If you watched the New Zealand Sail Grand Prix this weekend with a keen eye, you may have spotted the debut of some new SailGP F50 course marks. The giant round marks at the leeward gate are the first of a forthcoming full course of autonomous marks powered by MarkSetBot.

Our Grand Prix Bot, or GP Bot, was built in partnership with SailGP and SailGP Technologies. These marks are a massive 5 meters in diameter. Their significant size makes them easily visible from every corner of the racecourse. MarkSetBot technology navigates and holds the buoys in place without the use of anchors.

Sustainability is a major tenet of SailGP and the GP Bots help further fulfill that mission. The upcycled hull and inflatable topside are built with sustainable materials. The battery-powered marks are held in place using all-electric motors and can be solar-charged. Thanks to MarkSetBot positioning technology, no anchors are used to hold these marks on station, so there’s no damage to the seabed or local marine ecosystems.

MarkSetBot has partnered with SailGP since Season 1 in 2019, providing our standard-sized Bots to mark the boundary of the F50 racecourse and set courses for the SailGP Inspire racing with WASZP, RS Feva, and Armstrong wing foils. For SailGP New Zealand, a whopping sixteen MarkSetBots manned the course, fourteen standard Bots and two GP Bots.

Additional GP Bots will be introduced at upcoming SailGP events, ultimately resulting in the full F50 racecourse set by these incredible buoys.

SailGP rounding of F50 course GP Bot
Setting up the GP Bot