FIRST-YEAR university students put their yacht designs to the test in a spectacular race on a model boating lake.
The annual event has become something of a tradition for students from Southampton Solent University and has taken place each year for 40 years on the lake in Walpole Park in Gosport.
This year saw 32 students test the boats they designed and built during the first year of their yacht engineering degrees.
The students were organised into heats with the top eight progressing into the quarter finals.
Student William Lane said: ‘We have been working on the design for our boats since Christmas and then building them since Easter.
‘The boat is 60 per cent of our module and then the race equates to 15 per cent of it.’
Race winners have gone on to do great things in the yacht design field worldwide. Previous winner Jason Ker is currently designing Ben Ainslie’s America’s cup yachtProgramme leader Giles Barclay
Fellow student Fred Curtin-Sewell, from Gosport, was knocked out after his second heat.
He said: ‘Our boats were scrutinised earlier on in the module and now we are testing them out.
‘The design is the same as this but just on a much larger scale.
‘Hopefully I can get a 2:1 or a 2:2.’
Programme leader Giles Barclay added: ‘The students have come from countries as far away as Australia and South Africa to study for this course.
‘About 60 per cent of them actually come from the EU.
‘Previous race winners have gone on to do great things in the yacht design field worldwide.
‘Previous winner Jason Ker is currently designing Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup yacht and other winners are designing Vendee Globe 60ft single-handed sailing yachts as sailed by Ellen McCarthur.
‘We welcome students from all over the world and the winner can often go on to do great things.’
Marin Lauber, one of the race favourites, from Switzerland, said: ‘I would absolutely love to win this race.
‘Previous winners have done well. We design our boats in a certain way and today is a chance to see how they react in the water.’
Marin was an early favourite alongside Frenchman Aladin Montel and Brit Alex Gill.
Pierre-Antoine Tesson, a BEng (Hons) yacht and powercraft design student from France, won the race, with Marin taking second place and Aladin Montel, also from France, in third.