GPS Guided Trans-Atlantic Robot Boat

Snoopy's March 2015 Attempt Page

updated 1330 Friday 14th August 2015 UK Time

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1. Introduction ...

Robin Lovelock Snoopy Found at Brighton

If you need "the bigger picture" about this, see Snoopy the Vikings's front page: GPS Guided Trans-Atlantic Robot Boat.

Robin and Snoopy owe at least a few beers to whoever did that "sea rescue". Did anyone take any photos ? Please Contact Robin.

Play the 8 minute Youtube video of Snoopy's March 2015 Atlantic Attempt for the launch until Snoopy's collection from Brighton.

I've not changed much on this "March 2015 Attempt" page, since the last update on 1st April, other than the start of this introduction. This page reads as a "blog", with my adding pictures and words, day by day, as events unfolded. I've left mistakes uncorrected, and if my words tend to "ramble" occasionally, you can also put that down to lack of sleep. There was no way we knew what might be significant, if and when we lost contact with Snoopy, including the close approach of other boats.

One thing is for sure - we certainly did not expect Snoopy to turn up on Brighton Beach, as he did. Click on the picture showing Snoopy in The Coalition Nightclub to see more detail - including someone, at sea, having moved that mainsail sheet. That required a quick link to be unscrewed then screwed back together again. But the detailed track of I-GotU positions, every 12 minutes, from launch, until arrival on Brighton beach, is the most revealing information of all. To view this complete track on Google Earth, click on RBAA15A.KML. Or look at the I-GotU track in the pictures below ! :-)

Atlantic Attempt March 2015 Atlantic Attempt March 2015 Atlantic Attempt March 2015 Atlantic Attempt March 2015 Brighton landing

Atlantic Attempt March 2015 Latest Map after April Fools Day

Contents (click on the day, to scroll quickly to it):
Day 1: Wednesday 18th March and the launch at 11am ...
Day 2: Thursday 19th March ... "Channel" waypoint, then south west towards the "Weymouth" waypoint ...
Day 3: Friday 20th March ... Snoopy approaching the "Weymouth" waypoint ...
Day 4: Saturday 21st March ... Snoopy near the "Weymouth" waypoint ...
Day 5: Sunday 22nd March ... Snoopy finally past "Weymouth" waypoint ? ...
Day 6: Monday 23rd March ... Snoopy's photo and video opportunity, south of Portland Bill ? ...
Day 7: Tuesday 24th March ... Snoopy on way from Weymouth to "Prawle" south of Torquay ...
Day 8: Wednesday 25th March ... Snoopy in mid Channel between Exmouth and Cherbourg ...
Day 9: Thursday 26th March ... Bonjour France ! ...
Day 10: Friday 27th March ... the calm before the storm ? ...SPOT REPORTS STOPPING ? Rescue option ?
The search for Snoopy begins ...
Day 11: Saturday 28th March ... the search begins, the storm arrives, and we need the TV and Radio :-)
Day 12: Sunday 29th March ... England switches to BST. Wind has been ~33mph from WSW ... no news is bad news
Day 13: Monday 30th March ... Snoopy south of Brighton ? No sightings ...no Radio/TV/Newspaper help yet ...
Day 14: Tuesday 31st March ... Snoopy lands on Brighton beach ! :-)
Day 15: Wednesday 1st April ... Snoopy unlocked from prison ? Robin's spaghetti tree is in flower !

Snoopy's route along the UK coast and useful links, such as vessel traffic and predicted winds ...

1.1 Robin's "Best Guess", based on SPOT , Wind, Sun, Rain , Vessel Traffic , Tide ,
Winds Expected in coming days , and MagicSeaweed Webcams ...

You all have the same information as me, even if I'm more familiar with it, starting back in 2004 with our first "GPS Bottle in the sea" hobby project :-)

Snoopy's Boat10, with "Snoopy Sloop X" on the hull, is one "tough little cookey". The very same boat has already survived three crashes on rocks, after days at sea: twice on the Isle of Wight, and last year's near Portland Bill. The pictures and then videos linked from "Snoopy's Front Page" at the top, show you how little damage was sustained. But most of all, these robot boats are skippered by Snoopy the Viking, with years of sailing under his belt. If Snoopy approaches your shores, keep your women safe indoors !

Where is Snoopy ?

2. the story in pictures ...

2.1. Day 1: Wednesday 18th March and the launch at 11am ...

Snoopy's "Launch Team" assemble near the zig-zag steps, west of Boscombe Pier ... Dick, Roy, and Robin ...

March 2015 Atlantic Attempt

Robin checks his watch ... 1100 and time for launch ...

March 2015 Atlantic Attempt

Snoopy is dropped off the side of the groin, and sails away ...

March 2015 Atlantic Attempt

Snoopy heads to the east, to compensate for the westward flowing tidal current ....

March 2015 Atlantic Attempt

Snoopy passes a fishing boat, and sails off into the distance ...

March 2015 Atlantic Attempt

2.2. Day 2: Thursday 19th March ... "Channel" waypoint, then south west towards the "Weymouth" waypoint ...

Situation at 9am Thursday: tide carrying Snoopy east, but he is expected to make progress again soon ...

March 2015 Atlantic Attempt Map at 9am Thursday

From the 10am Thursday Newsflash: Launch was 11am Wednesday, and good progress was made south, near slack water at 1430, before tide carried Snoopy towards the east. The next slack water was at 2130, and as expected, he made more progress south between 2000 and 2300. We thought Snoopy had reached his "Channel" waypoint, 15 miles out, at about 11pm, before heading south-westwards, towards the next waypoint 20 miles south of Weymouth - but this was the tidal current at work. Light wind and the tide meant he was swept back north of "Channel", at about 6am, so both tide and Snoopy were aiming east, towards "Channel". The tide changes direction, towards the west, at about 0930, so we hope for good progress again this morning. Snoopy's hourly SPOT position reports were delayed, but that was expected, and seen during Bray Lake 24/7 testing, in the Blog.

Here below is a map from Peter, showing Snoopy's track, wind, and tidal current, on a Google Earth map ...

March 2015 Atlantic Attempt Map at 9am Thursday

March 2015 Atlantic Attempt Map at 1640 Thursday On the right is Peter's map, after the SPOT report at 1640 Thursday 19th. Click on the map to see the larger version and read the details.

You can see Snoopy is now heading towards the "Weymouth" waypoint. There is no obvious reason for the earlier steering inaccuracy, unless perhaps it was less wind than the 8mph to 15mph indicated on the various web sites ? This looks like a more useful indicator: Wind speed near Weymouth: it seems to show a very low speed averaging only about 5 kmph in recent hours. i.e. near only 3 mph !

The tidal current will now be changing direction, towards the east again, after slack water at about 1615. We will see how well Snoopy does. Come on wind ! :-)

2.3. Day 3: Friday 20th March ... Snoopy approaching the "Weymouth" waypoint ...

Snoopy's progress in March 2015 attempt

From the 8am Friday Newsflash ... "Snoopy is making slow but steady progress, along his planned route, despite light wind and strong tidal current. This is shown well by Peter's map, on the right, which shows Snoopy's SPOT GPS track, wind, and tidal current. The next "slack water" is at 1100, when the tide should start helping, rather than hindering, Snoopy's progress towards his next "weymouth" waypoint, well south of Portland Bill.

We hope that the light wind, sometimes less than 5mph, will pick up, and so Snoopy can sail faster. He tends to sail at about 10% of the wind speed, so that's about 1 mph/knots if the wind is 10 mph/knots. The tide is closer to 2 knots at it's maximum speed - but it does change direction every 6 hours ! :-)

If Snoopy does something unexpected, you may wish to look at shipping in the area, on www.marinetraffic.com e.g. Snoopy being snagged in a fishing net, or being picked up by a small boat before they read/understand the labels on his sails. This morning I got a message from John, who reported a close encounter with Black Rover, a military vessel, at location 50.34794 -2.22979, travelling at 0.3 knots on heading 070. However, it seems they chose not to blow Snoopy out of the water :-)

This snapshot below, at 0300 today, shows wind very light. It was taken from the UK Met Office Site (Wind).

Wind at 3am on 20 March 2015

Here is the track of Black Rover, seen by John, checking Snoopy out - but not opening fire on him :-)

Black Rover checks Snoopy on 20 March 2015

French fishing boats on 20 March 2015 From Dick at 0950: "French fishing boats Sagittaire and Pere Daniel is a bit of a threat at the moment". We should have received a 1022 SPOT position report long before 1030, and it's now 1040. Snoopy has submerged, or been taken "below-decks" ? Let's hope not.... Thank Goodness ! The SPOT report just came in, timed at 1037. We were about to take a closer look at www.marinetraffic.com !

