Atlantic hurricane


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In the Summer 2015, we released one Saildrone Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USV) out of Newport, RI, on a Transatlantic mission to Great Britain. The purpose of the mission was to continue our series of extreme endurance tests, this time in the harsh North Atlantic.

Three weeks into the voyage across the Atlantic, the USV was hit by the tail end of Hurricane Joaquin. Winds in excess of 50 knots were recorded for over 18 hours.

The Saildrone USV (SD 124) survived the turbulant seas but suffered some minor damage, which compromised navigation. We planned to route the Saildrone USV for the Azores for repairs but in the face of storm-force headwinds, decided to head south into the trade winds to make repairs in the Caribbean.

Three months later, SD 124 arrived in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands, and the vehicle was recovered without the need for a ship rescue. This mission demonstrated the vehicle's endurance in extreme storm conditions and the ability to navigate to shore for repairs in the event of damage. We used the data gathered from this mission to improve the Saildrone USV's overall design for extreme wind conditions.


Summer 2015


Saildrone SD 124 mission path showing the rerouting of its transatlantic crossing to the Caribbean during Hurricane Joaquin.

Path of Hurricane Joaquin in the Atlantic.