Christophe Guigueno

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Sailing | Sea | Drones

Dronautic : New nautical drones races for students, engineers and navigators and a round the world race in 2018

The Dronautic Revolution : a round the world race to take place in 2018

lundi 30 juin 2014Pipof

Toutes les versions de cet article : [français] [français]

When the 50 years of the famous Golden Globe - the first single-handed non-stop round the world yacht race - will be celebrated, a new round the world race will start. Unmanned this time, The Dronautic Revolution, a competition opened to autonomous yachts able to navigate whith no man on board, around the world and with no fossil or nuclear power.

Dronautic is the new definition for these yachting drones. They will be conceived, built and managed by teams of students, engineers and/or navigators from all over the world. Their goal : be the first ones to achieve a round the world trip around the Antarctic and come back to the starting port.

In this press release :

Dronautic : a nautical drone transporting a scientific laboratory : a web site and program for the drones
The Dronautic Revolution : a round the world race to take place in 2018
Christophe Guigueno : interview with the manager of Dronautic
• To be announced in September 2014 : the Dronautic’6 box-rule and a yacht design contest

Dronautic : a navigating drone with inboard laboratory

A Dronautic is a nautical drone. It is a yacht navigating at the surface of the seas, without any human on board, autonomous and non-using any nuclear or CO2 maker energy.

There is no man or woman on-board. But many men and women will be needed to develop and manage a Dronautic project. That is why a Dronauteam may be built by students, engineers and/or navigators to complete each other experience and knowledge to create the best Dronautic able to navigate around the world non-stop.

A Dronautic is a small cargo ship and the rules of the competitions will force them to embark a scientific laboratory. These laboratories (around 80 kilos) will be able to communicate with the organisations and the teams thanks to the inboard communication system. Scientific teams will develop these laboratories, partners of the Dronauteams, or by the organisation. Their information collected during the event could be given for free for the scientific community in the way to survey the oceans. Subjects of research will have to be environment researches such as the studies of the weather, the sea, marine life, etc.

The Dronautic schedule will take place from 2014 to 2019 beginning by a Pro-Am yacht design contest in September 2014. Students and professionals will compete in the way to imagine a Dronautic’6, 6 meters long and wide Dronautic, which box rule, will be presented at the same time.

• More information on

Examples of navigating drones : : a web site and a 5 years long schedule

Four years before the start of the round the world race, is opened in French (official language) and in English. The site presents the definition of the Dronautic concept and the first elements of the 5 years program. The “news” folder presents the first news of the Dronautic world and will follow the different projects entering in the different competitions. For them, a “team” folder will present their members, projects, sponsors and their boats. The program of competition which will begin this year with a yacht design contest opened to students and professionals, give 4 years to the teams to built boats able to round the world with no human on board. In 2016 will be launched the first competitions : 24 hours from few days long inshore and/or offshore racing. In 2017, the Dronauteams will enter a trans-oceanic race to test their ability for a long oceanic navigation. Then, in June 2018, it will the time for the ultimate challenge, the first ever autonomous round the world race.

The Dronautic Revolution 2018 : 50 after the Golden Globe

On 1968 June the 1st was opened, for 5 months, the starting line of the first ever single-handed round the world ace, the Golden Globe. Nine men left England. Only one came back. French sailor Bernard Moitessier decided to continue towards Tahiti. Brit legend sir Robin Knox-Johnston was the only one to come back, winning the race and establishing the first time non-stop around the world in 313 day.

In 2018 June 1st, 50 years after, the starting line of The Dronautic Revolution will be opened.

Which team will be able to make its Dronautic come back to the starting port after a revolution around the Antarctic ?

Will this first Dronautic to come back to the starting port be able to do it in 312 days or less, in the way to round the world in a better time than did Sir Robin Knox-Johnston 50 years before ?

