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Monday 14 December 2015

Solent Lecturer Nominated for 2016 Boat of the Year

A revolutionary catamaran, designed by Southampton Solent University Senior Lecturer and graduate, Ron Price, has been nominated for Cruising World and Sailing World magazines’ prestigious 2016 Boat of the Year Award.


Ron, who lectures in Naval Architecture at the University’s Warsash Maritime Academy, developed a revolutionary new hydrofoil system which provides stability, ease and safety. Alongside its affordable purchase price, it has the potential to offer America’s Cup-style sailing to the masses. The craft’s easy and stable sailing style also makes it accessible for disabled sailors.

Primarily designed with ease and safety in mind, Solent Whisper has also exceeded expectations on the speed front. It comfortably achieves over 25 knots and it can ‘fly’ on its foils in as little as five knots of wind.

Thrilled to be nominated for the award, Ron says: “The skills I gained from Southampton Solent University’s Yacht and Powercraft Design degree have all borne fruit in the design and build of this new craft.

“I was also able to draw upon the technical experience, support and skills from colleagues across the University, and the state-of-the-art yacht design and facilities at both the engineering workshop at the maritime academy and the composites lab and towing tank at the main campus.”

The winners of the annual awards – which recognize and honour the best and newest sailboat models introduced to the North American market – will be announced mid-December.

“Diverse is the term that best describes our field of 13 nominees,” says Dave Reed, editor of Sailing World. “We have new race boat models that will cater to every type of performance sailor, from our dinghies to the impressive crossovers and our two foiling catamarans. Sailboat design is so evolutionary, and I think this year’s new boats are really pushing the evolution much further.”

White Formula UK Ltd are manufacturing Ron’s Whisper catamaran. “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,” adds Ron.