Pupils sink or swim in power boat challenge

PRIZE Henry Cort pupils Faisal Jamil, 13, Sam Hughes, 14, Samuel Sevich, 14 and Alastair Wilkins, 13, with (back, left) Graham Styles, curriculum leader for design and technology and technician Dave Fudge

PRIZE Henry Cort pupils Faisal Jamil, 13, Sam Hughes, 14, Samuel Sevich, 14 and Alastair Wilkins, 13, with (back, left) Graham Styles, curriculum leader for design and technology and technician Dave Fudge

Michelle Bates, WO2 Lloyd Gillingham, Noah, six, and Gunner Ryan Hancock
Pictures: Habibur Rahman

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PUPILS turned their hands to shipbuilding before racing their power boats against each other at Qinetiq’s testing site in Gosport.

Teenagers from eight schools across Hampshire were given four months to build a remote-controlled boat from scratch.

In January, all they were supplied with was a motor, a rudder and a radio control.

And yesterday was the moment of truth when they raced them at Qinetiq’s ocean basin testing site in Haslar.

Youngsters from Henry Cort Community College scooped the best teamwork prize.

Sam Hughes, 14, from Whiteley, said: ‘It’s been really good fun. It was difficult to know what to do because we had no experience, but we had a good go at it and got the teamwork prize so we’re happy with that.’

They pupils built the powerboat in a robotics club after school and in the holidays.

Teacher Graham Styles said: ‘They worked hard and deserve their prize.’

The students’ vessels zipped about in a series of races in the deep pool, which is usually used to test large propellers and parts for warships.

In the end, a sleek boat by Hamble School stole the show with the team winning the final race and also grabbing best engineering award.

Teacher Chris Ralls said: ‘I’m over the moon, it’s nice to win but even nicer to win the engineering award.’

Qinetiq naval architect Chris Fisher, 24, has run the Powerboat Challenge for the last two years.

He said: ‘I’ve been really impressed with the boats.

‘They’ve had to do the research, design it and build it all themselves.

‘This is about inspiring pupils, not just to go into a maritime career, but to get into engineering and science generally, which is important because there is a national shortage at the moment.’

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