Snoopy Sloop Atlantic crossing bid fails

Snoopy Sloop
Image caption Previous Snoopy Sloop voyages ended in failure shortly after launch

The latest bid to sail an unmanned vessel across the Atlantic has ended after the model boat was swept back to the south coast of England.

Retired scientist Robin Lovelock's 4ft (1.2m) boat Snoopy Sloop launched from Boscombe in Dorset a week ago.

But after almost reaching France it was eventually pushed back to Durdle Door where Mr Lovelock said it was collected by a local fisherman.

It is now being returned to his home in Sunningdale, Berkshire.

The project is part of the Microtransat Challenge to become the first unmanned vessel to cross the Atlantic from a point to the south of the Republic of Ireland.

A Global Positioning System (GPS) computer was designed to pilot the 14.6kg boat for the 5,000-mile (8,000km) journey which was predicted to take eight months.

Image caption Robin Lovelock has programmed the boat for the 5,000-mile (8,000km) journey to the US

After several years of prototyping and planning, Mr Lovelock launched his first attempt to send the boat, complete with a model of the Charles M. Schulz comic character on the bow, from Barton-on-Sea in Hampshire in 2012.

It hit trouble off the Isle of Wight six hours later and was found washed up on the island.

Other launches also ended in failure, including in 2015 when the boat was found drifting by Royal Marines.

The last launch in 2018 was cancelled because of a technical fault.

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