Starting small: students test their designs in annual model yacht race

Pierre-Antoine Tesson from France has won this year's model yacht race - an annual event that began more than 40 years ago as a bit of end of term fun - for Southampton Solent University yacht engineering students.

It was a close fought race, but the first-year BEng (Hons) Yacht and Powercraft Design student had already scored highly for his design and build. Marin Lauber from Switzerland came second and Aladin Montel, also from France, took third place.

Giles Barkley, Programme Group Leader of the yacht engineering courses says, “Congratulations to Pierre-Antoine on a very well deserved win. All three boats were excellent, beautifully designed and built. The sun was out, conditions were good and we didn’t finish until the early evening."

This year, 30 first-year student yacht designers competed for the coveted title on warm and sunny Friday 5 June at Gosport Boating Lake, under the scrutiny of their lecturers.

The annual race now forms part of the first-year unit assessment for students on Solent’s BEng (Hons) Yacht and Powercraft Design and BEng (Hons) Yacht Design and Production degree courses.

The students spent 100 hours designing and building the vessels to conform to the yacht design rules, with 85% of the unit mark awarded on their computer aided design, and the build quality of their models. They then race them upwind and downwind to pass their design unit. The last 15% of their mark is awarded on how their yacht performs on race day. Previously successful winners of this annual race are now responsible for designs of Open 60 race yachts and Ben Ainslie Racing’s Americas Cup campaign.

This year the University is celebrating 25 years of Yacht Engineering degrees at Southampton Solent.  With a reputation for leading the world in maritime education and technology, Solent continues to produce graduates who shape the world of sailing, including: Jason Ker, who is currently working on Sir Ben Ainslie’s GB America’s Cup bid; Guillame Verdier, who designed the yachts that came both first and second at 2012 Vendee Globe; and leading UK designer, leading UK yacht designer, Ed Dubois. On the sailing-side world-class alumni include: Helena Lucas, who won Great Britain’s first ever sailing gold at the 2012 Paralympics; Paul Goodison who took gold at the 2008 Olympics; and Herve Piveteau, who sailed to victory in the Production Boat Class at the Mini Transat 2008.

For more information about the yacht engineering courses visit


About Southampton Solent University 

Southampton Solent University offers more than 19,000 students over 200 qualifications ranging from HND to PhD, in subjects such as maritime education and training, fashion and design, media and television, music, health, sport and leisure, business, IT and technology. The University was awarded the 2013 Quality Assurance kitemark for quality and standards of teaching and learning. Solent was voted one of the most creative universities in the UK in a Which? University 2014 poll of students. Solent Business School has been awarded the Small Business Charter Award, which is supported by the Association of Business Schools and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and ‘gold approval’ by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).


About Us

Home to around 11,000 students studying everything from HNDs to PhDs, Southampton Solent University is dedicated to enabling learners of all backgrounds to become enterprising citizens and responsible leaders, while also promoting economic and social prosperity. Winner of the Times Higher Education ‘Most Improved Student Experience’ Award 2015, Solent is a dynamic university with strong local links and a growing network of global connections – and a reputation for developing grounded, well-prepared graduates with the skills and experience employers want. Holder of the small business charter, home to one of the world’s leading maritime training academies and voted one of the UK’s most creative universities in the 2013 and 2014 Which? University student polls, Solent applies passion and innovative practice to all its courses. Spanning business and law, the creative industries, engineering and technology, maritime, media, sport and tourism, those courses deliver a practical blend of career-focused tuition and real-world experience – giving our students the tools they need to shape their own success.



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Congratulations to Pierre-Antoine on a very well deserved win. All three boats were excellent, beautifully designed and built. The sun was out, conditions were good and we didn’t finish until the early evening
Giles Barkley, programme group leader of yacht engineering courses