Subsea Expo

Access. Connect. Grow.

Bath Students’ Success at First European Submarine Races

19 July 2012

Students from the University of Bath came third representing Britain at the first European International Submarine Races held in Gosport last week.

An enthusiastic team of eight students designed, built and piloted their human-powered submarine ‘Minerva’ in the inaugural event, competing against teams from the USA and Canada.

The team came third overall, only beaten by world leaders, the École de Technologie Supérieure from Canada, and the University of Florida, USA.

The one-man submarines were designed and built by the competing students at their universities, and when racing were flooded with the pilot – face down in the prone position – providing the power by pedalling while wearing SCUBA gear.

During the competition, a new human powered submarine world speed record was set. École de Technologie Supérieure, from Montréal, Québec, set a record when their submarine Omer 8 travelled at 7.03kts over a measured 13m section of the course.

This record has been confirmed by the International Submarine Races to have beaten the previous world record set at the long-running American races in 2011.

The inaugural European International Submarine Race was "a dream come true” for Race Director, Dr William Megill, FIMarEST, Director of the Ocean Technologies Laboratory in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bath, who has taken teams to the US races on three occasions. .

Dr Megill said: "Our students from Bath worked very hard and have demonstrated that they can hold their own on an international stage - lined up against the world’s best.

"They won the prize for best presentation, which recognised the high quality of their communication throughout the week, in written, poster, and oral presentations, both formal and informal.

"We can be proud of our students' skills as high quality engineers.”

The students relished every moment of the competition, which saw some team members piloting their submarine for the first time ever.

"We’re very pleased with what we have achieved,” says team spokesperson, Jenny Blowers, 23, who piloted the craft during an agility test which demanded that competitors attempt two circuits the size of a football pitch.

Other features of the races were a day of underwater technology Master Classes, at which Professor David Lane of Heriot-Watt University was the keynote speaker; a Graduate Fair, and networking opportunities at the Submarine Museum and the Diving Museum.

Jenny added: ‘It’s been a great opportunity to use engineering in a practical way, to apply it in a way that’s real.

‘It’s a huge challenge, and doing anything underwater makes the engineering 10 times more difficult.’

The official results

Overall results (in the order in which they were awarded at the Awards Dinner):

● Presentation Award – Minerva - University of Bath

● Speed – Omer 8 - École de Technologie Supérieure, Montréal, Québec

● Agility (sponsored by James Fisher Defence) – Talon 1 - Florida Atlantic University

● Innovation (sponsored by BMT) – Wolverine the Submarine - University of Michigan

● Overall Runner-Up – Talon 1 - Florida Atlantic University

● Overall Winner – Omer 8 - École de Technologie Superiéure, Montréal, Québec

● Judges Prize – Maroon Harpoon - Texas A&M University

● And, the QinetiQ Prize Oscar – Archimede V - École Polytechniqiue de Montréal

Further information about the European International Submarine Races is available at