ENSTA Bretagne : transatlantique avec le robot voilier autonome ENSTA Bretagne


The aim of the HydroChallenge Club is to design and build an autonomous 2 meter sailboat in composites, capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean. It was founded in September 2019 after the HydroContest competition came to an end. The club is therefore taking up a new challenge, with its sights set on becoming the first student association to successfully complete this East to West crossing.
ENSTA Bretagne : Fabrication du robot voilier autonome du club HydroChallenge

#Technical challenge  #Autonomy  #Multidisciplinarity 

Chinese Portrait

If the association were…

  • A book: La longue route by Bernard Moitessier
  • An animal: the dolphin
  • A famous person: the love-child of Tabarly and Elon Musk

The sailing robot: architectural choices

After undertaking joint brainstorming and research in small groups, the team made the following choices:  

  • a very narrow stem, dubbed a “wave-piercer”. This maximizes the vessel’s ability to cut through the waves.
  • rigging: this will comprise a rigid sail, which is easy to steer thanks to a rear panel.
  • tilted keel, to stop the boat from getting stuck amidst seaweed.
Created in September 2019, the HydroChallenge Club is composed of about fifteen student engineers (students in their 1st, 2nd and 3rd years specializing in robotics or naval architecture for example).
The skills to be combined are wide-ranging and include naval architecture, automation as well as embedded intelligence.
ENSTA Bretagne : Fabrication de la coque du navire autonome du club HydroChallenge

History of the association

The HydroChallenge club follows on from the Hydros Paris-Brest club, set up to compete in the HydroContest.
The goal of this competition, which was brought to a close in September 2019, was energy-efficient vessels.

ENSTA Bretagne took part in this competition on several occasions and won an array of prizes:

  • In 2019
  • In 2016 :
    • 1st in the « Heavy Boats » category
    • 2nd in the “Light Boats” category 
  • In 2015 :
    • 3rd in the « Long Distance Race »
  • In 2014 :
    • 1st "HYDROcontest Efficiency"
    • 1st "HYDROcontest Design"
    • 1st "HYDROcontest Long-distance Race"

The association’s strengths

The association is able to work on a technical project in total autonomy whilst using ENSTA Bretagne facilities (the composites workshop,  the robotics workshop…).

Events/memorable moments in the year 2019/2020

Fabrication of a hull in partnership with IFREMER.


ENSTA Bretagne, SEGULA Technologies