course on the map.
- Battery status: Quickly see the battery status of every Bot on your course, including overall battery health, current power draw, and the percentage of power remaining.
- Depth: We use Navionics charts so you can easily see depth on your entire course. While setting in very deep water is no longer an issue (no anchors!!), the depth charts are very helpful if you have shallows on your courses.
- Time to Set Course: When you’re setting the course or making a course change, the Bots keep you up to date on their progress. In real-time, they share both distance and time so you’ll know exactly how long until they are set again.
- Wind data: If you have the MarkSetBot wind instrument, you’ll see current wind (speed and direction), a 3 hour average (speed and direction), plus wind rose graphs and plots that help visualize the shifts.
- Horn Signals: If you added the MarkSetBot horn system, you can trigger course signals for starts, finishes or course changes from the app
- Sharing the Course: You can easily share the course you’ve set to anyone… other race committee members or even competitors. This means, competitors no longer have to ping the line! It’s also awesome if you’re using a mixed course of Bots and traditional marks. Mark Boats can see exactly where to drop a traditional mark without relying on radio cues.
We have even more exciting features around course automation built in to our RaceOS modules – reach out for details!
How does the Bot move?
To move the Bot, the user sets a navigate command via the MarkSetBot app. The app then commands the Bot to navigate to the proper location and hold position.
We have three in-app ways to move the MarkSetBot – setting and navigating to a waypoint, controlling via “remote control mode” using a joystick function and programming a route. We also offer an off-grid remote that controls the MarkSetBot without a cellular connection.
How does the Bot stay in place without an anchor?
Magic! Well, that and a lot of math, plus many thousands of hours of honing the code. Our sophisticated anchoring algorithm, developed by a team of Professional Engineers, has been in place since 2014. Our engineering team has extensive experience in aircraft, military and commercial applications. Our anchoring code is tried and true – it has been in use in real life applications for tens of thousands of hours.
This algorithm, combined with years of hull testing, has led to a stable mark that holds position in the most extreme conditions.
What kind of conditions can the MarkSetBot handle?
The Bots are good to go in big wind and waves. They’ve been used successfully in conditions with wind above 30 knots and waves of 3 meters. We know an upper wind limit exists, but we haven’t found it yet. In any condition that a Race Committee would send boats out in, the Bots will work.
Over the years, we’ve honed our hull based on studying its performance in varying conditions and have found a balance that performs ideally in all conditions.
How visible are the MarkSetBots?
The Bots are easy to find on the course. Our topside is visible at distances up to 2nm (3.704 km).
How portable is the MarkSetBot? Can I move them in my car?
We developed the MarkSetBot with ease of transport in mind, from shipping them around the world to moving them in traditional cars. MarkSetBot is inflatable so it packs quite small. You can fit 3 Bots in most sedans as long as the rear seat folds down. There also are no heavy components, so it’s easy to handle for one person.
When traveling to events, the MarkSetBot team uses a 6×8 foot trailer towed with a truck and can transport 12 Bots.
Will the batteries power the MarkSetBot for a full day?
Yes! Our 100 Ah lithium ion batteries power the MarkSetBot for 24 hours in normal conditions (8-10 knots of breeze, 1-2 foot waves). Battery life is impacted by how much the Bot must move around (course changes, motoring to course), wind speed, waves, and current. In our experience, in windy conditions (over 20 knots), Bots are able to hold position for 16-20 hours… plenty of time for a normal race day. If extended battery life is needed, reach out and we can discuss options.
MarkSetBots report their battery status in the app, including the health of the battery, current power draw, and the percentage of power remaining, so you’re always equipped with up-to-date data.
Can the battery be changed on the water?
It is possible to change batteries on the water, but it’s generally unnecessary given the long battery life.
How long do the Bots take to charge?
The Bots charge using any 110-240 volt outlet. With our included charger, the batteries charge at 10% every hour. Most of our customers use less than 50% of battery in a day’s racing, so they could fully re-charge in approximately 5 hours. The fastest you could fully charge an empty battery is 1 hour 30 minutes with a super charger.
If you are interested in sustainable power, we also have a solar charging set-up. In fact, it’s how we charge our Bots at the MarkSetBot factory!
How fast is MarkSetBot?
MarkSetBots travel at 4 knots. If you need more speed, reach out to us about our 24-volt prototype that achieves 5 knots of speed.
Race Committees often are interested in how quickly a course change can happen with a Bot. Most of the time, the Bots will get to a new location faster than a top-notch mark boat. Here are a few examples:
- Shifting the weather mark 5-degrees on a 1 nm leg takes around 60 seconds for the Bot
- Moving the starting pin 20-degrees takes under 30 seconds
How do MarkSetBots get to the racecourse?
The MarkSetBots are able to navigate to your racecourse autonomously. But, in high traffic areas or for courses that are more than 1 nm from your club, we recommend towing.
For towing, we have two options. Our tow line, allows you to tow 8 Bots from one boat. In most venues with average sea state, we recommend towing at 6 knots. If you are in a venue with flat water and towing a single Bot, you can safely go 10 knots. If you need to tow at faster speeds, ask us about our high speed towing raft.
Is MarkSetBot easy to handle onshore?
MarkSetBots are large for excellent visibility on the water, but are lightweight and manageable.
With a ramp and our dolly, they can easily be launched or retrieved by one person. If you’d prefer to carry them or don’t have ramp access, two people can handle the task of launching and retrieving the Bots from a dock.
Do the MarkSetBots use a cellular network?
Yes, MarkSetBot and RaceOS primarily use a cellular network for communication. There are massive benefits to being internet-connected. We’re able to do super awesome stuff with the “Internet of Things” like recording races for playback and OCS detection to the back-to-basics like remote software updates so that your Bot is never without our latest and greatest.