The tide is turning, so we expect Snoopy to make good progress south-west, towards the "Weymouth" waypoint, over the next 6 hours. Come on wind ! :-)

See the live SPOT Map for where Snoopy is now.

Solar Eclipse I'd forgotton that there was a partial solar eclipse today, until Dick reminded me. I must admit I did not look out for it getting darker, between about 0830 and 1041, but it seems Snoopy did notice, delaying his expected 1022 SPOT report until 1037. We often see this in the morning, before it gets light, and the solar panels re-charge the batteries. Earlier today, I thought it was simply cloudy skys: hence that Met Office picture below. At least it will be 10 years before the next solar eclipse !

This image below is from the UK Met Office Site (cloud cover), and shows that it has been cloudy all morning, but the sun is just arriving. Snoopy's solar panels should therefore give a good charge to his batteries, and it is less likely we will see the unusual event of a delayed SPOT position report after it gets light. Of course, sun on Snoopy's white sails, means that he is more likely to get spotted !

Met Office cloud cover

Here we are, past waypoint "Weymouth", and about to be swept by the tide east, before trying again tonight ! This Google Earth data is in Peter's RB200315.KML file.

Snoopy after 5pm Friday

2.4. Day 4: Saturday 21st March ... Snoopy near the "Weymouth" waypoint ...

From the 10am Saturday Newsflash... Snoopy still waiting for wind to pick up ? When it does, and if nothing is broken, we should see him head south-west more, after tidal current turns westward at 1145, towards his "Weymouth" waypoint, 25 miles south of Portland Bill.

There are two obvious alternative explanations for Snoopy's behaviour since yesterday:
1. the wind is 10mph or more, and something has broken, so Snoopy is simply drifting with the tide.
2. the wind has been 5mph or less, and so Snoopy will make progress after the wind picks up.

Robin obviously hopes it is the latter, and the SPOT map should tell, over the coming hours. We will also be checking that amateur(?) site given earlier: Wind speed near Weymouth: If that picks up to over 10mph, and Snoopy is still drifting with the tide, as he has been, that is bad news. We then have plenty of time to wait until the winds change to their normal direction, from the South-West, and blow Snoopy to the UK coast :-)

Things don't look too good, judging from the 1830 Map below. It seems he was steering towards the "Weymouth" waypoint, in slack water, up until the tide swept him along that busier traffic channel, from about 1200 midday to 1600 Friday afternoon. Perhaps Snoopy suffered a collision ?

Snoopy after 5pm Friday

2.5. Day 5: Sunday 22nd March ... Snoopy finally past "Weymouth" waypoint ? ...

After Midnight, and the tide turns to flow west. Those of you in the USA, on a different timezone, may wish to keep an eye on Snoopy and www.marinetraffic.com ;-)

Snoopy after midnight Sunday

Good Progress ! What happened ? Is Snoopy now sailing OK ? Can someone send us a photo ? :-)
Tidal current turns to east, with slack water at 0600. Then westward at 1230, eastward at 1830, and eastward 0100 tomorrow. Maximums, three hours after, typically 2 to 3 knots, so Snoopy will get swept back and forth - but maybe make progress towards his next "Prawle" waypoint, south of Torquay ?

Snoopy at 7am Sunday

At 7pm Sunday: light inshore breeze has carried Snoopy closer to Portland Bill - but not as close as last year ! Snoopy is expected to remain in this area for several days, until winds pick up. However, he does seem to be making very slow progress west, rather than east ! The light wind is expected to swing offshore early tomorrow. Robin's best guess is that Snoopy will pass 3 miles south of Portland Bill, at about 2230 tonight, carried by the tidal current south east, until the tide changes direction at about 0100 tomorrow morning. This may be west of the "Weymouth" waypoint - that yellow "decision" line on the map below. Tomorrow, Monday, winds are expected to be light, with Snoopy remaining in area south of Portland Bill.

Snoopy at 4pm Sunday

Day 6: Monday 23rd March ... Snoopy's photo and video opportunity, south of Portland Bill ? ...

See the 23rd March 2015 Press Release, asking for help.

Here is the hard to find page, to say chances of publicity by Monday 20th April : Robin's page.
Michelle's page - still waiting for her to read the email, I told her I'd sent, to Saskia, Samantha, Mum (with not urgent), then to her. Still talking to her mates by email/text. Kids! :-)

Following is the original material from Day 6......

From 8am Monday Newsflash: Snoopy is where we expected, about 5 miles south of Portland Bill, moving backwards and forwards with the tidal current. This afternoon would be a good opportunity for a boat or aircraft to see if the boat was damaged during that path along a busy shipping lane on Friday afternoon. e.g. does Snoopy still have both sails up ?

Wind today is expected to be very light, and from the west, so Snoopy will not make progress westward, towards his next "Prawle" waypoint, south of Torquay and the Fawlty Towers Hotel. The tidal current changes direction at 0700 to flow eastward, 1315 to the west, 1900 east again, then westward again at 0130 tomorrow. Photos or video taken carefully are very welcome ! :-)

Snoopy at 4pm Sunday

Here is a very useful link from Mike, in USA, showing Live Wind in Channel, which along with the other sites, like Met Office Site (Wind) and Winds Expected, should help us predict Snoopy's movement better, reguardless of if he is damaged or still sailing under good autopilot control. I've emailed the Press, in the hope that someone will do a "recce" mission :-)

Live wind from WXUG

Snoopy approaching within visual range of Royal Navy Ship Diligence at 1430. Let's hope they know we only want a "visual", and not a boarding party. ... "Hello Sailors!" :-)

Snoopy and Diligence at 1430

Great News ! It looks as if Snoopy is still working ! What a surprise to see him suddenly take this correct path towards Prawle. The most likely explanation seems that Snoopy is being swept westward by the tide, and he is steering to the left, trying to reach the "Prawle" waypoint, to his south-west. All the web sites say that the wind is from the west. Normally that would be a problem, but under these circumstances, with the boat pointing roughly south, the wind will be acting on his sails very nicely, thank you ! Maybe we should think of reserving a room at Fawlty Towers in a few days ? :-)

Snoopy heading from Portland Bill towards Prawle

Day 7: Tuesday 24th March ... Snoopy on way from Weymouth to "Prawle" south of Torquay ...

Snoopy's looking good ! Tide changed to flow eastward at about 0700, and will turn to flow westward, helping Snoopy, at about 1330. Then eastward again at about 1930, and westward at 0130 tomorrow.

Those feeling technical may want to look at the end of our BlogX Experimental Work Page where we are investigating those Spot Report delays.

The 1310 SPOT update shows Snoopy crossing the shipping lane about 17 miles and 188 from Portland Bill, and no ships (on AIS) near him - but not all ships have their AIS switched on ! The weather links below include things like rain and lightening strikes. Thunderstorms are forecast today, so we better take note of any strikes near Snoopy, especially if he changes his behaviour, like direction of travel, not accounted for by the wind and tide.

Snoopy heading from Portland Bill towards Prawle

Chris in Canada sent us what could be another useful "wind" link on http://earth.nullschool.net/ that I'll call "Animated Winds". Thanks Chris :-)

Animated winds

Now THAT'S the way to cross a busy shipping lane ! All planned of course... you must be kidding :-)

Snoopy at 1410 crossing the shipping lane

Now we watch to see if his path westward is away from the lane, and more toward's the "Prawle" waypoint ...

Snoopy at 1410 crossing the shipping lane

It's anyone's guess on how long it will take Snoopy to get past "prawle". How well can you predict the wind ? You all have the same sources of data as me (Robin), but one way is to look at the plot and count the number of tide cycles, each of about 12 hours, looking at the distance covered between those "slack water" turns, from eastward to westward. I make it in the ballpark of 6 cycles -> 3 days, which would mean Friday 27th March. However, you only need to look at this and earlier attempts, to realize that he could make dramatically faster progress in winds of 20mph+, and we all know that Snoopy does not go anywhere in wind below 5mph. He has nobody to raise a spinaker, and certainly no motor to switch on. But maybe he is in no hurry anyway :-)

Day 8: Wednesday 25th March ... Snoopy in mid Channel between Exmouth and Cherbourg ...

At 0700 Snoopy's SPOT Map showed him in mid Channel, midway between Exmouth,UK and Cherbourg, France.

Snoopy at 0700 Wednesday

MarineTraffic.com showed Snoopy crossing the Ferry route and approaching the busy marine traffic channel.

