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The University of Southampton

Southampton ship science students design innovative craft for an international contest

Published: 30 March 2015

Ten Southampton postgraduate researchers are taking on the best yacht designers from universities around the world in quest of success at the HYDROcontest 2015.

The students from France, England, Italy, Spain and China have come together through their shared passion for high performance sailing. They will be tested to the limit at the final on Lake Geneva in Switzerland in July when they will sail two boats, one a fast craft carrying 20 kg, the other a heavy transporter designed for a 200kg load. The aim of the contest is to raise awareness of the importance of energy efficient maritime transport. Ninety percent of the world’s cargoes are carried by ship but many of the vessels are old, inefficient and cause pollution.

Southampton Hydro Team

Project manager Matthieu Vincent was inspired to get involved after he heard about the first HYDROcontest in 2014 and recruited the other engineers. “We are talking about innovative technologies. Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup bid will use exciting hydrofoiling techniques to ‘fly’ over the water for speed and we will do the same for the fast craft. We are also looking at ways to making the transporter travel beneath the waves for increased fuel efficiency."


The team is working hard on its designs using computational fluid dynamics and construction will start soon. The students are also seeking sponsorship from far-sighted marine companies interested in becoming part of the future of yachting and shipping, Marion James says “We need to raise money for materials and logistics and are keen to work with companies to achieve our goals and give them access to these latest technologies.”

Members of the Southampton HYDRO team are Matthieu Vincent, Pietro Tibuzzi, Louis Hulet, Marion James, Javier Calderon-Sanchez, Nimath Ibrahim, Sebastien Lopubeyre, Chris Ryan, Tony Yu Tsao and Nicolas Verkant.

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