Blogpost #1 2022 - Audace sailing TEAM

Audace Sailing Team is a university project backed by the Department of Engineering and Architecture of the University of Trieste (Italy), with the goal of designing and building racing sailboats. 

Dreaming of a “greener” boating world, we aim to study and experiment cutting-edge technologies that effectively combine performance and sustainability. Student-centered competitions – such as the 1001VelaCup and the SuMoth Challenge – fuel our creativity, push us to continuously innovate and provide us with the right motivation to stand out in international sailing circuits. The distinctive features of our project are the support of one of Italy’s top programs for naval design and engineering, as well as the profound marine know-how that characterizes the city and the region we are based in.

OUR TEAM – The idea first occurred to a group of Engineering students (Naval and Material Eng.) who were eager to get involved and face the challenge of bringing their own designs to life. While remaining strongly focused on our field of study – which ranges from the theory needed during the design process to the practical applications necessary for production – we also quickly opened our doors to other distant, but equally fundamental areas of expertise. We decided to do our best to replicate the organization of a professional sports team, which is why there is a strong administrative component to our team: there are specific people who deal with resource management, others who are responsible for our budget, then there are those who worry about the communication side, those responsible for our marketing campaign, and so on. In addition to that, of course, we have a big crew of skilled sailors.

Altogether, our team is made up of more than 70 students and has continued to grow since the beginning of the project in 2019. Thanks to our shared passion for sailing, we have students coming from almost all the different degree courses that the University of Trieste offers, which has led to the development of a dynamic and creative working environment that is receptive to a multitude of different points of view.

We have organised our work in 6 main areas:

DESIGN From the first sketch all the way to the splash, design work includes the design of the hull and the structures, fluid dynamics and stability analysis, as well as the design of the production and the related processes.

MATERIALS Our materials group is fully dedicated to the analysis and functionalization of the composites materials we use in our builds.

SHIPYARD If you want to get your hands dirty, you’re in the right place! At our Eco Sailing Lab (university laboratory) we bring our designs to life. Here the dedication of every student, and not just of our aspiring engineers, truly comes into play.

ADMINISTRATION AND MARKETING We are learning about what goes into successfully managing a sports team on a financial level: managing the relationship with our sponsors and supporters as well as keeping accounts and managing purchases from our vendors with the help of university staff. Our Marketing team works closely with our Communications Team towards the common goal of promoting our work and securing the support of our partners.

COMMUNICATION and SOCIAL MEDIA Because of our love for what we do, we want to share it with the widest audience possible, beyond the confines of the academic world: we promote our project through our website and on social media, but also by showing up to scientific expos, innovation fairs and boat shows. It is our goal to involve the wider sailing community, especially the next generation of sailors, and to bring innovation to local businesses.

CREW After leaving the shipyard, our boats need someone to guide them to victory! Besides, our crew also plays an active role before the regattas by giving important feedback. This feedback is then taken into consideration during the design and building process as well as during the development of the rig and sails for our boats.

The leaders of each area of expertise then form the coordinative group: its job is to give directions to the various teams, in close cooperation with the professors of the department of Naval Engineering and in particular with our Academic Advisor, Professor Rodolfo Taccani.

Finally, we always keep in mind that, in addition to being a working team, “we are still uni kids after all”: we like to work in a friendly environment, where everyone is free to express their opinions and where we all feel at ease, help each other out, have fun and feel at home. 

WHY SUMOTH? After a two-year experience designing and building 49er-like skiffs for the 1001Vela Cup competition, we simply view the SuMoth Challenge as the next step. We are fascinated by the technological complexity that hides in a boat as small as the Moth and, after the extraordinary show of excellence displayed by Luna Rossa at the 36th Americas Cup, we can no longer stay away from the magic of the foiling. We’re ready to take on this challenge!

