13
July
2015

HYDROCONTEST: DESIGNING TOMORROW'S BOATS

The starting horn has sounded on the second HYDROCONTEST. The 16 international teams of future engineers are set to enter the final phase of this globally unique competition with boat prototypes they have spent months designing. Their innovative, high-performance and ever more efficient hydrofoils have converged on the competition village at Pyramides de Vidy, Lausanne for the week-long event culminating on 19 July. 

The teams from 16 major engineering schools hailing from all corners of the globe arrived in Switzerland last weekend to spend a week beside and on Lake Geneva taking part in HYDROCONTEST 2015. In their luggage? Small-scale boat prototypes they designed and constructed themselves in an attempt to imagine tomorrow's boats, which will need to transport greater volumes, for longer periods, while consuming as little energy as possible. The prototypes will be pitted against each other to determine which is the most efficient under real conditions.

 

During the two-day run-up to the competition set aside for technical inspections, the HYDROCONTEST panel of experts checked that each boat complied with the event's regulations.  The teams are currently making the final adjustments necessary to obtain approval and ensure the boats are ready to enter the heats. The latter, which will take the form of time trials, will determine the eight teams which will go through to the next rounds of the competition, leading up to the final and prize-giving ceremony on Sunday.  

 

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Having looked over all the prototypes, the experts committee judge that a few nice innovations have been brought by the teams, some of them being a real interest in terms of applicability to the industry. For example, among the teams who have opted for a quasi-submersible boat in the "Mass transport" category, one of them chose to implement a lift system for the mass. As such, it makes more realizable to scale 1 the loading of containers and the access to harbours with less depth than open sea. "It is an authentic and exclusive improvement presented at HYDROCONTEST 2015. It will not change much to the performance of the boat during the race, but it matches the reality of the merchant navy and the calling of the challenge to push the teams to innovate to optimize what already exists", the experts say.

 

From tomorrow, visitors will be able to follow the race from the shore in the HYDROCONTEST village, which was built for the occasion on the Pyramides de Vidy site. When there are no races in progress, visitors will also have the opportunity to access the paddocks where the teams prepare their boats and to steer remote-controlled model hydrofoils in a dedicated pond. Additionally, they can tour an exhibition on the history of foils, the underwater wings that allow these boats to "fly". This year, for the first time, every day will be brought to a close with a "tech talk" in which the teams will present their projects. The village and all its pavilions are open to the public.

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