After More Than a Year Lost at Sea, Ada Has Been Found

The first day of December brought good news to the UBC Sailbot team – their lost Sailbot was discovered off the coast of Florida.

In August 2016, the UBC Sailbot Ada — an autonomous sailboat designed and built by UBC students — was launched off the coast of Newfoundland with the goal of crossing the Atlantic. This feat has never been accomplished despite the numerous attempts by researchers.

After 800km, the UBC Sailbot team lost contact with Ada when the sailbot was damaged in a storm and lost power. Power briefly returned when sunlight hit the boat’s solar panels a few days later, allowing the team to track Ada to her last known position near the Azures Islands in Portugal. Ada’s journey set the record for the longest distance autonomously sailed across the Atlantic Ocean.

Over 12 months later, Ada was discovered on December 1, 2017 by the research vessel Neil Armstrong off the coast of Florida. The Neil Armstrong was on an expedition led by Jennifer Miksis-Olds, a research scientist in the school of marine science and ocean engineering at the University of New Hampshire. The research team blogged about this discovery.

Efforts are now underway to bring Ada back to B.C.


Ada’s story has been featured on: CTV, CBC, Global (video), Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Courier, Kelowna Capital News and Vernon Morning Star.

Learn more about Ada, and the UBC Sailbot team, at: or

View more photos of Ada’s launch and rescue here.