ENGINEERING innovation was put to the test by schoolchildren in a powerboat competition.
Three schools from Fareham and Gosport were joined by 10 others from Hampshire and Dorset to take part in the QinetiQ Powerboat Challenge.
With help from engineers from the Gosport company, the students, from Bay House School, Brune Park Community School and Henry Cort Community College, designed and built the powerboats from scratch. The boats were then tested at QinetiQ’s ocean basin facility in a manoeuvring race and a drag race.
Student Reece Brown, from Bay House School, in Gosport, also took part last year.
The 15-year-old said: ‘I really enjoy engineering because it is hands-on and being able to compete with others schools makes it fun, too.
‘Last year our boat sank because of a faulty wire, so this year it’s good that we won our first race.
‘It is an important day because you are working with a big company and it has got me really engaged with engineering.’
Year 9 pupil Eleanor Brett, 14, from Brune Park Community School added: ‘I like science and design and technology so the event offered me a mixture of both. It was a really fun day and you get to do a lot while you are here.’
The Powerboat Challenge has been going for six years and the boats are judged by people from QinetiQ and the Royal Navy.
Commander Steve Prest, the Royal Navy’s Fleet Robotics Officer from Whale Island, in Portsmouth, said he was impressed with the engineering of the boats.
The challenge is great for the students because they can see their design go from a drawing on a piece of paper to an actual boat they have built.Becky Thomas - project engineer at QinetiQ
‘There has been some good engineering and lots of enthusiasm,’ he said.
‘There were a lot of innovative designs.’
Cdr Prest added that the project was important to getting more young people interested in engineering.
He said: ‘Events like this are really important for the future of engineering.
‘It is really important to get young people interested in wanting to be in engineering.’
Becky Thomas, organiser of the event and project engineer for QinetiQ agreed.
The 24-year-old said: ‘The challenge is great for the students because they can see their design go from a drawing on a piece of paper to an actual boat they have built.
‘It is good they have the chance to learn that engineering isn’t just about fixing cars.’
Henry Cort School, in Fareham, came second overall. Carisbrooke College, on the Isle of Wight, came first.