Hardware Setup

Sailing vehicles require a rudder for boats or movable wheel/ wheels for land vehicles. This is setup in the normal way
by assigning a servo output channel to function 26 – Ground Steering.

Sailing vehicles also require a method of controlling the sails. The servo must pull in and let out the sails in a symmetrical way. I.e. no change of servo position should be required to set the sails at the same angle on a new tack. This is typically achieved through the use of a sail winch servo with a main sheet system. The sail winch is servo output function 89 - Main Sail.

Although not absolutely required for best results a wind vane should be fitted to allow the vehicle to sense the wind direction. A further improvement can be gained by fitting a wind speed sensor, the faster your vehicle goes relative to the wind speed the more important this is, See wind vane.

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Flight Controllers

Sailing vehicles are supported by any flight controller, however if a wind vane is to be fitted one analogue ADC input must be available. On newer beta-flight style controllers this is typically labelled as RSSI. In order to fit a hot wire type wind speed sensor two more analogue inputs are required, although just a single additional input can be used with a small loss in accuracy. Alternatively a pressure based airspeed sensor can be used (link to optional hardware airspeed). Ideally a sail vehicle flight controller would have three analogue inputs. Pixhawk1 and the CUBE both fit this criteria.