Tech Talk: students' insights and experience (Day 1)
Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Tech Talk: students' insights and experience (Day 1)


Every evening, races are followed by Tech Talks during which students share, oppose and compare their innovative ideas. While the lightweight category qualifications are in full swing, meeting with 4 teams of this second HYDROCONTEST: Polytechnique (France), ENSTA Bretagne & ENSA Paris La Villette (France), Swinburne University of Technology (Malaysia) and Haute Ecole d'Ingenierie et d'Architecture in Fribourg (Switzerland).

Polytechnique sends for the first time a team to the HYDROCONTEST, as part of a group project that gives these fans of the naval world the opportunity to put theory into practise. While the team was not short of knowledge in mechanics and modalism engineering, it reached a milestone in design the day its members met a naval architect. Thanks to the material support of the sponsors, two boats could see the day; one in jute fibre and one in carbon. Despite a few issues regarding structures stability, the team has conceived simple but effective boats, which have a rightful place in the competition and which will hopefully make it through the qualifications. Even if the trip from Paris to Lausanne took the team members more than 11 hours due to a missing customs agent at the French border, some of them already consider coming back in 2016.


ENSTA Bretagne and ENSA Paris-La Villette have joined forces for the second time and brought together a team to take part in the HYDROCONTEST, an exciting project that allows students to put everything they have learned into practise. Relying on their predecessors’ experience, they turned the 2014 multihull into a lighter, optimised single-hull to race in the “Light Transport” category in 2015, hopefully with a foil. In the “Mass Transport” category, the team decided to create a second boat using numerous hydrodynamic calculations in order to reduce the resistance as much as possible.

Naval structure & architecture, design, hydrodynamics, robotics & electronics: the team does not lack any competencies thanks to the partnership between both schools. The real difficulty mainly consisted in conciliating both the project and the team’s studies and internships. And for a long period of time, another important and hard-to-solve problem was to decide which colour to paint the hulls: hot pink, mustard yellow or apple green to match the glittery orange foil?




Thanks to their professor who received an email from the HYDROCONTEST organisation team, these best friends from Swinburne University decided to learn everything from scratch about boats and to take their chance in the 2015 edition of the competition. For sure, designing a boat is very different from designing cars or software, but if they were able to do these things, why not take on a new challenge? With only one boat designed for both categories due to financial and logistical constraints, the team will aim at passing one of the qualifications and hopes to be able to come back in 2016 with an improved prototype. This would be a great reward after a long trip from Malaysia and some stress during the stop over in Paris, where they had a backpack stolen and « won » a ride in a police car through the French capital with the sirens on!




As HYDROCONTEST “old-timers” who coached a 1st team in 2014, a few HEIA professors brought the Swiss team of Fribourg together to compete in 2015. As part of a bachelor’s degree project on hydrodynamics engineering, 9 students in mechanical and electronics engineering have been working since last September on 2 prototypes to enter the challenge. Taking advantage of the 2014 team’s legacy, the team initially decided to reuse the same boats and optimise them. It worked with the heavyweight prototype, which required most of the works on its rudder. However, optimising the lightweight boat did not look as promising and an important change of plan happened only 7 weeks before the HYDROCONTEST.  Thanks to several months of reflection, trials on Lac de la Gruyère and on-the-job learning about naval architecture, a topic that was unknown to them before, the team managed to design and build a whole new prototype from scratch. An impressive achievement that allowed them to pass the qualifications easily on the day 1: was it the beginner’s luck that made the boat fly right from its 1st lap with foils that the team had never tested before, or will HEIA-FR really make it to the finals?