GPS Guided Trans-Atlantic Robot Boat romana czech arabic Russian Hindi Polish
Home . About . GPS . Downloads . Business . Partners . Contact . Family . AVL . Links . History . AsOnTV . Forum

click here for BBC TV South broadcast of launch, reported by Ben Moore, BBC Reporter Play the November 2012 video of Snoopy's launch on BBC TV South News with Robin getting soaked. Then family video of Snoopy's 2012 launch with BBC reporters too :-)

Snoopy's 2012 Attempt to cross The Atlantic

updated 1330 Monday 21st October 2013 UK time


If you stumbled on this page by accident, and need "the bigger picture", see Snoopy's GPS Guided Trans-Atlantic Robot Boat which usually holds the latest news.

This page describes Snoopy's first attempt to cross the Atlantic, from UK to USA. That was in November 2012.

The material was on the front page, but that is getting full with later attempts ! :-)

We learn something on each attempt. e.g. in 2012 we saw that Snoopy can sail straight, despite a strong tide - but we need to keep an eye on him :-)

Possible sighting of lost Snoopy Sloop 8 ? See "Where did Snoopy go ?" below.

Snoopy's first attempt, in November 2012 .... what happened ?

In brief: Snoopy sailed straight towards his destination, despite a strong sideways tide. Then he moved AGAINST the tide ! He then landed on the steps of an old military bunker !

Snoopy's 2012 attempt on Tuesday 27th November

click here for BBC TV news of Robin launching Snoopy into sea Snoopy snatched at about 1345 using a kayak ? :-)

Sailed at 1130am on Tuesday 27th November ...
taken by someone at 1:45pm to near The Needles ...
released after 5:30pm to sail onto the rocks ...
reported his GPS position for another hour ...
... then Snoopy went AWOL ! :-)
Help us discover what happened to Snoopy ...

Where did Snoopy go ?

click here for the search page. Whoever snatched Snoopy, in November 2012, released him again in Alum Bay. The question is then "where did Snoopy go next ?"
Robin's best guess: hidden in the corner of Alum Bay, in or near a cave, or further east along that north coast of the Isle of Wight ?
70% chance ??? above still true for Snoopy's first two weeks on Isle of Wight while winds were from north ? But the wind changed !
20% chance ??? that new wind has blown Snoopy onto UK mainland: Barton-on-Sea to Hurst Castle, or even to Lee-on-the-Solent ?
10% chance ??? that "wind bending" caused by cliffs, changed north wind to an east wind, and blew Snoopy past Needles ? to the French coast ?
0.1% chance ??? that Snoopy got past Needles, with undamaged rudder and autopilot, and is on his way to annoy the Americans in 2013 ? :-)

Is that Snoopy's boat, on it's side, to the right of a cave ? Click on the picture or here to see the search page, and the picture taken in July 2013.

Searching for Snoopy ...

See The Search for Snoopy in his Robot Boat - for more information to those helping, such as the map showing coverage of searches done since Snoopy hit the rocks.

whoever snatched Snoopy had 'bottle' :-)

Who caught Snoopy and carried him into Alum Bay ? :-)

An important message to the sailor who "snatched" Snoopy : Don't worry - you must know from these pages, that I do have a sense of humour ! :-)
Robin's open letter to "Mr Snoopy-Snatcher" is here :-)

Snoopy's GPS track, wind and tide Robin noticed, rather late, that his tidal current data did not match up with the movement of Snoopy.
Why is this so important ? There were two reasons:
1. the next launch of Snoopy should be at a time when "the tide is right". It WAS right on the 27th !
2. if Robin's data was correct, then Snoopy was "stolen" by a passing boat that Tuesday afternoon ! :-)

Even if Snoopy is now lost, it would be good to know for sure, what happened. Unexplained things might delay Snoopy's next boat being dropped into the sea again soon. Robin is very grateful to Chris at the UKHO, who sent him detailed tidal current data by email. The result was so dramatic that Robin had to 'phone Chris back immediately, to make sure he'd not misunderstood it. THE TIDE WAS FLOWING TOWARDS THE WEST when Snoopy appeared to be dragged to the east, onto the Needles. There are many good implications for this latest information. e.g. that Snoopy was not "confused" by the tide.

