• September 7, 2020 at 11:26 pm#47736
    Keith Giunta

    I know that you guys use the images from Google Earth to help with navigating around reefs which is brilliant.  Does your drone send back live images?  If so, have you considered sending out the drone ahead of you to help with reef avoidance?  Of course, the water would have to be clear enough and the sun in the right location for that to work,

    Keith Giunta

    September 12, 2020 at 9:58 am#47786

    Hello Keith!

    Firstly our apologies for not getting back to you sooner. We’ve been offline pretty much for the last two months, which you can read more about here.

    The drone idea is great in theory. The images or video it sends back to the controller is all in HD and gives an excellent view of the reefs. In fact, using the drone to navigate difficult channels would be a practical application of using the drone.

    It does come with some issues, however, the main one is being short-handed. With only two of us on board it would mean one of us would have to operate the drone, and the other person would have to steer, leaving no one to look out by eye or tending to any issues.

    Also, if something were to go wrong, like hitting a reef or the weather picking up, you now have two problems to deal with – handling the boat and managing the drone. I like to minimise the stress when undertaking difficult passages.

    There is also the issue of battery life and returning the drone to the boat. I like to bring the drone in when it hits 50% battery life to allow contingency for getting it on board. Some reef passages could take two hours. Because Esper is an over-rigged ketch, returning the drone is difficult enough, even when the boat isn’t moving. If the boat is moving, it is almost impossible to land safely.

    The compromise would be to anchor outside of a reef, send the drone up and get a good look at the surrounding seascape before attempting to enter. As you say, however, the satellite images are good enough and the drone doesn’t offer much more in terms of detail, it simply adds another headache when making our way through tricky reefs.

    The real answer is that we just need one more crew member!

    Peace and fair winds!

    September 12, 2020 at 8:50 pm#47792
    Keith Giunta

    Ahhh… I see, thank you.  I haven’t, as yet, operated a drone and hadn’t realized that a moving boat would multiply the maneuvering difficulties.  Drone flying..good.  Crashing drone into the standing rigging…bad!  Crewing on Esper..good!!

    Keith Giunta

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