OUR PATH TOWARDS THE SUMOTH CHALLENGE – Previous experience with the 1001VELACUP – Academic Year 2019-2020

Despite the pandemic and thanks to the support of the University of Trieste and of our private sponsors, we were able to build our first boat: Dedalo, a wooden skiff that was first shown to the public during Barcolana52 – the world-famous sailing event held in Trieste.


Dedalo is our first boat, which recently took to the sea for the first time and was designed and built entirely by the Audace Sailing Team.” 

Hull design, a new approach The core of our project lies in experimenting with innovative solutions, not only when it comes to the choice of materials but also regarding the design techniques we use. To design the hull shape, we used ModeFRONTIER ®, an integrated optimization software that was developed by Esteco and adopted by world class teams like Luna Rossa and American Magic in preparation for the 36th America’s Cup!


After the first pandemic wave, in the summer of 2020, we finally managed to bring to life what up until then had only existed on the drawing board. Thanks to the commitment of our staff, most of the process took place in-house, in our Eco Sailing Laboratory.  

Nevertheless, money remained an issue. Luckily, our idea seemed to peak the interest of many people and businesses around us. Some of them decided to believe in us and became supporters – and we can’t thank them enough! Amongst them, Amada – the leader in sheet metal processing and a big promoter of innovation – in addition to a number of local businesses that are involved in the nautical world, like Eurosail, our trustworthy sailmakers. You can learn more about all of our supporters by visiting our website (click here). 

Academic Year 2020-2021 

In 2021 Lina was born, a composite skiff built out of flax fiber and a bio-based epoxy resin: one of the few existing boats made with this innovative composite material! 

Design – This linen composite was combined in a sandwich structure with recyclable polymer foam as core material. The compound was validated through FEA analysis by our students. 

Construction – We first made a female mold using Dedalo as a plug and then used that mold to make the new boat using the technique of vacuum infusion.  

 The competition, finally – Both boats competed in the 14th edition of the 1001VelaCup, an international competition which sees university teams challenging each other on board of sustainable concept boats, designed and built entirely by students. The regatta was held from the 24th-26th of September 2021 in Mondello (Pa), Italy. 

 “Audace Sailing Team is pleased to announce the victory at the 1001 VELA CUP!!!” Dedalo, our first boat, dominated the race course, mainly thanks to its balanced hull lines and its experienced crew. In short: our wooden skiff won the competition, crossing the finish line in first position six times out of nine races, while Lina gained fifth place – out of 12 competitors – showing great potential, especially in stronger winds. 

OUR GOALS FOR 2022 We believe we are ready to enter the foiling world! We are looking for sponsors to support the project and will make use of the knowledge gained in the field of composite materials. Besides, we will get in touch with Moth sailors, builders and designers, to better define the framework of our project.

SUMOTH AND MORE But don’t worry! We’re not thinking about leaving 1001VelaCup and its skiffs, on the contrary: we still have lots of ideas we want to try out! The creation of a third hull will mark the completion of the project started with Dedalo in 2020. We will be able to put the knowledge gained during the build of Lina towards the design of our new composite skiff, and we are confident that this will result in an even lighter and better performing hull, with a new rig and an optimized sail plan. 

Moreover, for the next 1001VelaCup we will be playing a home game, since it will be held in Monfalcone, which is only a few miles down the coast from our university.  The competition will be part of the Sustainability Week, a festival dedicated to sustainable sailing, organized by NLComp, a young and super innovative start up in the field of recyclable sailing boats, in collaboration with Yacht club Hannibal and with the patronage of University of Trieste. An opportunity not to be missed and which we will take advantage of with a fleet of 3 skiffs and a moth. The 1001VelaCup in Monfalcone will take place from the 22 th-25th of September 2022In order to accomplish both, we have decided to split our team into two operational groups, which will work closely together to take the best of both experiences and create two high-performing boats in their respective categories. The roadmap for our first moth is to finish the design stage, in order to start the construction phase between April and May of this year and have the boat ready for the Foiling Week scheduled at the end of June.

To stay updated on the latest news from the competition and the teams, make sure to follow us on our social media channels!