About The Dronautic Revolution 2018 :

• Start date : 2018, Thursday June 14th
• Starting Port : open to competition

• Course : starting port – rounding the Antarctic by the 3 main capes (Agulhas, South-East of Tasmania, Horn) – back to the starting port

• Estimated time : 312 days (Suhaili 1968 time)
• Division : Dronautic’6 (rule box to be presented in September 2014)

• More information on

Interview : Christophe Guigueno, Dronautic manager

Dronautic is a new concept of competition imagined by French journalist Christophe Guigueno. Editor of the sport sailing and surfing news site, Christophe Guigueno, also known as Pipof, has work in the PR teams of many sailing competition such as the Vendée Globe 2000-2001, the last one organised by Philippe Jeantot. His experience in sailing and multi-media competition has made him imagine Dronautic and The Dronautic Revolution. He explains why.

Why have you imagined Dronautic ?

Christophe Guigueno : « This idea came to me when I saw the first images and navigating drones ; It was six months ago. I asked myself if there were lots of projects of offshore navigating drones and it looked like it was possible could count them with one hand only. That’s why I imagined a program of competition from the yacht design contest to the round the world race to help the existing projects to compare themselves, show their ability to navigate offshore and to create an emulation to develop new projects and new ideas. »

Which concepts have you already found ?

CG : « In the United-states, there are two. First one can be presented as the pioneer in the way they have a big advance over the others. It’s the Saildrone team, which has already sailed from San Francisco to Hawaii. It’s a big team who has imagined a very interesting trimaran. I hope they will be interested the Dronautic competition program. On the East coast, students have tried to cross the Atlantic with a solar done, the 3 meters long Scout. But it looks like they have lost the boat after 175 promising days. May be they will develop a bigger solar drone to enter the circuit ? Another interesting project for its environment goals and the design of its hull is the Protei imagined by Cesar Harada. Since the time the web site has been launched, I already received few message to present other projects. And I hope that the communication about Dronautic will give ideas to different teams all around the world, from students to professionals of the yachting design and building. »

In that way, what does a Dronautic team looks like ?

CG : « The Dronautic concept is opened to everybody but I think that students, engineers and navigators teams will be very interested in this new challenge. To launch the competition, I will announce the Dronautic’6 box rule in September this year and a yacht design competition. Designing a 6 meters long Dronautic will make people start form a white page. Everything has to be imagined from the choice of the number of hulls, the power system (sail, wing-sail, solar, both of them or another one ?), the piloting system, the communication with the organisation, etc. This challenge needs lots of knowledge and I think we can find them in universities, big transport companies and professional yacht teams. Non-forgetting a Dronautic will also have to fret a mini-laboratory. All this will make students, engineers, sailors to communicate together to enter the game, and, of course, to find sponsors. »

Why is the round the world race scheduled for 2018 ?

CG : « I have chosen 2018 for two reasons. The first one is that making a drone boat sailing around the world is not an easy challenge. For this, 4 years won’t be long to build teams, find sponsors, develop ideas and make navigating new Dronautics. The other one is that, in June 1968, will be celebrated the 50 years of the start of the Golden Globe, the first ever round the world yacht race. What better image than to try to launch unmanned yachts around the world 50 years after ? As we don’t know yet if a Dronautic can do it, which will be its time around the world of the first one to come back ? May be 312 days or less ? Better than did Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in 1969 ?

Provisional agenda 2014-2018

• June 2014 : announcement of Dronautic and The Dronautic Revolution
• September 2014 : Presentation of the Dronautic’6 rule box and launch of the yacht design contest
• June 2015 : Price giving of the yacht design contest.
• December 2015 : Presentation of the races schedule from 2016 to 2018. Presentation of the first teams
• June 2016 : Prologues Dronautic (2 or 3 24 hours long races)
• June 2017 : Dronautic Oceanic Challenge (transoceanic race)
• June 2018 : The Dronautic Revolution (non-stop round the world race)
• 2019 : Come-back of the first Dronautics after the round the world race

• More information on


For more information about Dronautic, the contact is Christophe Guigueno : +,,
Skype : cguigueno

Documents for press

The Press release (pdf document) :

Free of charge photo of Christophe Guigueno (credit : "photo Anne-Marie Vincent /")