The University of Victoria Submarine Racing Club is preparing for their upcoming competition in Washington DC. The International Submarine Races will span several days, beginning on June 23 and concluding June 28.
This will be the UVic club’s second competition — they attended the European International Submarine Race in England last year and placed fourth overall despite being a brand new team. Teams from around the world have the opportunity to compete each year because the competitions alternate annually.
The UVic club tested their submarine on June 9 at UVic’s McKinnon Pool. This was the last test before the competition, so it was important to make sure all systems were functioning as desired. Club president Jaryd Middleton pilots the submarine and says the club is looking forward to the competition, seeing how their submarine compares and, of course, checking out the other universities’ designs.
The UVic club is comprised of students from all faculties. Eight club members will be flying down to Maryland for the competition, says Middleton, a third-year mechanical engineering student. He is the only one who has already attended a competition.
They will meet their submarine there as it was sent to Maryland with the University of British Columbia’s team because they were driving.
“They’ve helped the UVic team a lot,” says Middleton.
Shipping the submarines to the competitions is difficult because they take place on military bases and there are several regulations that must be met for a submarine to be dropped off.
The UVic team is only two years old, Middleton explains. Most of the other teams are five to 10 years old.
The submarines that the students make are not traditional.
“It’s like an underwater bike,” says Middleton.
Each competition has a different focus. Last year was all about manoeuvrability, says Middleton.
“We learned a ton about how to improve our submarine, and that gave us a good direction to work in when optimizing the submarine for this year’s competition.”
This year is all about speed.
“It’s essentially a drag race,” he says.
As a team, they worked to improve their top speed by reducing the drag and increasing the efficiency and the power coming from the pilot. Some of the alterations they’ve made include removing the nozzle and redesigning the steering system.
“No matter how the competition goes, this has been an incredible learning experience and a chance to work with some amazing people,” says Middleton.
This club provides students with marine systems engineering experience which will help them in their careers, he says.