Snoopy at 0700 Wednesday crossing the Ferry route

While we all watch Snoopy moving along that Ferry route, and hope for someone to see him, we analyse the information we already have. see further below.

Snoopy at 1000 Wednesday 25 March

Snoopy drifting ? Snoopy drifting ? On the left is what we can see on Google Earth, by looking at one of Peter's KML files, showing Snoopy's track, tidal current, and that very important wind direction. Click on these pictures to see the full sized versions. I used Google Earth to measure the distance Snoopy had moved between "slack water" positions - where the tide changes direction. If there was no wind at all, there would be practically no change in position, because the tide repeats itself. Here, Snoopy seemed simply to have moved downwind by an ammount that was about 4% of wind speed - in the 12 hours between these slack water points. That indicated that Snoopy was drifting, and not sailing. However, on other occasions, it seemed he had been trying to get to his next waypoint.

This morning I got an email from Peter, with this picture from him on the right. He says, " What do you make of the attached? The top arrowed leg could have been the result of Snoopy deliberately sailing towards Prawle. Or it could be the resultant of current with a southward component, and being pushed eastwards by the wind. But compare with the other two arrowed legs. Presumably very similar currents, but a strong northerly wind (18 Kn according to three ships in area last evening). If he is drifting and being pushed by the wind, this should increase his travel southwards. However, in fact, in the middle arrowed leg he actually travels northwards against the wind, and in the bottom leg he has no north-south movement ". To answer Peter's question here: "I don't know: right now it looks as if at least one sail might be up, if not both, and he may be drifting. e.g. with his rudder jammed with debri. Or he might be working, and we will see a repeat of movement towards a waypoint that can only be put down to everything working OK. Time will tell ! :-)

GPS Simulator on Desktop GPS Simulation I also got an email from Dick, suggesting we run the GPS Simulator here, with Peter's GPS data, extracted from the SPOT postion reports, with the simulated GPS data feeding into an identical autopilot, with the same software. This will have a text-to-speech unit plugged in, so we can hear what the autopilot is "thinking". The picture on the right is from when we used the simulator to test the software across the whole Atlantic route, in 2014, and is taken from Blog3, covering the period up until the November 2014 attempt. The blog even includes a video of the simulation.

I've just started on it, and we should have the results later today - hopefully that a software bug did not kick in at the time Dick is suspicious of: 1530 last Friday afternoon. That's the afternoon I was concerned about: when Snoopy moved along that busy traffic lane for hours. Not just the risk of being hit by a passing ship, but of snagging some debris like a fag packet - although they float ! :-)

I got the GPS Simulator working, and first quick tests did not show a problem. But soon after, the 1700 position came in, the first SOUTH of the "Weymouth" waypoint - and sure enough - direction changed towards "Prawle". Looking at the Blog for when the autopilot software was last changed, on 15th February, confirmed it HAD been loaded into Boat10 - BUT, see that talk of a possible bug in the software steering in Bray Lake tests soon after. Maybe there is a software bug - although Microsoft would call it a "Feature" :-)

Day 9: Thursday 26th March ... Bonjour France ! ...

Bonjour France ! At 0300 Snoopy's position was 38 miles / 62 km north west of Cherbourg. Snoopy thinking of a military recce along the coast ? Snoopy then headed west again.

Bonjour France ! Snoopy at 0300 Thursday

Was that a fishing vessel in French waters flying a British Flag ? Watch out for Vikings, "La Vagabonde Des Mer" e.g. "Viking Odessa" to your south, and Snoopy directly ahead !

Marine traffic and Snoopy at 0300 Thursday

Today it all depends on the wind again. e.g. Snoopy trying to fight against a gale force westerly ?

Snoopy at 0300 Thursday

Day 10: Friday 27th March ... the calm before the storm ? ......SPOT REPORTS STOPPING ? Rescue option ?

We expect very light winds today, before strong wind from the west in coming days. Tidal current turned to flow westward at 0300, then east at 0930, west at 1530, east at 2130, then towards the west again at 0330 tomorrow, Saturday.

ALERT! Dick noticed SPOT transmissions slowing to typically 1.25 hours instead of 1 hour, which is unusual in the day, particularly since it does not seem overcast. This is normally seen just before dawn, and was diagnosed some time ago as being due to a failure - possibly months ago - in the solar panel dedicated to the SPOT. Hence the SPOT, with it's Timer, is relying on trickle from the main 5v duplicated supply. It is possible that only half this supply is now working, perhaps due to a collision or corrosion fault. Similar symptoms could be debris covering the panels.

Dick reported that MFV William Henry II still fishing in same locality, i.e. not yet returned to port since appearing to spend 20-30 mins alongside Snoopy. Yesterday, Robin tried to contact this boat via the Weymouth Harbour Master, left a detailed message on their answerphone at 1850, but did not get a call back today. It is only now that this is more important.

There is a risk that SPOT reports could stop completely, and therefore options for a rescue become important. If Robin decides to exercise the rescue option, this will be made clear at the top of these pages, that say "DO NOT TOUCH". However, first we need to be in communication with a boat that can at least do a "recce", as we've hoped for the past week.

Colin reported a loss of emails, normally forwarded to him for their Microtransat site tracking. These reports, such as 0818, 0934, appear on the Live SPOT Map. The probable cause is a (temporary) failure in the SPOT service. This raises further doubt on the cause of SPOT reports stopping. If we've not had a report by 1900 (7pm) then our criterea for a "rescue" is met. It just requires Robin's confirmation with the vessel owner, or at the top of these pages.

Picture below were made at 1930 (7:30pm) and the last SPOT report so far was at 1600. Later pictures made at 1700. i.e. Rescue required, if no further SPOT reports received.

Snoopy at 1600 Thursday

Snoopy at 1700 Thursday

Snoopy at 1700 Thursday

Snoopy at 1700 Thursday

Robin rang the National Coast Watch, on Portland Bill, who had been very helpful on Monday, when a Royal Navy vessel was near Snoopy, and we hoped to get a "visual". I spoke to Barry, who was extremely helpfull, and I soon identified the track of MFV William Henry II - see the track below. Barry was familiar with this large fishing vessel, that normally returns it's catch to Weymouth, but thought this was unlikely tonight, because of the location.

Robin will soon be changing the "message to sailors" at the top of our pages, to request a "visual sighting", and - if safe and practical - a "rescue" of Snoopy.

There are several obvious alternative explanations of why the SPOT reports have stopped:
1. Snoopy was snagged in the nets of a fishing vessel, such as William Henry II. This could cause 2 below.
2. there was a failure in Snoopy's system, such as the main 5v power dropping, due to only have the duplicated supply working.
3. a temporary failure of the SPOT service, related perhaps to the lost emails reported by Colin.
4. taken below decks by some other vessel.

Snoopy at 1700 Thursday

Now we are into guessing Snoopy's progress based on the wind direction and strength each day....

Snoopy's path downwind in March 2015 attempt ?

More news tomorrow we guess ? :-)

Snoopy's route along the UK coast and useful links, such as vessel traffic and predicted winds ...

See the live SPOT Map for where Snoopy is now.
These sites have information on wind, rain, and lightening strikes: Live Wind in Channel, Met Office Site (Wind,rain,lightening) and Winds Expected. Also now: Animated Winds.
This site tells us if Snoopy is getting some sunshine, for his solar panels: Met Office Site (cloud cover).

Here is Snoopy's route along the UK south coast, programmed into his little Picaxe autopilot computer ...

Snoopy's route from UK waters

Typical extracts from Met Office Site (Wind,rain,lightening) are below - watch out and note any strikes near Snoopy !

Rain
Lightening strikes

See the live SPOT Map to confirm Snoopy has not sent another position report, since that one, exactly one second before 1600 (4pm) Friday 27th March 2015.

Day 11: Saturday 28th March the search begins, the storm arrives, and we need the TV and Radio :-)

from Robin: What a difference a day makes ! Last night was Snoopy's last reported SPOT position, at 1600 (4pm) Friday 27th March 2015, and our "extended team" around the World were helping me use the links on this www.gpss.co.uk to track Snoopy, monitor his progress, and watch out for nearby shipping like fishing boats, who might have snagged Snoopy in their fishing nets, or maybe picked Snoopy up, thinking that this strange little boat might be a nice toy for their children. Yes, that's happened to a Microtransat French Team years ago.

Our priority yesterday was to contact English and French Radio and TV stations, with one important message: "See www.gpss.co.uk if you are interested in this little robot sailing boat". We hoped this message would reach the ears of sailors in The Channel, directly of from their families, so they could keep an eye out for Snoopy, and let us know if he looked damaged. Some sailors have to be out in all weather, including storms !

