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Dynamic Moth Sailboats Chosen as Student Project for IYRS Composites Program

  • Friday, 25th June 2010
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

Students in the International Yacht Restoration School’s Composites Technology Program, a new nine-month program that begins this September at the school’s Bristol campus, will learn their craft while building a fleet of Moths.

The Moth is a small, high-performance sailboat considered by many to be the fastest, most exhilarating dinghy being sailed today. These diminutive single-handed boats are no longer than 11 feet in length, but their small size belies their power: these fast hydrofoils rise out of the water once underway and have been clocked at 27 knots.

“Students in all of our full-time programs learn their craft while working on real-life building and refit projects,” said Susan Daly, VP, Marketing of IYRS. “The traditional, wooden Beetle Cats restored by students studying boat building and restoration at IYRS fit that program perfectly. The composites program teaches a technology of the future, and we wanted a building project that would teach and test our students while also capturing their imaginations.”

The Moths will be more than an effective teaching tool for students in the composites program: IYRS will partner with Sail Newport to bring these high-performance dinghies to the public. Once the Moths are completed by students they will become part of the Sail Newport fleet and will fill an important gap in this public sailing centre’s existing fleet as an exciting, challenging boat for young adult sailors looking for the next step in sailing.

“Our sport does a great job of teaching young kids to sail, but we don’t do as good a job at keeping those kids engaged in the sport as they grow into young adults,” said Sail Newport Executive Director Brad Read. “Introducing these high-performance, dynamic boats to our sailing population is a perfect collaboration between IYRS and Sail Newport. We could not pass up the chance to be the end user of these boats—boats I consider to be the most dynamic on the planet.”

The IYRS Composites Technology Program will give students a foundation in composites processes, techniques, and technology—ranging from general composites that employ glass fibre and polyester resin, to advanced composites that employ high-strength/high-modulus fibres and advanced resin systems. According to the program’s lead instructor Henry Elliot, the Moths will be a very effective project for students to build, for several reasons: The boats are small, light, and a good scale as a teaching tool, yet they need to be built to a high standard and will give students experience with a range of materials and processes; in addition, there are many geometrically complex tools that students will need to build, and making those tools will both teach and test their skills using CAD CAM engineering software.

“We will cover a lot of bases with these small boats,” said Elliot. “Once students leave here, the Moth is the kind of boat that will stand as a solid resume-builder.”

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