The GPS track shows that, after being "caught", Snoopy was carried at about 1.5 knots into Alum Bay. What sails at 1.5 knots ? A sea kayak with Snoopy ? :-) It would only have taken 30 minutes from Alum Bay or Freshwater, with the tide, to reach Snoopy - but bringing him back must have been something else !

If you know who it was, please show them this page. Whatever they did, will not be a problem for them - in fact quite the reverse ! :-)

an alternative explanation to Snoopy having been "snatched" ? :-)

Snoopy snatched at about 1345 using a kayak ? Snoopy appears to have been "snatched" at about 1:45pm Tuesday afternoon. This was after over two hours sailing in a perfectly straight line, direction 190 degrees. This is shown clearly on Snoopy's Track on Google Earth. This was about 3.1 miles / 2.6 NM / 4.9km from the shore, if a few minutes after his 13:34 GPS position report.

Please tell me of any other explanation you can think of - but please look at the evidence here first. Here are some suggestions:

  • That the UKHO ( UK Hydrographic Office ) tidal data is wrong. i.e. tide was flowing to the east ?
    Hardly likely - I've tested it against our GPS Bottle tests in 2011. The UKHO would have very red faces :-)
  • That Snoopy had "weather helm" (turning him towards wind). e.g. if his jib broke and he became "unbalanced".
    Hardly likely - the few hours in wind of 20mph was far less than the many weeks of 24/7 tests in winds of up to 50mph.
  • "Wind Bending" caused by waves ? The North wind bent 90 degrees towards east, along bottom of wave trough ?
    Sounds plausible - but does anyone know of an article that confirms and quantifies this effect - if it exists ?
But please keep the ideas coming :-)

recognition of shipping using photographs and AIS data...

Snoopy and what ship at 1142am ? :-) Suppose you have a photo: maybe taken near the beach that Tuesday afternoon, and in the background there is the sea, with perhaps a blurred speck that might be a kayak or small sailing dingy - skippered by " Mr Snoopy-Snatcher " .... we might be able to match that speck with where Snoopy was at that time, from Snoopy's known GPS track. We will also need the time of the photo (e.g. from the file name or PC properties of the digital picture), and where the camera was (e.g. by looking on google maps and doing a right click, then "What's Here?" to get the lat/lon. e.g. 50.7344,-1.6577.

This picture below, taken at 1142, is obviously not directly relevant to photos that may show the boat that "caught" Snoopy at about 1:45pm that Tuesday afternoon. Here, Snoopy was only about 300 yards from the shore, having only been launched 12 minutes earlier. Maybe ships, like those on the horizon, can be used as mobile "landmarks", to get direction information on your photo, in a similar way to static landmarks like The Needles ?

nearest boat in middle of our home video Here is an AIS map which shows you what is available. Historical AIS ( Automatic Identification System ) might help us. If you look at this wider AIS map you can see ships such as ABIS Belfast , 27 miles out. This ship is 89m long. But how much would we have seen above the horizon at 27 miles ? Maybe not ! :-)

Royal Marines Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Can you do better than Robin with these links ? Right now he's not managed to find ships that match this picture in apparent size according to their distance away.
If we can, then maybe AIS data can be used to help calibrate any photos that come in which may show Snoopy being carried to Alum Bay by kayak :-)

But maybe the shape of the ship is more useful. Suppose that ship in the middle was a Royal Marine LCU with the AIS off ? For those into arithmetic: there are quite a few calculations that can easily be done from that picture. e.g. Snoopy's sail is roughly 3 metres below the horizon - which matches where we stood with our camcorder on the beach. On the cliff, it would have been very different. Those apparent sizes of ships on the horizon should match each other and Snoopy's sail. e.g. if that ship in the middle was a RM LCU of length 30m, then it would appear about that size if it were about 3 miles out, where Snoopy was snatched: a good time and place to drop off a kayak ? Pity that the return trip is such a long paddle ;-)
Snoopy and what three ships at 1142am on 27th November 2012 ? :-)

Ben, Snoopy and Robin

What the Papers say ... Don't believe all you read in the papers :-)

