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Monday 2 June 2014

Students prepare for annual model yacht race

A model yacht race competition, established more than 40 years ago as a bit of end of term fun for Southampton Solent University yacht design and production students, will take to the waters again this June.

Winner Alice Courage tuning her yacht model


More than 28 first-year yacht designers of the future will be racing their craft at Gosport Boating Lake on Friday 6 June.

The annual race now forms part of the first-year unit assessment for Southampton Solent University yacht design and production students.

Students have spent 70 hours designing and building the vessels to conform to the ‘metre classed’ yacht design rules, with 85% of the unit mark awarded on their computer-aided design, and the build quality of their models.

The students then have to race them upwind and downwind to pass their design unit, with the final 15% of marks awarded on how their yacht performs on race day.

Giles Barkley, senior lecturer in BEng (Hons) Yacht and Powercraft Design says: “As well as being a fun way to end the year, the boat race allows our students to put into practice the academic theory they have learnt during their first year at University.”

Last year’s winning yacht was designed by first-year BEng (Hons) Yacht Production and Surveying student Alice Courage from Poole in Dorset, the first woman to win the race since it began.

Past winners of the model yacht race have gone on to enjoy great success within the industry. On the sailing side, Hervé Piveteau sailed to victory in the Production Boat Class at the Mini Transat 2008, the French equivalent of the OSTAR and Jason Ker went on to design the last South African, America’s Cup entry.

Successful course graduates also include Guillame Verdier, who designed the yachts that came both first and second in last year’s Vendee Globe; 2008 Olympic gold medallist, Paul Goodison; and Helena Lucas, who won Great Britain’s first ever sailing gold at the 2012 Paralympics.

This year’s race will be hosted by Gosport Model Yacht & Boat Club at Gosport Boating Lake on Friday 6 June.  Members of the public are welcome to come along and spectate. The students will be practising on the lake from 11am and the races will begin at 2pm.