Our priority in the coming days is still to get this same message out, but now so that, if we get a sighting of Snoopy, with an approximate position, We can update the "Best Guess" of Snoopy's path in the days ahead, based on our shared knowledge of wind, tide, etc.

Bonjour France ! Snoopy at 0300 Thursday

One page that will be important to you all in a moment, is the ASONTV page, that appears in that list of standard links along the top of most of my pages. e.g. "Home, About, GPS ... History, ASONTV, Snoopy".

Most of you reading their emails from me will not be surprised to see their name mentioned here, after they check this page. e.g. Chris in Canada and Yves in France, sending me emails to provide better French than my use of Google Translate. The French on these pages are obviously important for Snoopy's mission and eventual rescue, from an English, French, or possibly Belgium or Dutch beach, later in March or April. Dick, Roy, Peter, and John, have appeared on these Snoopy pages for years, including the pictures and videos. Frank at Nylet, down near Southampton, has his badge on Snoopy's sails, and is mentioned, tucked away on our "design" and "blog" pages.

But one person will fall off her chair when she looks at this page this morning, even though she was among the first to have their name mentioned on www.gpss.co.uk, at the very bottom of that ASONTV page above. Late last night, I suddenly thought - why have I not asked her for help with that French translatin ? She is not so far away as Canada or France. Her sons and grandchilden will love to read this too ! :-)

Here we go, try not to fall of your chair: I'll simply quote the words at the very bottom of that ASONTV page, which have been there since 1995: " ...Carol Parks, next door, was heard speaking French from the 'mouth' of the computer - Carol teaches French at a local school. Software used was the DOS prototype and the very first version of GPSS, shortly before it was released for publication on PC Magazine CDROMs, for issue to the UK public in the summer of '95. " Good Morning Carol ! See you later today maybe, after June gets back from tennis or the big shop ? :-)

Soon I'll add more pictures here, like a map we can all use to mark where we think Snoopy is now, and might wander next. But first I'll send off that email, to those who expect one from me soon - but also one person who didn't ! Then I'll make a cup of tea for my wife June, before she and Samantha go off to play tennis. June will be doing "the big shop" after that, with her 95 year old dad - yes, he's also on our pages, if you know where to look. He was also in the Golfing Press, and that was nothing to do with me.

While June and her dad does "the big shop", I can get on with my "work" here. Since I retired, I've been much too busy to do real work :-)

1045: here is a GPSS map*, for marking up Snoopy's track, visual reports, and "best guesses" on Snoopy's position, in the coming days. I'll add this map, or an improved version, with Snoopy's track until that last report, to the list of pictures, soon to be uploaded for everyone. John and I were working on that yesterday, preparing a notice board for Elfin. I also just got a call back from the Weymouth Harbour Office (see earlier days) and they had visited www.gpss.co.uk, as I'd asked in my answerphone messages, but not yet seen this page. They are now completely in the picture, knowing that our priority is using Radio and TV to reach sailors both sides of the Channel. If they visit this page, they will know why we were trying to contact that particular fishing vessel, when it gets back to Weymouth. We still would like to contact the skipper or any crew of that large fishing vessel, MFV William Henry II, in case they saw anything of Snoopy, when they were seen to be near him on at least two different days. * map immediately below deleted, since it had been replaced by the much later I-GotU track.

1215: Here below, is an alternative map, just made, after getting Peter's AA15GPS3.NME file into the GPS Simulation folder, and use the GPSS "Map Making" page on this site to add this map from Bing Maps, which is their copyright. If we get any reliable position reports, including from sailors, we can easily add them to this NME file, and make another map image easily. Positions reported to us can be crude, such as "middle of Channel, south west of Portland Bill", more precise: "30 miles/km/NM SW of Portland Bill at 250", or a GPS based lat/lon, in any of the usual formats. e.g. "50.5,-2.5" or "50 30'N 2 30'W", or even just the vessel name, if it can be found by anyone on the AIS Marinetraffic.com. The important thing is the TIME OF SIGHTING. e.g. "sometime in early afternoon last Friday", through to "1515 on 27 March". Time should be in any of the Universal Time systems, which are the same right now. i.e. 1516Z (military) = 1515 UT = 1515 GMT = 3:15 UK local time. Note that UK clocks change to British Summer Time (BST) soon - but these pages will all continue to use UT/GMT. If you are many miles away, in another country, with a different time zone, watching the movements of a particular vessel, that could be important, please make it clear where you are. We can then adjust the time before it is published here.

Snoopy's March 2015 map

Pity about that GPSS Cntrl-A Analysis control cluttering the screen: we may have a better map later. Right now, I'm working on adding that list of pictures, that may be useful to some of us.

1400: Here is that page of pictures that I started yesterday, and John was going to add to his notice board, on Elfin, that is now on my doorstep. I have yet to add the pictures of John taken yesterday in my garden, and the ones on these pages, from when John and Dick sailed Elfin from Aberwystwth, to where Elfin is now, near Banana Wharf, on The Hamble. The pictures need to be printed (in colour?) and laminated, if left outside.

Some of you, near the English south coast, or French coast, may think of how these pictures might be used. e.g. pubs frequented by fishermen or other sailors ? I intend to use several, within an "open" single page letter, to slip in the door of our local church, who printed a story about Snoopy in their church magazine. Also, into the door of a famous TV personality, who now lives opposite the church, and who, with another chap, occupied the only other table, one very quiet evening in our favorite Indian restaurant - the "Raj Vooj". I've known the owner, Mr Khan, for very many years, since he moved to the village, and we first "did a deal" for a fantastic "Indian Theme Evening" for our local AMRA Residents Association. Mr Khan's restaurant has starred in the GPSS software demonstration since 1995. This is if you run GPSS without a GPS. I must remember to slip a copy of this "letter", which will be mostly pictures, into the Raj Vooj soon. Maybe also "The Jade" Chinese restaurant, that featured in the Nick Knowles video, on our ASONTV page. Also the "La Sorrentina", our local Italian Restaurant, which was called "Mezza Luna" when the GPSS demonstration script was made. GPSS is on our "Download" page above, and has always been free.

Some of you may have their own ideas on how to use the pictures, to gain the attention of TV, Radio, and Newspapers. Journalist tend to change their email addresses, because so many people pester them for free publicity. But if one prints a story, like the Sunday Telegraph did, in 2012, the rest find out about it soon enough. That's what triggered the live Radio Solent and BBC TV South coverage, several days later, A few days after that, local newspapers were printing the story in Plymouth, Ma, USA, where the Pilgrim Fathers landed, and as far away as New Zealand. Links to those articles and broadcasts have been on the "Snoopy" page for years. That's how most of our "Snoopy Team" / "Team-Joker" got to hear about my fiend John and I's obsession. Checkout the nice pictures from Plymouth, USA, on the detailed page for our last, November 2014 attempt.

Here is the Page of pictures of Snoopy's March 2015 attempt, to help spread the word about Snoopy and www.gpss.co.uk.

After uploading this update, I'll add some more pictures.

Day 12: Sunday 29th March ... England switches to BST. Wind has been ~33mph from WSW ... no news is bad news

0730 GMT = 0830 BST = 8:20am local time in England.

Good Morning or Bonjour ! The English like to call the French "Frogs" and the French call the English "Roast Beef".

The English clocks changed today from GMT to BST, and Snoopy, like all sailors, must work in GMT. That is one hour less than BST. So, 8am today BST is 0800 GMT. That's the same as the World's 0800 UT (Universal Time), 0800Z (Military Zulu Time), or the time used by all GPS receivers around the World.

This is Robin speaking, from Sunninghill near Ascot, in England. I am Snoopy's boat owner and slave. I am the man who communicates with Snoopy's friends around the World. Right now, with Snoopy being blown eastward by strong winds in the English Channel, we can only guess his position from the information we all share on Snoopy's pages.

My priorities today were:
1. update this page with my best guess on where Snoopy is now. Also how I guessed it, so you can do the same, maybe better. DONE!
2. create a new "Snoopy Frog Page", aimed at our French friends, so "Snoopy's Front Page" can have less French words. DONE!
3. respond quickly, with updates to this page, particularly any sightings of Snoopy, or those helping the "Press" take notice.
4. continue as reluctant slave to my wife, June, doing the usual hoovering, dusting, washing, ironing, etc, etc.

