Southampton Solent University was pleased to welcome HRH The Princess Royal when she visited Solent Whisper at their stand at the London International Boat Show yesterday, 14 January 2015.
Met by Vice-Chancellor Professor Graham Baldwin, she was introduced to Southampton Solent lecturer, graduate and Solent Whisper designer, Ron Price and boat-builder Thom White from White Formula UK Ltd – the company building the boat, and shown the Solent Whisper prototype.
Commenting on the visit the Vice-Chancellor said: “The University was delighted to welcome HRH Princess Anne. She was interested in the University and its innovative approach to learning and work generally, encapsulated in the design and manufacture of the Solent Whisper. Real-world learning at its best.”
Princess Anne was also shown the production version, which has been taking shape before the eyes of the world’s media and the public as part of the live boat build, launched by Southampton Solent graduate and Paralympian Helena Lucas at the show last Friday, 9 January 2015.
Boat builders from White Formula UK Ltd have been demonstrating each stage of production – from the preparation of the moulds to the final infusion of resin into the carbon fibre of the boat. Princess Anne helped with the live build by injecting the resin into the hull mould to start the infusion process.
“The Princess took the opportunity to start the infusion process on the very first Whisper, injecting the resin into the hull mould” said Ron Price.
“She was very interested in the progress and development of the boat, particularly its potential use by disabled sailors,” he continued.
Thom White said: “It was good to see Princess Anne get really involved in modern boat building technology. We’re proud that she infused the first production boat.”
The Solent Whisper catamaran has continued to capture people’s imagination, with huge interest in the design of the hydrofoils and build of lightweight carbon structures.
The live boat build continues throughout the week with the aim to complete the production version model by the end of the show on 18 January 2015. Read more about Solent Whisper.