Read Jasper Coppings article in the Sunday Telegraph the Sunday before launch.
Read BBC News report of "crash landing" here or Nice pictures and amusing words in The Mail Online here :-)
The news about Snoopy even got as far as New Zealand, in the Wellington,NZ Dom-Post article :-)
First paper: Snoopy prepared for self-navigating Atlantic voyage by Paul Miles in Maidenhead Advertiser on 5th September 2012.
Journalists may have started with our Press Release and video, but editors need to edit : the meaning may not remain the same :-)
Robin says to Tim Robinson of BBC Radio Solent , "This is the guy who lost one of my GPS bottles last year !" :-)
Higher resolution pictures for the Press ... Snoopy, Mug, Boat, Robin, BenTV, Launch, TimRobin, Cat, NewBoat

Robin thanks his friends ...

Snoopy says bye-bye to Bray Lake staff
  • All staff at Bray Lake Watersports for use of the lake, numerous rescue missions and coffees. Here they say bye-bye to Snoopy.
  • local friend John who started Robin off, provided the team name, and has supplied numerous original ideas. See Team-Joker.
  • local friend Dick Bailey, who has been with Robin on numerous "adventures" and who rescued Snoopy in October 2013.
  • Peter Facey for his own time and expense, searching for Snoopy and those pictures to help others.
  • local friend Eric, for supply of Snoopy Sloop 4, and our best videos. See Eric's other videos here.
  • local friend Gary, the Master Car Mechanic , for donating Snoopy Sloops 1 and 2, when Robin started all this in 2008.
  • my old friend Klaus in Germany, who in 2008, suggested use of SPOT to me and Microtransat Teams. Also for his interfacing card.
  • the Intelligent Robotics Group at Aberystwyth University, Wales, for organising Microtransat and their own heroic attempts.
  • the French Teams for first suggesting The Microtransat Challenge years ago, and their repeated heroic attempts. See below!
  • Those in the Press who've gone "beyond the call of duty" including for last year's BBC GPS Bottles project.
  • The nice chap at the National Trust who called back with information about the military bunker where Snoopy landed.
  • The nice lady who is Custodian of the Needles Battery . She has tweeted this, after checking with Robin:
    "Can you help Robin find Robot boat Snoopy? See if you can help. Last seen near The Needles."
    Robin, despite his name, cannot Tweet. Please take care what you tweet, so as not to encourage others to take risks.
  • Chris at the UKHO UKHO ( UK Hydrographic Office ) for detailed tidal data, confirming that Snoopy was "snatched" :-)
  • My long-suffering wife, June, and all those that I've yet to thank here :-)

Snoopy's preparation for the Atlantic crossing - the first taste of salt water ! ...

boat 6 first test in sea

relevant links ...

See Snoopy's Front Page to put this page into context. e.g. latest news on this year's attempt. Also many more videos and links.
See Robin's Snoopy Sloop robot boat - progress in 2011 and 2012 for an earlier copy of material, now on this page, which was on the front page. You may find more detail and links.
See Snoopy's Track on Google Earth to analyse what happened on 27th November 2012.
See Snoopy's last position on Google Maps : 7:39pm Tuesday 27th, near a military bunker in Alum Bay.
See The Search for Snoopy in his Robot Boat for more information such as the map showing coverage of searches done in 2012.
See The 2012 Microtransat Map for Snoopy and the French. This SPOT Track is from the Mail Online. This Map before deletion.
See for how busy the shipping lanes are.
See UK Winds , Sailflow Winds , Met Office Rain & Wind, World Sea conditions , Temperatures and Sunshine.
See Jasper Coppings article in the Sunday Telegraph the Sunday before launch, and our original Press Release.
Play the video of Snoopy's launch on BBC TV News , Robin getting wet, then our family video of Snoopy's launch with reporters too :-)
Play the 15 minute Snoopy-Sloop 2013 video with latest boat, the 2012 attempt, all boats since 2008 - or the 5 minute version here :-)

Snoopy-Sloop 9 is the latest robot boat

visits to this page counted by Web Counter

© 1991-2013 Robin Lovelock. Please credit if you use material from any of these pages. Thankyou.