I got up early, as I often do, to make June a cup of tea, but for some strange reason, I found myself here, updating this page. However, I noticed Samantha, our eldest daughter, also just appeared, to make herself a cup of tea. She is watching the Malaysian Grand Priz. I asked for a cup, but she simply fed our cat, Fartalot (the wife calls him "Gingy"), but no cup of tea for me yet. I will have to make it myself - as always.

Let me update this page, and update it again, after reading emails, and making a new map to show my best guess on where Snoopy is.

0830 GMT = 0930 BST = 9:20am local time in England.

What is my best guess on Snoopy's movement since that last last SPOT position report at 1600 on Friday 27th ? Some of you may wish to check my assumptions and calculations here, but here they are...

I reckon wind has been blowing from West-South-West (WSW) at an average speed of about 33mph since that last SPOT position. So if Snoopy is being blown downwind at about 4% of wind speed, that is about 31 miles per day. The tide is obviously also taking Snoopy back and forth, as we can see from those days that we were tracking him. Here is Peter's track being looked at on Google Earth, as a convenient way of measuring 2 days of Snoopy's movement, taking him 62 miles downwind, to where he might be at 1600 GMT (5pm BST) today, Sunday.

Below that is the map that will be maintained on Snoopy's "Front page". I will mark it up, using Windows "Paint" - particularly if we get any sightings.

Where is Snoopy Sunday ?

"Where is Snoopy" ? The map that will be maintained on Snoopy's "Front page", particularly if we get any sightings of Snoopy.

Dick Half Marathon Carol Park next door popped in for a gloass of wine, while June did the cooking, and we enjoyed nattering about the new "Froggy page", and related stories. Carol can now join those finding my typos and incorrect French :-)

Fay dropped the local church magazine in, so my next job soon, is to make an "open letter" for our famous TV star who lives opposite the church where June and I were married in 1971 - see Froggy page. I must scan the articles in previous magazines: 1) of Snoopy's robot boat. 2. of this nice chap letting our young vicar drive the Ferrari around his garden opposite the church. One quiet evening in our Raj Vooj Indian restaurant, there were only two tables occupied: this chap and another guy, and ourselves. June whispered to me, is that who I think it is ?". The waiter confirmed it was. He is on holiday for a couple of weeks, but I know his young Noah would be very interested in having a robot boat called "Noah's Arc" - skippered by Snoopy. of course. The "letter" (mostly pictures), will mention www.gpss.co.uk and www.nhscare.info, and I'll publish it here first: so we have the right people available for interview ( see www.nhscare.info - there are others more eloquent than me to do interviews. e.g. Pamela Coughlan herself, Bleddyn Handcock, Ian Perkins, Derek Cole ? unless it is to field questions on both Free NHS Care, AND Snoopy's robot boat. Maybe there is someone else that comes to mind: Dick ?

Here is a video of Dick and his daughter running the Reading Half Marathon for charity.

Day 13: Monday 30th March ... Snoopy south of Brighton ? No sightings ...no Radio/TV/Newspaper help yet ...

Day 13: Monday 30th March ... Snoopy south of Brighton ? No sightings ...no Radio/TV/Newspaper help yet ...

Tuesday 1500 GMT/1600 GMT Newsflash: detailed plan of what we do with Snoopy's boat has changed: we will make two visit:
First ASAP e.g. today, if we can find someone to unlock where Snoopy is being kept.
Then again soon, such as following weekend, whatever suits Ben, for any "Celebration" Dinner and "Press Conference", etc.
Here is the info given me last night by Ben Hartrey, saying OK to publish here: He made call from 01273722385. His mobile: 07860 102840.
Location: The Coalition Nightclub, on Brighton Sea front (see google map and google streetview pictures below)


0300 GMT = 0400 BST = 4am local time in England.

Dick Half Marathon Good Morning or Bonjour ! The English like to call the French "Frogs" and the French call the English "Roast Beef".

Yes, I could not resist a few minutes, checking my emails, in case there had been a sighting of Snoopy ... No, just some SPAM for deletion, and two that can wait for a few hours... our friend Czar in Romania (Snoopy's BlogX page), and a new chap, wanting to use GPSS for Radio Direction Finding in Calgary, Canada (Radio and Radio Direction Finding pages). Let me use some words here from yesterday - see what I said above, and check out the video of Dick and his daughter running the Reading Half Marathon for charity.

The English clocks changed yesterday from GMT to BST, and Snoopy, like all sailors, must work in GMT. That is one hour less than BST. So, 8am today BST is 0800 GMT. That's the same as the World's 0800 UT (Universal Time), 0800Z (Military Zulu Time), or the time used by all GPS receivers around the World.

Robin This is Robin speaking, from Sunninghill near Ascot, in England. I am Snoopy's boat owner and slave. I am the man who communicates with Snoopy's friends around the World. Right now, with Snoopy being blown eastward by strong winds in the English Channel, we can only guess his position from the information we all share on Snoopy's pages. I type updates as soon as I can, then update later, with less words, and more pictures. I'm also a slow, one-fingered keyboard user. I must also turn that damn spell-checker off ! :-)

I reckon Snoopy is probably now in the middle of the Channel, and still being blown eastward by strong wind. I'll check those links we all use in a moment. See my best guess map below.

2100 GMT (2200 BST) Monday 30th March Newsflash: Earlier today, paper copies of the Open letter to Chris (Ginger) Evans, were delivered personally to people in direct contact with him, and with Nick Knowles. Nick's contact was in Eton, and based on information in The Windsor Maidenhead & Ascot Magazine. Robin is grateful to these people. The ma

If Snoopy is seen by a passing ship passenger, or crew, they can report it. Snoopy might soon be within visual range of public near the shore. We need our map marked up with knowing where there is a sandy beach, and where there are rocks. Then, a rescue might be very easy, or we might expect an unexpected rescue by a beachcomber. This is what happened with our GPS bottles, years ago.

We now hope for local radio and TV stations, on both sides of The Channel, to include our simple message, "if you are interested in this little boat, please see www.gpss.co.uk" in any broadcast. This is to get sailors, like fishermen, who have to be out in all weather, to keep an eye out, after hearing the message from friends or family. To support this publicity, the AsOnTV page has been updated with an open letter, delivered on paper, on this web site, to two well know UK Television and Radio broadcasters. If you need "the bigger picture", see Snoopy's front page: GPS Guided Trans-Atlantic Robot Boat. See the Live SPOT Map to see if Snoopy has reported since 4pm Friday 27th March. See Live Vessel Traffic for ships nearby where we think Snoopy may be now. Whatever country you are in, particularly if England, Canada, or America, don't fail to check out the new "Froggy" page that I added yesterday - the bottom of it is in English - sorry no American translation flag yet. There is a special message to you Yanks from Snoopy in the Introduction on Snoopy's front page above ;-)

Where did I put the most important links of all - those for checking what direction that all important wind is blowing ? .... ... Ah Yes - in the Introduction at the top of this page, that I will soon rename "Snoopy's March/April 2015 Blog", so this same page will have two names. Sometime in April, after a "tidy up", we will have two pages.

Robin and June in Paris While typing these words on a Monday morning, I remembered that my lazy wife, June, sleeping upstairs, is now only working at Axon, the Dutch company, four days a week, so I better switch the alarm off again, when I go back to bed. It normally goes off at about 0650 BST, so I am the first up to make her a cup of tea, and I switch this PC on, to check emails. I can afford to take my time now, and paste in a picture or two from other pages. I'll add those links below, so you can check them yourselves, throughout the day.

I expect those gales still to be blowing from the west, so my best guess below is still good. Let me check the Met Office "Wind,Sun,Rain" ... Yes, no surprises, wind is still 23mph from the west, gusting to 30mph, on the Isle of Wight, at St Catherines Point - so nothing yet to change my guess of a few days ago. It "expected winds", when I looked last night, show those westerlies continueing for days, so it seems likely that Snoopy will sail straight on past Dover and Calais, and up past Dunkirk, Belgium, then on to The Hague, Schrevenigan, and up to Den Helder, just as those GPS Bottles did, over 10 years ago.

Why don't I think Snoopy will hit a beach earlier ? Well, there is a very good chance Snoopy might, just as a floating bottle might (and did), but the tidal current tends to flow along the coast, and much faster. Think about it: the sea goes up and down, with the tide, every 12 hours, but it has nowhere to go if it tries to flow towards the land. Near the land, the tidal current can flow very fast indeed, every 6 hours, at speeds up to maybe walking pace - faster than Dick and his daughter ran in that Reading Half Marathon ! :-)

So no surprises yet, but remember that nothing is certain: Snoopy could easily have been dragged in the nets of a fishing boat, as happened to the American boat, launched from Cape Cod, last year. That's why help of Newspapers, Radio, or TV, is so important to us right now - to get families of sailors, to tell their menfolk, about Snoopy. That's what happened to a French boat a few years ago: it was picked up by a French lady "fisher person", who took the boat back for her children. She heard the radio, talking about the French robot boat having gone missing, and then contacted the French Team. I guess their tracker had also stopped working then.

