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The University of Southampton

Building a boat of the future to race on Lake Geneva

Published: 25 July 2016
Southampton HydroTeam boat
The Team have designed and built a remote controlled hydrofoiling boat

Ship science students are leading a University of Southampton team that has accepted the challenge to build an innovative energy-efficient boat and sail it on Lake Geneva this summer. They will be putting the theories of shipbuilding learned on their engineering degree courses into practice in the HYDRO contest by competing against 25 groups from universities around the world.

Their dual-purpose strong yet lightweight catamaran, largely made from carbon fibre, will speed above the water using hydrofoils then, after swift modifications, will carry cargo in underwater torpedoes.

More than 40 students from across the University are involved in the project, with 15 in the core team; eight of them will travel to Lausanne. Members of the international team from 12 countries are tackling different elements of the construction, led by Ariadna Pons Forn, a postgraduate student of MSc Maritime Studies; they have been keeping supporters in touch with their progress through social media and a website.

“A Southampton team took part in this contest for the first time last year, we have learned from their experience and introduced new innovative features,” explains Harry Jukes, a first year Masters of Engineering Ship Science student. “Some of the parts have been produced through 3D printing and we are aiming to win HYDRO’s eco-conception prize by incorporating flax fibre in the design. This award will go to the team which best uses recycled materials in a creative way.” Fellow first year David Panton adds: “We are all involved in this because we want to build boats, it’s why we signed up to study Ship Science at Southampton. The project is very enjoyable but we are learning a great deal along the way, especially from the professionals at Composite Mouldings Group and Glider Yachts.”

As well as honing their engineering skills, the students are gaining valuable experience in time and project management, as the contest deadline nears. “We have secured sponsorship from several marine companies along with the University’s Education Enrichment Fund, work is well on track and we are looking forward to taking part in the final in Switzerland,” says Harry.

Other sponsors include Monster Cam, Buckley Yacht Design and Merchant Technologies.

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