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Institution gives support to UK Schools Power- boat Challenge


efence and security technology company, QinetiQ,

is again introducing schoolchildren to

ship design by organising the second QinetiQ Schools Powerboat Challenge, supported by The Royal Institution of Naval Architects and the Smallpeice Trust. The event is designed to give pupils

valuable experience in receiving a design brief, solving problems and producing a working model boat that they can then showcase at a regional level. Pupils, aged between 13 and 16, from up to 12 local Gosport schools will work in teams of five to design and build radio-controlled model powerboats and these will then be raced in QinetiQ’s Ocean Basin in Gosport. Each team will receive a pack containing

standard propulsion components and all the design brief information for the team of pupils to get started. Naval Architects from QinetiQ will also be visiting each of

the schools to provide some direction and give support through the build process. Building a model powerboat is not a

simple task. Te pupils will be challenged with balancing criteria such as size, speed, weight and motor cooling – while at the same time making it safe to operate and with a stylish livery. In this sense, the pupils will all become Naval Architects throughout this process. On the day of the race the pupils will have

to present their boats to a team of QinetiQ scientists, engineers and mathematicians and this will add a valuable presentation and learning element to their experience. Pupils are required to compile a log book or presentation of their work to show how they undertook the design and build process. Prizes will be awarded for the fastest

boat and the best engineered design and then the winning teams will be invited back to QinetiQ for a guided tour around

the world-class and historic facilities. Tis will provide a unique insight into ship and submarine design, unseen by the general public, and enable them to put the knowledge they gained from building their model into the context of real business. Te winning teams will be awarded with a year’s Junior Membership to RINA. Tis competition really demonstrates

how science, engineering and mathematics can lead to exciting and diverse careers – particularly in marine engineering and naval architecture. For more information about the competition, please email Chris Fisher at Encouraging tomorrow’s naval architects

is an important objective of the Institution. I would be interested to hear of similar events in other countries, which the Institution might also support.

Chief Executive LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Chinese Junk Watertight Bulkheads

Sir: Amid the folderol dealing with French baguettes and Peruvian scissor dances, UNESCO has declared the watertight bulkheads in Chinese junks an item of “intangible world cultural heritage”. Perhaps one of the first examples of naval architecture being so designated. Now, I must confess that I’m not convinced

that the original bulkheads in Chinese junks were, in fact, intended to be watertight. Two papers - one on Song Dynasty ships, the other on Chinese trading ships - clearly show that these bulkheads had limbering holes at the bottom, allowing water to flow freely. My own guess is that these bulkheads were entirely structural in nature. I do firmly believe, on the other hand, that

Samuel Bentham, Benjamin Franklin and John Schank all proposed watertight bulkheads around the same time (1780s-1800) based upon the Chinese example. Bentham, at least

RINA Affairs January/February 2011

built several barges in Russia on this principle (before he knew of Chinese junks?), as well as ships Arrow and Dart. Dr. Larrie D. Ferreiro

Sir; Further to Dr Ferreiro’s letter, I have an open mind on whether the original bulkheads were intended to be watertight because they were almost certainly fitted for structural stiffness, but I am sure that the advantage of watertightness for protecting cargo was noticed early on. As far as Bentham is concerned he served with the Russians for Potemkin in the Far East and would have been exposed to Chinese river and coastal boat designs, and the belief of his wife in her biography of him was that he learned of the advantages of transverse structural watertight bulkheads at that time. David Chalmers

C W Philbeach - Naval Architect

Sir: A friend owns an antique chest on one side of which appear the following words:

Mr. C. W. Philbeach Naval Architect Chatham

For King and Country G IIII R

I would be grateful for any

biographical information about Mr. Philbeach which your members might have.

Barbara Walsh USA] 7

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