Cornell Autonomous Sailboat Team

About Us

CUSail is an engineering project team that designs and manufactures an autonomous sailboat to compete in the SailBot International Robotic Sailboat Regatta. In the long term, the team hopes to construct a fleet of autonomous sailboats that can independently navigate across the world to collect oceanic data. CUSail offers students across many disciplines the opportunity to apply what they have been learning in the classroom to real world engineering problems. With over 30 members, the team combines cutting-edge technology with advanced mechanical design to engineer a smarter and faster boat every year.

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Majors across 3 colleges

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Year Founded

Dropping boat in the water Chris and Troy by the lake Closeup of boat electronics Dropping boat in the water


Each year in June, CUSail competes in the Sailboat International Robotic Sailing Regatta. This contest helps the team evaluate the boats design and figure out what to improve on in future iterations. All the events in the regatta are designed to test the mechanical, electrical, and algorithmic components of the sailboat. This year, the competition will be from June 7-12 on Lake Attitash in Amesbury, MA.


Cayuga Lake

Fleet Race

The sailboat sails in a loop around two buoys via remote control. The goal of this event is to demonstrate an ability to operate the boat via remote control, as well as to judge the performance of the vessel.

Boat in Cayuga Lake


The sailboat sails autonomously around four buoys continuously for up to seven hours to demonstrate the boat's endurance and ability to sail long distances.

Boat Closeup

Station Keeping

The sailboat autonomously sails into a 40 m x 40 m box and must stay inside the box for five minutes, then exit the box within 30 seconds. The goal of this event is to demonstrate the boat's ability to precisely position itself and respond to commands.

Cayuga Lake

Precision Navigation

The sailboat starts autonomously traverses a route around buoys. The goal of this event is to demonstrate the boat's ability to autonomously navigate a course with obstacles.

Boat in Cayuga Lake


The sailboat must autonously find an orange buoy placed in a 100 m search area, touch the buoy, and signal that it has done so. The goal of this event is to demonstrate the boat�s ability to autonomously find an object.

Long Term Goals

Goal timeline

Sail the Length of Cayuga Lake

The first goal in our series of long-term goals is to sail from the southern end to the northern end of Cayuga Lake. Cayuga Lake is just under 40 miles long, and we would be able to test our navigation algorithm on a larger scale. This is the goal that our team is currently working towards.

Cross the Atlantic Ocean

We want to sail across the Atlantic Ocean from the east coast of the United States to the west coast of Europe. We plan to sail from New York to Portugal to demonstrate our boat is robust enough to survive ocean and weather conditions and our navigation algorithm can successfully navigate long distances.

Empower Oceanic Research

After we perfect or mechanical design and navigation algorithm, we hope to experiment with applications of our boat for oceanic research using sensors and other scientific equipment. This would unlock a world of research opportunities from monitoring weather trends to tracking whale migration patterns.