Since 2019, MarkSetBot has been a partner of SailGP, with our robotic buoys serving as course marks for the SailGP Inspire program for local youth and as boundary markers. For many months, we’ve worked with SailGP on the next step—a goal of transitioning all F50 course marks to a special, custom designed robotic buoy, the MarkSetBot Grand Prix Bot.
We’re pleased to announce that at SailGP Saint-Tropez in September, we debuted our custom, super-sized Grand Prix Bot to the SailGP executive team and key sponsors!
What’s a Grand Prix Bot?
When we sat down to whiteboard the Grand Prix Bot, the SailGP team had some specific requirements:
It needs to be BIG and easily identifiable, but easy to handle! The Grand Prix Bot is made for TV coverage. It towers at 9 feet off the water. Whether you’re spotting the marks as a spectator on shore, on water or via the live broadcast, the Grand Prix Bot will help make the race course clear. Despite its significant size, the inflatable GP Bot is lightweight and easy to lift and launch.
It needs to be fast! The GP Bot moves quickly to its next waypoint, motoring at up to 10 knots.
It needs to be towable at super speeds! When designing the Grand Prix Bot planing hull, we had a big goal in mind—towing at 20 knots! Even cooler, the GP Bot motor has regenerative charging, allowing the Bot to recharge its battery while in tow.
It needs plenty of branding space! The MarkSetBot topsides have always been an ideal billboard for sponsor recognition. With the increased topside size of the Grand Prix Bot, there’s even more real estate for event branding.
It needs to anchor virtually to avoid seabed damage and allow for faster course changes! This one required zero additional
effort—it’s the MarkSetBot sweet spot!
It needs to pack small to reduce the SailGP shipping footprint! With 8 events around the world (and counting!), SailGP is focused on moving the necessary equipment as efficiently and sustainably as possible. With the GP Bot’s fully inflatable design (like all MarkSetBots), we eliminate several shipping containers!
It needs to tie into the SailGP technology for course management! We’ve integrated with both the SailGP course management software and the Live Line telemetry system used to overlay all the cool graphics you see on the TV broadcast.
You’ll be able to check out the full fleet of Grand Prix Bots at the start of SailGP Season 3 in 2022!