It looks like the Microtransat is going to be canceled for this year. We have just received an email from the Portuguese team who have been trying to coordinate the launch from Portugal in October. Basically it seems the authorities in Portugal aren’t happy with us launching from Portugal. Even if we tow the boat out to the 12 (or 24) mile limit they don’t seem to be happy about it because Portugal was still the country of departure and they feel they could be held responsible.
They are worried (and not entirely without good reason) that one of the robots could hit and damage a sailing boat. In order for us to launch they want us to follow them the whole way and have liability insurance. No insurance company is going to insure us for potential damage caused by an autonomous vehicle and we really don’t want to have to follow a group of very slow robots all the way across the atlantic.
We are trying to see if we can organise something in Ireland instead but it doesn’t look like its going to happen this year.