Snoopy's Ginger Open Letter When Snoopy was "stolen" by school boys, having drifted to the shore, while 24/7 reliability testing on Bray Lake, a few years ago, his SPOT map showed me where Snoopy had gone - into their back garden, near the lake. I probably have the details in one of our "Blogs", but, soon I received a 'phone call on my mobile phone (the number on Snoopy's hull and sails). It was a very young sounding voice: "We've got your boat: is there a reward ?". I immediately answered, "I know: is your mummy there ?". She was soon on the 'phone, and very apologetically said, "he's not asking for money, is he ?". I said "no, but there could be a small reward, if he gives me some advice about those labels on Snoopy's boat. I agreed with her that June and I would pop round there, when it was convenient to her, the next day, which was a Saturday. We obviously exchanged landline numbers, I told her of www.gpss.co.uk and she gave me the house number. Next Saturday morning, i was ready, with a SPOT Map image, of Snoopy, leaning against the fence of their back garden (they have a gate, that goes out into that lovely Nature Reserve, to be seen on the Bray Lake videos, at bottom of Press Release). I also had a Google Streetview picture, showing the boy's bike, "parked" on their front lawn - just as I would, at his age. I did not ring them, in case they wanted a Saturday lay-in, but by mid-morning, I got another 'phone call, from this same boy: "Are you coming over then ? Now is a good time". Was his mummy available ? "No, she just popped out, and will be back soon". When June and I got over there, maybe half an hour later, I soon realised that I was dealing with "one shrewd little business man", not unlike those I'd met in far away places, like Lagos, Nigeria. Luckily, his older sister was there, along with the lads, "business partner". It was nice and sunny, so we all sat in their back garden, talking, waiting for their mum to come home (she did soon after, and us grown-ups all had a good laugh and long chat). Anyway, before his mum got back, I'd got the advice that I needed from him, and given his sister 10 for safe keeping, to give to mum, along with those pictures I'd printed. I also had brought with us, an example of the sort of label that we later added to Snoopy's boats: "I am tracked. We can see you!". What if the boat had a label like this ? "Oh no, if we'd seen that, we would not have taken the boat out of the water!". I wonder ? :-) Anyway, to continue this long story, off the top of my head, we had looked at the boat, and seen that the rudder was missing, even though the autopilot was still running, and the rudder shaft was still twitching back and forth, trying to steer the boat. Was the rudder on the boat when you found it ? "No" they replied. I guessed that the rudder, made of wood, must have dropped off, when they lifted it out of the water: that could not happen when it was in the water. Sure enough, we then returned to the place on Bray Lake, where the SPOT map had shown Snoopy parked, before he was picked up (near the footbridge seen in various videos), there was the rudder, floating in the water. That was when our design stopped using ordinary Araldite epoxy, and we started using Fastglass car repair resin - that has never failed us. All ended well: I think the boy got some of the 10, but I had said to his mum, as I'd said to his sister earlier, that his mum might want to take some house-keeping money first. Maybe this family want to be on TV, or the local Maidenhead Advertiser, when they take an interest again, seeing Snoopy's boats on Bray Lake. It seems that this "incident" happened before I started keeping a detailed blog, so I would have to look through my photograph folder. But before that, it will be better for June and I to drop by, when near Bray Lake, and see if the family is available for interviews :-)

very young engineers However, here are some VERY young engineers, who are in one of the Blogs, checking the voltage of Snoopy's main 5v supply, when he had been on 24/7 test, before one of those earlier attempts, ending in a "crash landing", on the Isle of Wight. Yes, this is the same, tough little boat. Also, some of Snoopy's best engineering experts, are not seasoned old retired engineers from defence industry, or University Professors :-)

snoopy's Ginger Open Letter

We have other stories in our blogs, like the two young Polish couples, in canoes, who opened Snoopy's lunch box at the back (before we made it secure), but they may be less likely to be inbterested. It's all in the Blogs, including the letter, in English and Polish, delivered to their door in Maidenhead, offering them a few beers and a meal, at the Polish owned Carpenteers Arms in Sunninghill, or a pub near them. It was great speaking with one of them, at the door, when I handed the letter over, then lots of text and email exchanges with one of the guys. That offer is still open Marius ! :-)

Snoopy and what ship at 1142am ? :-) I never did get those "selfy" photos that I'd been hoping for, from those Royal Marines in kayaks, who had "a bit of fun" in that very first Snoopy attempt in 2012, when Snoopy travelled in the OPPOSITE direction to the tidal current. It took weeks for me to work it out. Of course, it could all have been a series of coincidences, including Snoopy landing on the steps of that old sealed up entrance of "The Battery" on the Isle of Wight. Also those emails and 'phone conversations with guys in UK and Afghanistan, who contacted me. Checkout the new words, in English, at the bottom of the new Snoopy's Froggy Page to read how many years that I knocked around with the military, including the British Army. Most of my mates in the forces, would have done exactly the same thing, after seeing that live TV broadcast in the mess that lunchtime. Anything for a laugh. How else to keep your sanity: a bit of "gallows humour" may sometimes be needed. Don't miss the tribute to my much-loved and admired, French friend George, who is probably watching over Snoopy now.

Wondering what that open letter to Chris Evans is, on the left ? We were discussing it here earlier, but it was only today that I had time to do it, prompted by Fay delivering the Church magazine. I've printed copies, ready to drop into doors, but I'll publish this first, and email Andrew, the magazine editor, before June and I deliver the printed copies. We may pop one into Nick's antique shop in Eaton too. I did email Ginger some time ago, but it was probably blocked by his spam filter. When I say "Chris" here, I mean French speaking Chris in Canada, for whom I'm collecting snails, for when he makes his trip to London with his wife soon. Chris obviously wants to visit Bray Lake, and we will let the wives natter being our backs :-) You may all read it better as Robin's open letter to Ginger about Snoopy. Pictures of our cat "Ginger" are on the "Design" page.

Someone out there, may want to look at the HTML script I'm using, for things like taking you to to other pages, but not easily coming back here. Also, what we can do to make these pages easier to see on smart phones, instead of desktops, laptops, or tablets. Even they get me lost easily, if I click on a link, or that little French frog, to go to the "Froggy" page. If I get lost, I click on the "Snoopy" link, near the top of most of my pages, along with links to other pages like "About", "Contact", "Holidays", "ASONTV", etc.

bottle animation This animation, from one of the old GPS Bottle tracking pages, shows well how the tide and wind move a floating object, like a bottle. This was over 10 years ago, when bottles were dropped into the sea, off Ramsgate, and tracked across to France, and two got as far as the Dutch beaches west of Amsterdam and Den Helder. We never did get all those bottles back, but we did learn a lot about how wind and tide work. That's when we started testing GPS Bottles at Bray Lake - to see how fast the wind moved them - about 3% of wind speed. But those bottles did not have sails, so our guess of using 4%, based on tracking Snoopy recently, may be a closer value. The animation is from the old "DRIFT" computer model I wrote. Maybe a student would like to take it over ? I suggested that some time ago, on my "QandA" page. When a few years later, BBC Radio Solent launched some more GPS Bottles, they were tracked again, and I did eventually get one back. I've got it here, as my own "Work of Art", inside an even bigger bottle !

If we can do that with bottles, I'm sure we will find Snoopy's boat, which is much bigger and easier to see, will not sink, because it's hull is full of foam - kindly supplied by Chapmans, our local village hardware store. Thanks Robert and Liz for continued supply of Snoopy's boat materials, mentioned in that Sunday Telegraph article, linked from the "Snoopy" page, printed before Snoopy's very first attempt in 2012. That was the "blue touch paper", that soon resulted in live BBC TV South and Radio Solent coverage of the launch. It was through that broadcast that people like Peter and Dick made contact, and we all work together, like a "Last of the Summer Wine" Team :-)

Jasper's Sunday Telegraph article also resulted in Newspapers printing the story, and mentioning www.gpss.co.uk, in far away places, such as New Zealand and Plymouth,MA,USA - which, by coincidence, is where the Pilgrim Father's landed. That is where the Mayflower II is moored, as a floating Museum. It was built in England, in the late 1950s, and an intrepid crew, made the same journey - and that was before GPS ! That resulted in a young family contacting me, who had read their local paper, and they contacted me again during the November 2014 attempt. They sent me some nice pictures of the Mayflower, taken that day, and I'm hoping for a "selfy" of the family soon.

