Solent Unviersity Southampton logo
Solent Unviersity Southampton logo
Skip to main content

40 competitors from Solent's yacht engineering courses raced their yachts

20th May 2016

Alvaro Guell from Spain has won this year's model yacht race - an annual event that began more than 40 years ago as a bit of end of term fun - for Southampton Solent University yacht engineering students.

This was the first-year BEng (Hons) Yacht and Powercraft Design student’s first attempt at designing (building and racing) a yacht, as his first love is power vessels. Second place was Marcus Mauleverer, followed closely by Harry Biddle (both representing ‘Team GB’).


Giles Barkley, Programme Group Leader of the yacht engineering courses says, “The sun was out, but the wind direction was a little awkward. Nonetheless, all the yachts sailed up wind very well. There were only a few collisions, resulting in one or two sinking. Congratulations to all three podium winners, who now go on to join the illustrious hall of yacht design fame.”

This year, 40 first-year student yacht designers competed for the coveted title on warm and sunny Friday 13 May at Gosport Boating Lake, under the scrutiny of their lecturers.

The annual race now forms part of the first-year unit assessment for students on Solent’s BEng (Hons) Yacht and Powercraft Design and BEng (Hons) Yacht Design and Production degree courses.


The students spent 100 hours designing and building the vessels to conform to the yacht design rules, with 85% of the unit mark awarded on their computer aided design, and the build quality of their models. They then race them upwind and downwind to pass their design unit. The last 15% of their mark is awarded on how their yacht performs on race day.

Previously successful winners of this annual race are now responsible for designs of Open 60 race yachts and Ben Ainslie Racing’s Americas Cup campaign.

"As usual, the standard of design and build of the yachts was high. This year, two students had incorporated wing sales as used on Ben Ainslie's Americas Cup challenge yachts. Both sailed well, but just missed out on podium positions,” adds Giles.


With a reputation for leading the world in maritime education and technology, Solent continues to produce graduates who shape the world of sailing, including: Jason Ker, designer of many famous race yachts including Americas cup yachts; and Guillame Verdier, who designed the yachts that came both first and second at 2012 Vendee Globe.

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.

See more photos on the University's Facebook page.