Blogpost #1 2022 - Iridium Sumoth team


Team Presentation

Solent University is entering the Foiling Week SuMoth Challenge as an all new entry. In 2020 the university was represented by a team but due to Covid implications the project could not continue. In December 2021 a new team formed and this creates the new team representing Solent University. The team is made up of ten members as well as the lecture manager. The members of the team all study Yacht Design at Solent and are in different years of study, with three people doing Masters and one person doing the foundation year as well as people in the years between. The average age in the team is twenty-four, gender is mixed and there are many different nationalities and skill sets represented.

The team is broken down into sub-teams to suit people’s skill sets, however in practice we all pitch in to maintain both a solid team dynamic, as well as bouncing ideas about and problem solving. Having a close relationship between the design and build team is crucial so that we can be most efficient.

  • Andrew Pimm, Ben Ciccotti, Hbeich Hbeich and James Tomlinson are all masters students currently.
  • Hbeich Hbeich has a masters degree in architecture and brings a strong aspect to the team in presenting the designs and renders.
  • Ben Ciccotti and Guilherme Viegas have experience doing infusion in their jobs and are leading the build team.
  • Eliott Savelon is a Waszp sailor who has seen success in the SailGP Inspire and has progressed in the annual Waszp Games. His challenge will be adapting to the moth during S2.
  • Max Kolkmann and Lina Borggrafe are both German and have worked together prior to university in boat/shipyards. They are each doing a dissertation about yachts using materials such as flax fibre. They are living in the same student house as Guilherme Viegas and James Tomlinson. This creates a solid dynamic in the team.

The chosen team name is “Iridium SuMoth”. Whilst representing the university there are areas that clash when using their branding. We have followed the trend of certain other teams to create our own team name and represent our place of study. The name itself “Iridium” is the name of a Moth concept created by James Tomlinson before starting university. Now the SuMoth presents an opportunity to use it in practice. The name is based on the play on words such as the “Exocet Moth” or the “Lithium” or “Rocket”. As an element it is the second most dense naturally occurring metal. This being said, there is not any use for the material on this project. We hope this name is engaging and does not clash with sustainability related issues.


Motivation to compete in the SuMoth Challenge

After the unfortunate outcome of the previous team’s attempt to participate we are keen to reignite the vision that was there and create the project with a new direction to take on the challenge. As a team and as Yacht Design students we are very keen to explore the possibilities of using sustainable materials and processes to see how and where they can be used. We love problem solving and thinking outside the box. To then take these factors forwards into a competition and implement them into a high performance platform drives more hunger for it to work, and work well. For us the SuMoth Challenge is a perfect fit.

We also see opportunities to note our progress and create a report at the end of the process detailing our ideas and observations towards the implementation of using sustainable materials in high performance sailing. Not only this but making it public to share our observations with our partners and local companies to further everyone’s progress in working towards a more sustainable manner in which we work in this industry.


Team Milestones towards the Foiling SuMoth Challenge

The team has currently only been operating for a total of two full months. In this time we feel we have made the necessary progress to make the project happen. Before the project started a large feasibility study was conducted to see if the project was reasonable to take on. As a result of this study, we have been able to progress quicker than if we had just decided to enter without taking onboard our own considerations. But we still have a lot to do in a relatively short period of time – 146 days at the time of writing.

In these two months of operation it has been a busy time making decisions and laying the ground works for the project to launch from. At this time we have just finalised certain aspects that put the project in a good place given the timing of things. Outlined below is our progress at key points:

  • Mould secured and delivered
    • Mould is sourced from a homebuilder, thus giving more life to a mould that was only designed to be used for one boat
    • Mould includes Hull, Deck and Transom
  • Half of materials secured
    • We have a 35m2 roll of Flax Fibre to make the hull, deck, bulkheads and other fittings
    • When needed, a supplier is holding the necessary Gurit Kerdyn Core that will be delivered locally
    • Wood FSC sourced has been secured
    • Bio resin system is available when we need it
  • Team fully assembled and briefed with everyone on the same page
  • Design is outlined, but still not fully finalised (Being a Moth it will never be fully finalised some might say)
  • Production team have defined the build method
  • Three Partners are secured and onboard supporting the project with more in talks
  • Blog One has been completed
  • Progress towards the S1 report