MarkSetBot cellular cards access more than 300 networks, so no matter where you take your Bot it will connect to that area’s most reliable network connection. If your Bots lose connection while on the water, they will continue to hold their last received position.
But if your area has cellular challenges, no need to worry – our Bots can handle that too. MarkSetBot offers an off-grid remote that you can use to control any Bot on your course with no cellular connection.
MarkSetBot on the Water
Where has the MarkSetBot been used?
Bots have been used at events from local racing to major regattas around the world. Below you’ll find a list of some of the highlights:
- SailGP in New York, Cowes, Marseilles, Sydney, Bermuda, and Taranto
- World Sailing Para-World Championship
- Windsurfer Class World Trophy
- US Open Olympic Class Regattas
- Lightning Women’s, Juniors, Masters’ North American Championship
- US Sailing Team Lightning Pan-American Games trials
- Rolex Capri Sailing Week
- Charleston Race Week
- Block Island Race Week
- Safe Harbor Race Week
- RS21 North American Championship
- O’pen Bic North American Championship
- 18 Foot Skiff European Championship
- Great Lakes 52 Season Series
- M32 World North American and European Series
- Grimaldi Cup
- Monaco Energy Boat Challenge
- Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga
- Countless COVID-friendly regattas
- And hundreds of other events each year!
These events are just a small selection of major events that have used MarkSetBots. If you would like to learn more, reach out to email@example.com!
How many MarkSetBots do I need?
That’s really up to you. We have customers who just use a single MarkSetBot and others who Botify their entire course. One Bot set as the pin end of your starting line can make a big impact, or a windward mark Bot equipped with a wind instrument might be the most exciting option for your race committee. But it’s incredibly cool to see the entire course rotate on an axis after a shift with the click of a button. Remember, these marks are dynamic so it’s possible for the starting/finish line to double as a leeward gate.
When we ran the world’s first fully automated regatta, we used just three marks. Two Bots set the starting line and one Bot was the windward mark. After the boats crossed the line, the starting line Bots adjusted to become leeward gates and ultimately a finish line.
Reach out – we can discuss your racing scenarios and what would be the best fit.
Can I use the Bots for sponsor branding?
The Bots make awesome sponsor billboards! There’s so much more surface area than a regular mark! From flags to stickers to banners to custom Bot pennies, we’ve seen it all!
Our number 1 recommendation is a banner. Every Bot topside has integrated grommets for hanging banners. Because of the topside design, banners do not create any impact on the performance of your Bot. We can share sponsor banner dimensions or even a sizing for a custom sleeve for your topsides.
Does MarkSetBot sponsor events?
Yes! MarkSetBot often sponsors events. And, we are happy to hear that you are supporting technology in sailing! If you’re interested in having MarkSetBot sponsor your event, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What regulations apply to MarkSetBots?
Every location has their own specific regulations for the use of “remote-controlled vessels”.
We are unaware of any regions around the World that prohibit or require a license to use a MarkSetBot.
In the United States, the Bot is treated as a small watercraft that doesn’t have a combustion engine and accordingly doesn’t require registration or licensing tags. Very similar to a youth kayak.
If you are concerned, you should reach out to your government or coast guard to confirm that remote controlled vessels are not prohibited.
MarkSetBot Shipping and Servicing
Do you ship internationally?
Yes – we have shipped MarkSetBots all over the world!
MarkSetBots pack easily for shipping. In fact, we can put four MarkSetBots on a single pallet. A two-meter long trailer can transport 6 Bots. For shipping, we typically work with UPS or a Freight Forwarding service. We also can work with package aggregators.
Please reach out to us for a shipping quote.
Do you provide a warranty on the MarkSetBot?
Yes! The MarkSetBot warranty depends on the purchase or rental option you select, but ranges from a one-year warranty (for Bot Ownership) to a lifetime warranty (for Bot As A Service Subscriptions). We also offer an option to extend the one-year warranty.
See Agreement for details.
What is the lifespan of the MarkSetBot?
With regular maintenance, Bots can have a lifecycle of 5+ years. In fact, the first MarkSetBot we ever made in 2015 is still active on the water.
We’ve also been very intentional about our product innovations being backwards compatible so our latest upgrades are applicable to all Bots.
MarkSetBot software is updated regularly. Because our Bots utilize a cellular network, they are able to automatically receive software updates anywhere in the world.
What is the annual cost of maintenance?
Maintenance costs are remarkably low. Most customers spend less than $100 a year.
How do owners access upgrades and new parts?
Hardware upgrades are included in our Bot As A Service Subscription. They can also be purchased on an a la carte basis for Bot Ownership customers.
How is the MarkSetBot serviced?
We designed the MarkSetBot with ease of service in mind. The MarkSetBot is built in a modular fashion so it’s easy to replace parts. The most likely part of the MarkSetBot to need service is the motor. Rather than building a proprietary motor that would be difficult to service, MarkSetBot partnered with MinnKota because they have an vast network of service and dealers worldwide. If there’s ever an issue with your motor, any MinnKota service shop near you can handle the repair.
MarkSetBot also has a dealer network. So, while our headquarters is in the United States, we have a network of dealers who can assist with any MarkSetBot sales or service need throughout Europe, Asia and Oceania… and growing!
Where are your dealers located?
We have MarkSetBot and RaceOS dealers in the United States, the Netherlands, Italy, Monaco, France, Switzerland, Australia and Japan. If you’d like to be connected to a dealer in your area, please reach out at email@example.com.
We’re always looking to grow our network. If you are interested in working with MarkSetBot, please reach out!