Blogpost #1 2022 - Polimi sailing TEAM

It goes without saying that we are overly excited to be competing in the SuMoth Challenge for the third year in a row. Since last July, the team has been constantly growing and we are more than thrilled to be in Malcesine next summer amongst some of the best engineers in the sailing field coming from all over the world. The competition seems tight and we love it!

We put so much effort into organizing an efficient and structured recruiting in September and our hard work finally paid off! We can now count on 80 people coming from the most diverse academic paths and the atmosphere is just great. We have been focusing mainly on improving and developing our social media and communication in order to make ourselves known from other PoliMi students while at the same time trying to catch the aeronautical industry’s attention to form new relationships. We also participated in a couple of events where we had the chance to meet a lot of people who immediately submitted their applications to enter the team. We received plenty of requests and our department heads spent pretty busy weeks managing a significant amount of emails every day. Their phones could not just stop ringing. In order to enlarge the team with the most experienced and passionate candidates, we decided to ask them to submit their curriculum vitae as well as a motivational letter. Lastly, it took us a week to interview each applicant. It has certainly been a challenging start to the year, but in the end we came out with a great team.

How do we usually organize work between our departments? Well, the logistics area is responsible for coordination inside and outside the team: besides supporting communication among technical areas, it keeps in touch with our sponsors, suppliers, and it handles our social media as well. Among others, we focused on improving our Instagram profile, specifically working on its graphic trying to make it captivating—we can proudly say that it is starting to look better. We aim to keep working in this direction and we have already set the goal to improve our engagement in implementing page features and showing our followers the beautiful and exciting story of our ride towards the SuMoth in June. We also decided to open a new LinkedIn profile which allows us to interact with the official university channels and with our sponsors. We keep things a bit more serious there and write posts about the most interesting technical profiles each department is working on. In saying that, it must be mentioned how much we believe in exchanging information with each other and making the team grow as a whole. We have people from 18 to 24 years old and we really want everybody to learn and take home the best they possibly can from joining our group. We have been pursuing this goal by organizing some webinars held by the more experienced members, who gave everybody cues and new ideas. Some of the most interesting ones were held by the Materials department.

We have ambitious goals for the season and our first step was to give our youngest some useful information they don’t have the chance to learn in the first years of studies. By now everybody is ready and entitled to work on finding the best materials we can use for our Moth. Combining sustainability and strength is a challenge and we are tirelessly working on it. We aim to build a 100% sustainable hull by using natural fibers and resin, as well as a non-carbon set of foils. Moreover, some department members are developing the most detailed and rounded Life Cycle Assessment of the Moth which we believe can give an in-depth insight into our work. Materials is closely working with the Structures department especially on finding a way to reduce the amount of carbon fiber used. We believe there must be an alternative and we are trying to find it! Structures develops the geometry and the CAD of the boat. We learned through the years how much time goes into projecting a Moth from zero to one-hundred percent and this year we decided to have some members of the department already working on the next year’s Moth project. In this way, we will be able to kick off next September with some ideas on the table.

One department we are particularly proud of is with no doubt the Sensors department. We have been working on a system of anemometers and GPS and the next step is to develop a convenient and efficient way to analyze and integrate the data coming from it. Also, the ultimate challenge is to optimize an automatic adjustment system of the flap, which would make the Moth perform better. In doing this, Sensors and Performances are exchanging ideas to come up with a valid solution. Also, the Performance department focuses on the aerodynamics of the boat, especially on the foils and on the sail. The members of this group are developing the VPP from last year, adding more degrees of freedom to better catch the dynamic of the boat. In addition they introduced CFD analysis with the aim of understanding the behavior of the appendices between the air and the water.

By now we are especially busy building the hull. We needed to make multiple attempts since the material we used at first for the mould seemed not to be working and we were forced to find an alternative. We are counting the days until the hull is ready and we can start to assemble everything else. Meanwhile, we are testing materials and sensors in the laboratory in order to have a clear idea of the following steps right after the hull is completed. We count on finishing the Moth production by the end of April to have some time to practice in the water and improve every aspect of the Moth. We can’t wait to be in the water this spring!

The ongoing world situation certainly did not help in allowing the hull production and the laboratory tests. Covid offered us a great challenge since everything nowadays is so slow. It took us months to finally have the chance to work on the tests since the labs were not open for students and even more time for starting the production of the hull. We embraced the chaos and focused on the things we could control. We did weekly online meetings trying to define everything we could and setting monthly milestones we wanted to achieve. We can now say that time wasn’t wasted since we can count on a precise schedule for the upcoming months. Malcesine feels closer than ever!

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