As Team Captain, James Tomlinson set out a brief for what type of Moth we are aiming for. We are very keen to do well in the competition; both in innovative design and racing on the water. For this to be possible, the design needs to be modern and competitive. Creating such a Moth whilst using sustainable materials and methods creates a real challenge – which we are thriving on. Of course not everything is plain sailing and we have had to put aside some ideas as they are either too radical to achieve using the materials we can think of or there have been better ideas. “Better” doesn’t necessarily mean faster, it can also determine the aspect to be more reliable. Reliability being an important factor to consider when we do not want things to break for both the sake of budget and waste materials. Outlined below are our main objectives and where applicable the outcomes:

  • The main objective is to have the boat built and ready for the event
    • Steady progress is being made, and with the foundations set we should hope to see the build progress at a fast rate
    • We have had issues securing a workshop to work in and this has halted progress
  • Working together as a team, building on each other’s ideas
    • Ten people in the team is a nice amount, everyone has a chance to voice their ideas or concerns
    • Keeping a close relation between the design and build team has been important from the very start
    • Team building exercises will start as of next week with the whole team going indoor climbing to work both on people to people dynamics and fitness.
  • Securing partners to assist where possible
    • We have been able to secure support from at least two local companies to aid the project
    • We have been unable to secure support from other local companies in areas that are more complicated. Either for reasons of the project being too small or too big in the eyes of the company
  • Funding
    • Funding is a major objective to secure since we will not be receiving support from the university. And whilst our amazing partners are helping us, we are not asking these partners for cash investment. At this moment the project is privately funded by the team which is a delicate balance
    • We have set up a crowdfunding page with the aim to raise £4,500 to secure the security of the project. The budget here is broken down as:
      • Building Materials £500
      • Components for fit out £1500
      • Event week and logistics £2500
        • It is worth highlighting the event logistic costs feel as though they will be the areas requiring most cost. Assistance or guidance here would be appreciated
    • View towards S2 Stage
      • All action possible is being taken so that we can initiate the building stage of our project, although we are not there yet
      • We have sourced a local person who can measure the boat
      • Our performance testing will take place at Netley Sailing Club
      • The timeline follows production for February, March, April and into May. With a view to being on the water testing in late May / early June
      • Vlog and media resources are in place to capture the stages of the project as they happen
    • View towards S3 Stage
      • The overwhelming factor to plan for in S3 is the logistics of transporting the boat to Malcesine, the transportation of the crew and the accommodation during the event
        • We have looked over Airbnb and have an alert for accommodation as a “crew house”, however this is hard to secure when the funds are still not fully defined
        • Transporting the boat we are looking into options to put the boat on a multiple stacking trailer of one of the sailors taking part in the regular Foiling Week. We are also considering driving down ourselves and taking another boat as well to reduce the impact this would cause
      • We will set up a replica of the racing format in Netley as part of the training in S2
      • Considerations are being discussed in the scenario if we need to bring spare parts to Malcesine, this would mean us making spare parts and could impact our SuMoth budget. However historically the moth class points towards spare parts being vital during events, so it is an area that we need to define and understand
  • Winning. We are in this to do so and really hope we can achieve a high performance boat that uses clever innovation to make it an overall com

We hope this brief report delivers a good idea about the project and where it is currently at in time scale. Whilst our progress has been hampered a bit, it has allowed us to spend more time on design decisions and manufacturing observations, meaning when the time comes we should progress efficiently. We will continue to be active on our social media channels. We are extremely excited to be part of the competition and look forward to seeing everyone in person in Malcesine.

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