There had been another coincidence before that: a few days after the 2012 attempt, June and I were having an AMRA local residents association fish and chip quiz evening, at a pub near Bagshot. Imagine our surprise when a couple* sat opposite us (* names later after I've checked OK) said they'd been shown over the Mayflower II just a few months earlier. They provided the photo that you catch a glimpse of in that animated picture, at the top of www.gpss.co.uk and the "Snoopy" page.

Of course, when someone asks me to confirm Jasper's words, that the Mayflower II is Snoopy the Vikings's final destination, I always reply, "You might say that, but I could not possibly comment". Americans also enjoy British TV programs, and get the message ;-)

This page is being used a bit like a blog now, because it's the simplest thing to do. When this Snoopy Mission is over, we will split the page into this huge "blog" one ("Snoopy's March 2015 Blog" ?) and one that is edited right down, as was the one for the last November 2014 attempt.

June has just reminded me that we have our Monday Italian lesson tonight, so I better get cracking. Should not take long to do the homework when we get back from delivering that letter !

If Snoopy has got his white sails are up, he should be easy to spot from a few hundred yards in sunlight. Binoculars would be needed after that, particularly if you don't know where to look.

That's why we need a sighting, so we can "reset" our track below, on our "best guess map" ! :-)

French Frog

1.1 Robin's "Best Guess", based on SPOT , Wind, Sun, Rain , Vessel Traffic , Tide ,
Winds Expected in coming days , and MagicSeaweed Webcams ...

Day 4: Tuesday 31st March ... Snoopy lands on Brighton Beach !

The Coalition Nightclub in Brighton Wednesday newsflash: PLAN IS NOW FOR SOMEONE TO UNLOCK SNOOPY AND DELIVER TO THISTLE HOTEL ACROSS THE ROAD. SEE NEXT DAY, WEDNESDAY. Latest Newsflash AT 1500 BST Tuesday 31 March : Robin has a modified plan, different to that detailed below.
Ben Hartry, had Snoopy and immediately confirmed it was OK to publish here : he called from 01273722385.
His mobile:07860 102840. He called using the landline of The Coalition Night Club: Their web site is
www.coalitionbrighton.com
See the newsflash below, with google map and streetview of position, pictures with Snoopy, from Ben, etc.
I can see why Snoopy is happy to hang out there, and return again soon, to "Party" - with Bunny Girls maybe ? :-)

The detailed plan of what we do with the boat has changed: we need 2 visits: one ASAP. e.g. today. Another for the "Celibration".
Ben's mobile has poor coverage now, but we exchanged texts. Robin's to Ben included, "Can I come 2nite?" (despite night club being closed), "Where is Snoopy?" (not confirmed Snoopy is locked inside, or where. e.g. is Snoopy visible through windows of The Nightclub ? "We could come again. e.g. sat". The only text since then, from Ben was, "My signal is terrible I'm on all daytomorrow and night and same for the rest the week". at 15:18.

The details below of our test with the boat will be technically different, and will skip the "sun bathing" (solar panels not working)
After checking voltages, to confirm batteries are flat, Robin will plug in new batteries, into the SPOT which will start the 1 hour timer.
The boat will then be carried down the beach, to where Ben found it. Robin will press [OK] button and everyone should see a new Spot position.
The boat should then continue reporting it's postion, every hour, on Robin's trip back home to Sunninghill. That finishes the Attempt.

Robin will make other updates here soon, such as a link to The Coalition Night Club website.
Robin will also contact local Hotels, pubs and bars. who may be happy for Snoopy to be moved there, if we contact another key holder.
Robin can then collect Snoopy from them, later today. They obviously would also deserve a free meal and.or due credit !
Thanks Ben Hartrey, and your mates - this is all so much easier than when Snoopy went AWOL in 2012 ! :-)
Somewhere for reception to mind Snoopy overnight ? Short walk for a keyholder of The Coalition Nightclub ?
Robin has spoken to Hotels near Snoopy, including "The Grand Hotel Brighton", "Travel Lodge", and "Thistle". Jerome was the first to call back.
Robin and Dick will then drive down to Brighton, and collect Snoopy from Hotel Reception in the middle of the day.
We will return with Snoopy, a few days later, for a "celebration" meal, and maybe "photo opportunities" if the Press/TV/Radio are interested.
Yes, that is famous "The Grand Hotel" from the Brighton Bombing, pointed out by Dave, who is "on the ground" with his daughter.
There is a tenuous link between Robin and Margeret Thatcher, but you would need to look at the bottom of the "History" page.
Jerome at the "Thistle" hotel, was the first to call Robin back, after checking GPSS.co.uk. This hotel is also closer to The Coalition Nightclub.
When we contact Ben, or a Coalition Nightclub key holder, they need only carry Snoopy to the hotel reception, then can return home.

Where is Snoopy Sunday ?

Newsflash AT 0045 BST Tuesday 31 March : Snoopy found undamaged on Brighton seafront, Snoopy Found at Brighton
by Ben Hartrey, happy for details to be immediately published, including pictures.
Robin will update these pages ASAP ! Location: near Coalition Nightclub: map to follow.
Four photos received showing Ben and friends, with Snoopy intact. No sign of hull damage.
Both sails intact, but mainsail had come loose. See photo. GPS logger blue light flashing,
so tomorrow we should have complete track of Snoopy's path, every 12 minute positions,
for whole mission, including after the SPOT tracker stopped that Friday.
Other information, such as other names, if they wish, to follow. Click on picture for bigger one.
Plan is for Snoopy to be kept safely by them, indoors, not switching anything off.
When convenient to Ben, Robin will travel down with other members of Snoopy's team,
to make tests on Snoopy, take photographs and video for use here, be available for Press,
and negotiate return of Snoopy to Robin: how many beers is that Ben ? good meal for us all ? :-)

Snoopy Found at Brighton Snoopy Found at Brighton

Update from email sent to Snoopy's team, just before midday....

...Now we are getting close to where I can use the words in this morning's update ... ...(lots of typos being corrected, including talk of the "November 2015 Attempt". Pictures have been added to make things clearer, particularly for lady engineers :-)

Everything needs to be filmed, or at least photographed, by someone else.

I'm thinking of that final "March 2015" video, to go up on youtube - perhaps soon.
A multimeter set to measure what will be about 0v to 6v max, with probes - like those "young engineers" used.

Dick after opening the box 1) "Open the Box" with a view, just like Dick in his kitchen, after the Snoopy's November 2014 attempt, when Snnopy crashed into the rocks past Portland Bill, near Weymouth, and at the end of Chessil Beach. Dick did yet another rescue, as you will see from the pictures and video of that link above. Checkout how little damage had been done to those labels, etc. That mission had been a story one, with Snoopy being caught in gale force winds, and in the "no go area" of "The Race" of fast current sweeping around The Bill.

2) Look closely inside the box, including the I-GotU GPS Logger, probably still flashing, and things like a broken rudder linkage, if the servo arm is fully clockwise, pressing against the "rubber stop" and where the rudder is pointing. e.g. fully right, or centre. (this could have moved after Snoopy hit the beach). Look for any obvious signs of dampness, from water slopping about inside the box (very unlikely) to some moisture covering the SPOT Messenger (like earlier attempts).

I-GotU GPS Logger, after opening the box 3) Carefully move the I'Got-U so it hangs outside the box. This is less important, if it stops now, but, if left running, it will record the journey back, to wherever Snoopy is taken, hopefully eventually to my place in Sunninghill :-)

4) Carefully remove the transparent plastic sheet, that acts as a support for the I-GotU. and prepare to use the volt meter - everything must be done carefully so I'll stop using the word now :-) Look for that horrible bit of plywood, with brass bolts, used as voltage monitor points. From RIGHT to LEFT, they are a) 0v, b) 5v LEFT power, c) 5v RIGHT power., d) final 5v power after diodes i.e. main 5v power. This is what I think has (very unusually) sunk to near zero, based on the behaviour we've seen in those SPOT report delays. I'll put up Peter's great "SPOT delay" graphics, in slower time (maybe weeks later) to support us tracking down when neither side of the duplicated main power solar panels worked. As I've said a few days ago, the dedicated SPOT solar panel at the very front was probably not working from the start. That's why, for weeks, we've seen those SPOT delays, towards dawn, but all being OK after just a little sunlight. The SPOT (~3.6v) power supply is the next point to be checked. In all my Blogs, I describe the Main 5v power measurement as typically "Main 5v power OK (5.7,5.3->5.5v) which is based on using points a,b,c,d, from right to left, as seen from the position of Dick in the Kitchen. i.e. the "engineer" (I are one now) squats on the floor, with the boat pointing to his right, and is looking at the "Lunchbox" from the RIGHT (Starboard to keep the sailors happy). I would expect something like "FLAT (2v,2v-->1.5v)".

sign language for engineering term I'll obviously be adding pictures, from elsewhere in our "Blogs", to show where these power test points are. If we have the unlikely situation of a woman engineer (e.g. our daughter Michelle, who teaches Physics at her local college in Coventry, and taught me the deaf and dumb sign for that internationally well known term between engineers, then I'll make these descriptions even more detailed. e.g. the "pointy end" of the boat is where Snoopy stands, to keep a lookout.

