Skip to main content

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Solent graduates impressed yachting industry experts

Preparing to set a course for their future careers, final-year yacht engineering students from Southampton Solent impressed industry experts with their skills and knowledge at a University award ceremony.

Six students were shortlisted for the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, RINA-BAE Systems and RINA-BMF Awards for best final-year design and yacht production project of the year.

The finalists were asked to give a 10-minute presentation on their projects to a panel of three industry experts, including two course alumni: Trevor Blakeley, Chief Executive of The Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA); 2003 graduate Tim Smyth who now works for MAGMA Structures; and Technical Director at KEEL Marine, 1995 graduate Laurence Hildesley.

The top prizes were awarded to Christopher Tiernan (BEng (Hons) Yacht Design and Production) for his preliminary design and production of a 21 metre steam boat capable of obtaining the steam boat world record and Jonathan Fluhrer (BEng (Hons) Yacht and Powercraft Design) for his design of a 24m high performance cruiser-racer.

The winners were presented with a certificate and a cheque; and each participant received a year’s free membership of RINA.

Alumni students Chris Tiernan and Jonathan Fluhrer with judges Tim Smyth, Laurence Hildesley and Trevor Blakeley

Trevor Blakeley, CEO of RINA was impressed with the students’ slick, informative and professional presentations. Speaking of the University’s global reputation within the sector he says:

“The yacht engineering courses here are highly regarded world-wide because Solent is good at producing enthusiastic, knowledgeable and skilled graduates that meet the needs of industry.”

The other finalists were Michael Johnson, Niccolo Pasquini and Francesco Gravina.

This year the University is celebrating 25 years of Yacht Engineering degrees at Southampton Solent. With a reputation for leading the world in maritime education and technology, graduates continue to shape the world of sailing including :Jason Ker, who is currently working on Sir Ben Ainslie’s GB America’s Cup bid; Guillame Verdier, who designed the yachts that came both first and second at 2012 Vendee Globe; and Ed Dubois.

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.

Following the ceremony, Programme Group Leader, Giles Barkley says, “Graduates this year have produced some excellent technical and stylish yacht designs, and are literally being snapped up by industry, including the world leading Dutch yacht design and building industry.”


For further information contact the media office on 023 8201 3040 or email press.office@solent.ac.uk