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Sunday 11 January 2015

Solent lecturer does a real-time build of Solent Whisper in Boat Show first

Two graduates of the 1996 cohort of Southampton Solent University’s yacht and powercraft design degree are currently embarking on a London Boat Show first.

Ron Price, Senior Lecturer in Naval Architecture at the University, is at the show carrying out a real-time build of Solent Whisper – a 5.9m sailing catamaran with a cutting-edge hydrofoil system, which he designed.

Fellow alumnus and British sailing’s golden girl, Helena Lucas, who made history claiming 2.4mR Paralympic gold at London 2012, has sailed the prototype boat and was on hand to help ‘launch’ the catamaran-building activities at the show opening on Friday.

Helena Lucas commented: “The learning and experience on my degree has helped me to go on to explore new area of competition in sailing and to take on new challenges. It is really interesting that Ron and I studied in the same year on the same course and our careers have taken such different but equally exciting routes.”

Ron Price trained at Sandhurst as an officer cadet and then spent seven years in the armed forces, before starting his degree in yacht production and design alongside Paralympic sailing gold medallist Helena Lucas. “The skills I gained from the yacht and powercraft design degree, have all borne fruit in the design and build of this new craft, ranging from the aero-hydrodynamic design of the hydrofoils and sails, to the structural design and build of lightweight carbon structures,” says Ron.

The Solent Whisper catamaran, which has already turned heads at both the PSP Southampton Boat Show in September and the Paris International Boat Show in December, will take shape before the eyes of the media and the public.

Visitors to the show will be able to watch all the stages of production, from the preparation of the moulds to the final infusion of resin into the carbon fibre of the boat.