5) Measure the SPOT power, between point (a) and (e) nearer to you - that horrible blob of solder, after the series resistors and diodes to drop about 2v from 5v to 3.6v. e.g. my blogged words such as "SPOT OK 3.6v". I would expect "SPOT LOW 2v" or maybe "SPOT FLAT 1v".

Now we get to the "fun bit" which will depend on time of day, weather, etc. Ideally it would be done while we still have a few hours of daylight. Better still if the sun is out.

All being filmed, or at least photographed, but one of our extended team, with the understanding that I will get the still photos within hours, and any good video, if available, not long after - for that youtube video I want to upload in the next few days.

6) the plastic sheet is put back, and the I-GotU put back on top (a bit of duck tape is useful) and the lid put back, and screwed down, so the boat is exactly as it was when found. The only difference is that we've measured the voltage.

Snoopy sunbathing 7) the boat will now be carried to the position it was found, but maybe not TOO close to the sea. we don't want it being washed away again ! It is placed to catch the light from the sky, as I've done in my garden. Here it is "sunbathing". It should initially catch as much sunlight as possible, if there is any. e.g. solar panels facing south west. But the boat should be propped up a bit, closer to a near vertical position - so it's spot tracker will work. No need to remove the mast and sails, even if some of the panels are screened from the sun. I would rather we did this just as the boat was found, the only difference been it's orientation, facing the sun. I would expect our first SPOT report to be given, for us all to see, within about two hours, but it all depends on how much light is falling on the solar panels. In perfect conditions, with a nice bright sun on the panels, I would expect the first SPOT report to be received in not much more than an hour. This is because, when the little Picaxe based timer has enough voltage (about 3v from the shared 3.6n SPOT supply, it restarts a 1 hour delay, then transmits a report.
This then "Marks the position" of the end of Snoopy's March 2015 adventure.

Someone who can be trusted, including maybe on-lookers and "Joe Public" keep an eye on Snoopy, to make sure he is OK. If there are the expected visits by curious dogs, as we've had before, great to have photos or videos of anything photogenic.

This "Snoopy Minder" can also explain, what it is all about, to anyone interested. e.g. "See www.gpss.co.uk and you will know all about it: that is a robot boat, that tried again to reach the USA. That same boat has already made several efforts in recent years, ending in three crash landings on the Isle of Wight, and two near Portland Bill, past Weymouth. This was his best attempt so far, lasting about two weeks, and he landed here the other night. We are waiting to see if he starts working again, with lots of people watching, around the World".

Snoopys "Minder" should preferably be male, standing facing Snoopy, with his feet slightly apart. His hands should be be behind him, and he should be wearing dark glasses. He should appear to being trying to look inconspicuous, not far from Snoopy, but watching any passing person, dog, or sea gull, like a hawk. He might occasionally be seen speaking into his wrist watch, as if it were the radio. You know the type: night club "bouncer" or Government employed person :-)

Sicilian Donkey If you need to see everyone and everything wearing dark glasses, including women, men, babies, donkeys, kangaroos, penguins, then you need to visit our Holiday page link, at the top of every page, and look at pictures and videos from our Sicilian Holidays. June just emailed from her office, working for the Dutch company Axon, to say that there were no italian lessons tonight, so no need for italian homework, and more hours free for "Snoopy stuff". Horray !
Come Stai Ferrucio ? Possa la tua Mamma, Matilda, parla il inglese per, "la poggia e molte forte" ?.
Young Ferrucio, seen with his parents, Enrico and Matilda, stayed with us as an unpaid foreign slave worker, in return for him learning English from me. He was behind me when little yellow boat 6, was thrown into the sea near Barton, when it got the first taste of sea water. I intoduced him to our local shops and restaurants, like Chapmans, and he got to practise his English on them, that I was teaching him. I told him to teach his mum, when he got home, because she speaks other languages, but not English.
So that "Come Stai" message above means "How's it going Ferrucia ? can your mother, Matilda, speak the English for 'the rain is very heavy' ?
By the time Ferrucio returned to Sicily, he was quite fluent, and when we went into a shop anywhere, I would explain to them that this was Ferrucio from Sicily, learning English, and let me show how well he is doing.
"Ferrucio, how do we say in English, 'it is raining very heavily' ?
He would pause for a moment to think, then say, in perfect English, "Eeeeet eeees peeezing down !". We always got the right reaction. June and I are looking forward to our holiday in Sicily, and I think she's booked the Easy Jet flights, starting at the end of May.

Sorry, I digress, as I often do ....

very young engineers It may sometimes be amusing, for the camera, to delegate this "engineering work" to an unlikely looking woman, or - if the parents are happy with it being plastered all over the net within hours - a much younger person, like those young engineers at Bray Lake.

8) Then, after we get our first SPOT report, or it's not practical to continue, Snoopy is brought back to wherever is a practical place for one of our team, like myself, Robin, Dick, Roy, Peter, etc to bring Snoopy back home here.

9) Then, probably on a later evening, or whenever convenient to Ben Hartrey, and the guys at The Coalition Night Club, we can get together for a much more relaxed "technical meeting", as our team often do, at the local pubs in our area, near Sunninghill. There is an outside chance that someone from the UK National Newspapers, TV networks, or Radio Solent, may ask to join us. That needs Ben's permission, and we will then call the same celebration a "News Conference". The treat is obviously on me, so long as we are talking of numbers in the ballpark of 20 or less. Snoopy's pages may have references to some of those who might ask to be invited. If the Royal Marines suddenly asked, they are welcome to provide one honoured guess. Preferably he should have some real experience, such as operating a kayak near Alum Bay, Isle of Wight.

I think that's it: took me ages to type in with one right finger, plus left finger for shift key. I'll send this email off now, at a bit before midday, Tuesday, and the 1200 BST / 1100 GMT update should be on the detailed page soon.

Take Care All !
Robin
www.gpss.co.uk

Day 15: Wednesday 1st April ... Snoopy unlocked from prison ? Robin's spaghetti tree is in flower !

We need a key holder for The Coalition Nightclub, such as the owner, to unlock the door and carry Snoopy across the road, to the reception at The Thistle Hotel, who have agreed to look after Snoopy for the night. Then, Robin and Dick can drive down to collect Snoopy, and do the required tests on the beach, before taking him home. This saves waiting yet another day, until someone arrives with a key in the evening.

We can then all return with Snoopy, on a day of your choice, for a "Celebration", and maybe Press/Radio/TV reoporters who are interested in photo or video opportunities.

But first.... Robin's spaghetti trees are in flower again, in his back garden.

The piece below was first on the GPSS homepage during 1st April '98 :

April and the Spaghetti Tree is in flower

spaghetti tree planting tagliatelle Robin poses proudly beside the Spaghetti Tree in his back garden which continues to flower every year. The tree is now over 30 years old, having been raised from a small seed collected by June and Robin during a holiday in northern Italy. These trees, very rare outside Italy, cannot be grown from cuttings or the fruit - many have tried planting spaghetti, but with disappointing results. We've also tried tagliatelle, but that also did not grow. This particular variety is "Spaghetti Monstera Grande" - known to some seasoned gardeners as "Big Whopper". You can see the original BBC TV broadcast about the 1957 bumper italian spaghetti harvest if you click
here.

Robin and Dick with Snoopy in Thistle Hotel.. IGot-U data good. Maps follow...

IGOT-U Map

IGOT-U Map

IGOT-U Map

IGOT-U Map

Good eh ? :-)

Snoopy's complete track, every 12 minutes, until Snoopy's landing at Brighton, are in these pictures above. To view this complete track on Google Earth, click on RBAA15A.KML.

Brighton Hotels

GPS Guided Trans-Atlantic Robot Boat

© 1991-2015 Robin Lovelock. Please credit www.gpss.co.uk if you use material from any of these pages. Thankyou.