Sea Technology

SEP 2017

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 19 of 68 September 2017 / st 19 I t was a bright Sunday morning as 21 teams of submarine racers gath- ered at the David Taylor Model Basin at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Car- derock Division, in Bethesda, Mary- land. The teams comprised more than 365 college, high-school and middle-school students from around the world who shared a common goal for the week: to demonstrate that the thousands of hours of hard work, numerous calculations, mod- eling and simulations and tests had yielded a human-powered submarine that would successfully complete the 100-m course in the model basin. Some were apprehensive, some were eager, some didn't really know what to feel—but they all shared that one passion that had brought them to- gether this week: to design, build and race a human-powered submarine. Although few realized it at the time, they were joining an exclusive club—a club whose mem- bership would break the 3,000 number with this year's 14th International Submarine Races (ISR 14), which took place June 25 to 30, 2017. Background The idea for a submarine race was born by a small group of enthusiasts from Florida Atlantic University Department of Ocean Engineering and the H.A. Perry Foundation. The initial race in 1989 with 19 teams off the coast of Florida was a success. All parties learned just how complicated sub- marine design and racing could be. The subsequent event, held two years later to allow for new submarine develop- ment, saw 36 teams from as far away as Germany. With that race, the tradition of a biennial competition of racing submarines began. Minor growing pains and acknowledg- ing the inability to control the weather contributed to the decision to move the event to the David Taylor Model Basin in 1995, a venue that was well-suited for the race. The 2017 race was the 11th consecutive race held at the David Taylor Model Basin, and by all measures it was a success. Sponsored by the Foundation for Underwater Research and Education (FURE), the International Submarine Races have seen changes over the years. What remains constant is the desire to provide students of all ages the premier capstone science, tech- nical, engineering and math (STEM) event. Students bring together what they have learned in the classroom, experimented with in the laboratory, and may have even simulated with modern programming tools, to the real-world environment of a sub- merged submarine where everything does not always go by the calcula- tions and theoretical learning. The event shows students that, in real life, equipment fails, the plan quickly goes astray and a new way forward is needed, and sometimes that "gotcha" moment is a complete surprise. That is the environment that these races provide for our future engineers, scientists and business stu- dents not only in which to learn but, more importantly, to grow and succeed. Chris Land, the faculty advisor of the team from Sussex County Technical School, summed up the learning experience by saying, "You can see the light come on during the week, and you know the kids got it." As important as the achievements of each team during the race week are, another significant experience is gained as participants walk among the tents and trailers outside the basin and ask other teams about their designs and experi- ences. The week provides a chance for like minds to discuss their designs and experiences with others who share their passion. Questions starting with the words "why" and "how" are plentiful, and everyone is more than willing to share their successes and failures. As the race week progresses, International Submarine Races ST Event Review OMER X from École de Technologie Supérieure prepares to enter the basin. (Photo Credit: Devin Pisner/U.S. Navy)

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Sea Technology - SEP 2017