Forum: Race Officers

Autonomous marks

Peter van Muyden
Nationality: Canada
  • International Race Officer
A major Canadian regatta site is looking at the use of autonomous marks for their events.   I was wondering if anybody who has used such marks could email answers to the following questions to  :
  • Name of the supplier:
  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • Were you able to reduce the number of mark boats?
  • Were you able to reduce the number of volunteers?

Created: Fri 03:02


Paul White
Nationality: Australia
There’s a useful article with a list of issues and suppliers here
Created: Fri 03:51
Sen Yamaoka
Nationality: Japan
  • National Judge
  • National Umpire
  • National Race Officer
Robotic Marks: Evaluating the issues
Scuttlebutt Sailing News
Published on February 15th, 2021

* MarkSetBot (USA): 
* RoboMark (Swiss): 
* SMark (Swiss):
* SmartMark (Germany): 
* Roboboj (Swiss): 
Created: Fri 03:58
Walter D’Auria
Nationality: Italy
  • National Race Officer
  • National Judge
mail written. Good luck
Created: Fri 10:48
Mike Fering
Nationality: United States of America
We were one of the beta test sites for Marksetbot 4-5 years ago and agree that the Scuttlebutt article is a good summary of the considerations. I would add one more important one: training and operation. It takes a skilled operator to run these things, especially if you're using several. We have not followed up by buying or leasing one for several reasons including that one. Others: expense, storage, maintenance, transporting to the course, size and weight, and so on. It did not reduce the need for boats or volunteers. We found it was terrific for the pin end of the start line for maintaining a square line in shifty wind in a deep lake and I would still love to have a bot that would work for that purpose for our small club. I think it will happen... someday. For large regattas with top RC and well-trained operators, I think these could be excellent right now.
Created: Fri 17:43
TJ Shea
Nationality: United States of America
  • Regional Race Officer
Block Island Race Week, hosted by the Storm Trysail Club is supposedly using mark set bots for the regatta.  you can inquire at
Created: Fri 19:27
Shannon Wood
Nationality: United States of America
  • National Race Officer
  • Umpire In Training
  • National Judge
Great in deep water, but you cant sell me on their usefulness in shallow water. Did not reduce the number of markset boats; still need them for change of course, especially if the change of course needs to be done QUICKLY. The autonomous marks move slowly (ie, change marks in the later part of the race or between races). Great to use at a gate. Battery life is not optimal for a full day on the water, especially if they need to go a long way to the race course and you need to make a number of changes to the course. Highly recommend towing them out to racecourse to prevent battery from running out. When the batteries fade, the marks tend to go "rogue" and are uncontrollable, including "jumping around" into boats trying to round the mark. Every event I've worked with them has had at least one autonomous mark physically moved and anchored by the RC. I also did not think the weather info gathered from the windward autonomous mark matched up with what other RC boats were reporting. I've heard feedback from both ROs and competitors; both sides of the coin. They still have some quirks to work out. Good idea, but not applicable to, or necessary for, every single event.
Created: Fri 20:09
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