An autonomous sailboat called a Sailbuoy was deployed in mid-winter (July) at the sea-ice edge as part of the University of Gothenburg-led Robotic Observations and Modelling of the Marginal Ice Zone (ROAM-MIZ) project. The Sailbuoy has done a crazy mission, traversing from the sea-ice edge and is currently 150km from Cape Town! It has been a treacherous mission with the Sailbuoy disappearing for a month due to a detected leak in the hull which impacted its communication systems, but a month later it was still tracking to Cape Town. Currently the Sailbuoy is riding a short-cut back to Cape Town on an Agulhas Current Ring and is expected to sail all the way to Cape Town to be retrieved and all the high resolution data collected along its voyage downloaded.
Track of the Sailbuoy on its to Cape Town.
ROAM-MIZ is a multi-institutional initiative to observe the seasonal cycle of the upper ocean in the marginal ice zone in the South Atlantic using sensors mounted on an array of ocean robots, such as gliders, autonomous surface vehicles (ASV) and buoys. This initiative is led by Assoc. Prof. Sebastiaan Swart of the University of Gothenburg, who is also co-chair of SOOS and co-chair of the SOFLUX Capability Working Group. For more information about ROAM-MIZ see here.