Cornell Autonomous Sailboat Team

About Us

CUSail is a Cornell University engineering project that designs and manufactures an inexpensive, autonomous robotic sailboat each year for the SailBot International Robotic Sailboat Regatta. Building upon the skills required in competition, we hope to one day have a fleet of autonomous sailboats that can independently navigate across the world to collect oceanic data. Starting as a research group led by Professor Andy Ruina, CUSail has grown into a student led project team that is over 25 members strong. CUSail offers students across many disciplines the opportunity to apply what they have been learning in the classroom to real world engineering problems of tomorrow. Using cutting-edge technology and advanced mechanical design, our team is exploring the uncharted waters that is the field of autonomous sailboats.


Majors across 3 Colleges

Hours of work annually

Year founded


Each year in June, our team competes in the Sailboat International Robotic Sailing Regatta. This year, the 13th International Robotic Sailing Regatta (IRSR) Sailboat 2019 will be from June 3-7, 2019 on Lake Quinsigamond in Massachusetts. Events at competition range from simple to difficult so teams are able to compete, score points, and improve upon their designs each year. All events are designed to test all mechanical, electrical, and algorithmic components of the sailboat.

Competition Events

Long Term Goals


Sail the Length of Cayuga Lake

The first goal in our series of long-term goals is to sail from the southern end of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, NY to the northern end in Cayuga, NY. 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 that our boat is robust enough to survive ocean and weather conditions, and prove that our navigation algorithm can successfully navigate with such a long planned route.


Global Fleet of Autonomous Sailboats

Creating a fleet of autonomous sailboats is the ultimate goal of CUSail. We want to perfect our mechanical design and methods so that we can easily build many sailboats at a low cost. The boats would be for research, from monitoring weather trends in different parts of the world to tracking whale migration patterns.