IT IS a challenge which began more than 40 years ago, and takes the utmost engineering and design skills.
But as dozens of yachts went racing across the water, there could be only one winner – France.
Students from Southampton Solent University took part in the annual model boat race on Gosport Boating Lake.
The race was not without its dramas, and a few of the yachts sank, but it was great fun.
Yacht and engineering students have been battling it out on the lake in the end-of-term competition for four decades now.
This year’s winner was first year student Timothee Villain-Amirat, from France.
His model was inspired by the last generation of mono-hull America’s Cup class yachts.
Second place went to Filippo Gori, from Italy, with Ben Slater, from Ringwood, coming third. Ben was also named the inaugural winner of the Concours d’Elegance’ – a new award for the best model, voted for by the students.
This year, 33 first-year students competed for the coveted first prize trophy, under the scrutiny of their lecturers.
Jonathan Ridley, head of engineering at the university, said: ‘This year’s race saw a close contest in blustery conditions.
‘At model scale, the relatively large waves and very strong wind resulted in a few boats having difficulties, and a couple sinking, but overall the models sailed very well in both the upwind and downwind races – resulting in some close photo-finishes in some heats.’
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 per cent 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.