SMark (English version)
Updated: Apr 23
Hello dear sailors, amicable clubs, I hope you are all safe, secure, and in good health in this unprecedented time. Wish we can all get back to the water soon. I would like to introduce you to SMark: my GPS modular extra light buoy, as many of us are currently grounded and dreaming of the days of sailing soon to come.
SMark's story: The idea for SMark was born in December 2016 during a J70 winter series in Monaco, where I experienced multiple long buoy resets, and I started to feel like we were living in a prehistoric world in sailing. I felt like everywhere else technology was rapidly improving, as drones zoomed above our heads, yet, setting a mark has not changed in 50+ years. With my friend Kassandra, fellow impatient sailor woman, we started to think about a buoy that could stay autonomously in its place without an anchor. I spent all of 2016 Christmas holidays thinking through the various contraptions that could enable my vision.
The result was a fisherman’s trolling motor, and I was amazed at the various technologies that the fishing world has developed!!!! It looked like the perfect motoring solution. Then, I was just missing a support that looks similar to a buoy, and that was all.
I built my first polystyrene prototype in 2017. It worked, but I wanted the prototype to be easier to lift onto a RIB for long-distance resets. From there, I started to consider an inflatable solution and developed a model after some test trials in 2018. After further experiments, I still thought everything was too heavy, as the entire structure was around 35 kg. Meanwhile, other companies started selling GPS controlled buoys, but I knew my concept was different than their offers. One of the core concepts of SMark that I felt and still feel very strongly about was the ability for one person to be able to lift the buoy out of the water easily by themselves.
In October 2019, I heard about Gilles and his buoy. Gilles is a robotics engineer with a company based in Lugano. I immediately checked out his offering, and it was brilliant!
His Ezymark® weighed a mere 7 kg including battery and 2 propellers and it was the shape of a little catamaran. This little buoy was exactly the size of the inner part of mine, and bingo, a partnership was developed! This buoy can be driven via GSM from anywhere, through Bluetooth® or by pressing the physical button "stay here".
SMark's uniqueness: What is the most interesting aspect of SMark apart from being only 16 kg?
It’s MODULAR, meaning you have a dynamic product ready for regular activities such as sailing school use, as well as a product for regattas too, being visible and "touchable". Currently, I have a working prototype, and I would love to have more feedback before proceeding to the final version.
About me: My name is Valentina Venturi, I started sailing at the age of 8 and I just recently completed my PhD in mechanical engineering. By some miracle, my defense was taking place the same day the university shut down due to Corona Virus.
I have spent the last 8 years at CERN working on particle accelerator technologies and sailing extensively on Geneva's Lake Leman. Perhaps you have heard about the storm of the century that took us by surprise last year during the Bol d'Or Mirabaud regatta.
Proposal: Dear clubs, if you are interested in becoming 1 of 5 early adopters, I can offer you a working prototype at a discount. All profit made on the prototypes will be directly re-invested in the further refinement of SMark. You'll get then a free update. Your feedback is invaluable to the success of SMark.
If interested just contact me via email: email@example.com
or via phone: +39 339 74 33 171.
More info and prices on