Thursday 11 September 2014
Changing the face of small boat inshore racing
Southampton Solent University made a splash at this year’s PSP Southampton Boat Show after unveiling a sailing catamaran that could change the face of small boat inshore racing.
The boat, named Solent Whisper, was designed by Ron Price with help from Solent and the Warsash Maritime Academy, who provided the design and engineering facilities needed to turn Ron’s vision into a reality.
Ron, who is a Solent yacht and powercraft design graduate, works as a senior lecturer in naval architecture at the Warsash Maritime Academy. However, Solent Whisper is a labour of love and was worked on in Ron’s free time.
“I was very fortunate to have access to the incredible skill and knowledge of the engineering technicians, the support of staff, and use of the superb facilities at the University,” says Ron.
Measuring 5.9 metres in length, Solent Whisper makes use of new hydrofoil technology that allows it to ‘fly’ on its four struts and achieve speeds of over 25 knots in as little as 5 knots of wind. The crafts innovative technology has already attracted attention from the international sailing community after it was spotted during sea trials this summer.
Although Solent Whisper’s speed is the main attraction for most sailing fans, stability and safety were at the forefront of Ron’s mind during the design process. This additional stability allows the craft to be used safely by disabled sailing enthusiasts.
Ron is aiming to get retail versions of the boat ready to sell at the London Boat Show in January, where it will be available at a surprisingly low price point: “We are engineering the boat in a way that the design is smart enough to keep the production costs low. I’m hoping that my design ideas will make inshore and small boat racing more accessible and affordable for the average club racer, those who sail for pleasure, and people with disabilities.”
Southampton Solent University has a reputation for leading the world in maritime education and technology, and Ron is one of a long line of nautical design graduates who continue to shape the world of sailing.
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