Rocking the Boat
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Crescent Collegiate emerged as the winner at this weekend's Marine Institute's first ever Model Boat Race competition. Teams from the Eastern School District answered the challenge issued by the institute's naval architecture and marine engineering systems design programs earlier this year to design, build and race their own customized model boats through an obstacle course in the institute's flume tank.

Each team was provided the same propulsion system but had to come up with their own original vessel hull and rudder.  Teams were also required to provide calculation sheets, a design booklet and a poster board display, introducing their team and explaining their vessel design.

"Each team came with a different approach to the competition which made for some very interesting hull designs," said Ken Baker, chair of the Institute's naval architecture program. "We had no idea what to expect but we were overwhelmed by the students' ingenuity and enthusiasm for ship design and operation."

While Crescent Collegiate clocked the fastest time on the course at 26 seconds, Bishops College claimed the award for the most innovative design using recycled materials to construct their hull. Best poster and design booklet went to Ascension Collegiate. Roncalli Central High took the smooth sailing award for having the most technical sound vessel while Queen Elizabeth Regional High School demonstrated the best team spirit at the competition.

Baker hopes students not only take away an enjoyable experience at the institute but also seriously look at ship design and construction as a potential career. "Our province produces some of the country's best talent in ship design and companies are actively recruiting Marine Institute students. Every student in our graduating class this year has a job waiting for them.  We think this competition will create a greater awareness of the opportunities in this field and get high school students to think about this career as their future," said Baker.

"Canada is entering a new era in shipbuilding with almost $30 billion going towards designing and building 30 ships over the next 30 years," said Glenn Blackwood, vice-president, Memorial University (Marine Institute). "It's a time when ship designers can have a career working for a lifetime on these contracts alone. This is a prime opportunity to introduce high school students to careers in naval architecture and marine engineering systems design through this competition."

Baker hopes to make the competition an annual event. "The students are telling us they can't wait to come back next year.  I think we have a great foundation on which to build and we are hoping to welcome even more teams from across the province."

This year's model boat race was supported by the Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development.