German team scoop pool in human sub races

German team
The winning team from Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences (IMarEST)

After two weeks of fierce underwater competition Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences in Germany has emerged as overall winner of the 10th European International Submarine Races (eISR), held in the UK. The USA’s University of Michigan was runner-up.

The “human-powered submarine” event was fought out in Europe’s largest freshwater tank, QinetiQ’s Ocean Basin, at Haslar Marine Technology Park, Gosport in Hampshire, as reported on Divernet earlier this month.

Organised by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) and hosted by defence and security company QinetiQ, the races take place every other year. The latest saw home teams of students from Southampton and Warwick universities taking on universities from the USA, Canada, Germany and Taiwan under water.

Human sub
The University of Michigan team in action (IMarEST)

The École de Technologie Supérieure from Montreal won the BMT Award for Innovation, and Rhein-Waal doubled their trophy tally by taking away the UKNEST Agility Award.

Teams had to design, build and then race their pedal-propelled underwater vehicles through a challenging underwater slalom course. They were expected to demonstrate creativity and document their work, with points awarded for speed, manoeuvrability, reliability, endurance, perseverance – and ability to rise to unexpected challenges in the underwater environment.

Ocean of tomorrow

“When the IMarEST and QinetiQ created the eISR, the goal was to provide university students with an opportunity to apply their classroom knowledge to the design and actual production of real underwater machines,” said IMarEST Race Director William Megill. 

“The practical experience they obtain in their preparation, the teamwork they demonstrate at the competition, and the reflection of their successes (and failures) afterwards, uniquely prepare them for exciting careers in the maritime sector. 

“The proof is in the pudding: of the approximately 1,500 students who have taken part in the submarine races over the past 10 years, many are now in positions of significant responsibility at marine engineering companies in the UK and worldwide.

“As we head into the second decade of the eISR, we look forward to working with young minds to solve the challenge of getting around in the ocean of tomorrow.”

“The buzz around the teams has been amazing,” said QinetiQ submarine business manager Andy Dinsdale. “The event replicates many of the challenges of designing and testing a ‘real submarine’ and aligns very closely to QinetiQ’s activities delivering underwater test and evaluation (T&E), so is a great event for us to host. We need to make sure that the event continues to inspire the next generation of submarine designers and builders.  

“If what we’ve seen over the past two weeks is an indication of future capabilities, then our future should be in safe hands! We look forward to seeing the event back in the UK in two years’ time.”

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