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French victory at student model yacht race in Southampton

by Sarah-Jayne Wareham 10 Jun 2014 21:42 BST 6 June 2014
Southampton Solent University model yacht race 2014 © SSU

It was a French victory at this year's model yacht race that began more than 40 years ago, as a bit of end of term fun, for Southampton Solent University yacht design and production students.

It was a close fought race, but first-year BEng (Hons) Yacht and Powercraft Design student Cesar Hardelay from France sailed through the blustery wind conditions to take first place. Alessandro Torresani from Italy came in second and Matthew Turner from Great Britain took third place.

This year, 28 first-year student yacht designers competed for the coveted title on Friday 6 June at Gosport Boating Lake, under the scrutiny of their lecturers.

Giles Barkley, senior lecturer of both the BEng (Hons) Yacht and Powercraft Design and BEng (Hons) Yacht Production and Surveying degrees says, "The sun was out but the blustery winds created difficult sailing conditions for the models. It made for an exciting, competitive and hard fought competition. Congratulations to Cesar on a very well deserved win." 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 Production and Surveying 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 raced 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.

Past winners of the model yacht race have gone on to enjoy great success within the industry. On the sailing side, Herve Piveteau, who won back in the 1990s, sailed to victory in the Production Boat Class at the Mini Transat 2008, the French equivalent of the OSTAR. Jason Ker - who also raced his model yacht to success - was the designer of the last South African, America's Cup entry.

Successful course graduates also include Guillame Verdier, who designed the yachts that came both first and second in last year's Vendee Globe; 2008 Olympic gold medallist, Paul Goodison; and Helena Lucas, who won Great Britain's first ever sailing gold at last year's Paralympics.

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