Solent Unviersity Southampton logo
Solent Unviersity Southampton logo
Skip to main content

Model students take to the water

10th May 2017
EngineeringMaritimeYacht design

Timothee Villain-Amirat from France has won this year's model yacht race - an annual event that began more than 40 years ago as a bit of end of term fun - for Southampton Solent University yacht engineering students.

The first-year BEng (Hons) Yacht and Powercraft Design student won with a model inspired by the last generation of mono-hull America’s Cup class yachts. Second place was Filippo Gori from Italy, with Ben Slater from Ringwood in Hampshire coming third.


Ben was also named as the inaugural winner of the Concours d’Elegance’ – a new award for the best model, voted for by the students.

This year, 33 first-year students competed for the coveted title on a windy Friday (5 May) at Gosport Boating Lake, under the scrutiny of their lecturers.


Jonathan Ridley, Head of Engineering says: “This year’s race saw a close contest in blustery conditions. At model scale, the relatively large waves and very strong wind resulted in a few boats having difficulties (and a couple sinking), but overall the models sailed very well in both the upwind and downwind races - resulting in some close photo-finishes in some heats.”


The annual race now forms part of the first-year unit assessment for students on Solent’s BEng (Hons) Yacht and Powercraft Design and BEng (Hons) Yacht Design and Production degree courses.

The students spent 100 hours designing and building the vessels to conform to the yacht design rules, with 85% of the unit mark awarded on their computer aided design, and the build quality of their models. They then race them upwind and downwind to pass their design unit. The last 15% of their mark is awarded on how their yacht performs on race day.


Previously successful winners of this annual race are now responsible for designs of Open 60 race yachts and Ben Ainslie Racing’s Americas Cup campaign.

With a reputation for leading the world in maritime education and technology, Solent continues to produce graduates who shape the world of sailing, including: Jason Ker, designer of many famous race yachts including Americas cup yachts; and Guillame Verdier, who designed the yachts that came both first and second at 2012 Vendee Globe.


On the sailing-side, world-class alumni include: Helena Lucas, who won Great Britain’s first ever sailing gold at the 2012 Paralympics; Paul Goodison who took gold at the 2008 Olympics; and Herve Piveteau, who sailed to victory in the Production Boat Class at the Mini Transat 2008.

You can see more pictures from the day on our Facebook page.