Land yacht race returns

A group shot of last year's land race participants at Balmedie Beach
A group shot of last year's land race participants at Balmedie Beach

Over 130 students will go head-to-head at Balmedie Beach on Friday, April 15 in a land yachts race.

The third-year engineering students from Robert Gordon University will be divided into 19 teams and will put their own designed and built land yachts to the test.

Students have been hard at work since February designing, constructing and assembling their yachts as part of a project aimed at encouraging mathematical, analytical and team working skills.

The land yachts are comprised of a two-metre go-kart style body with brakes, steering and a sail, and were conceived and built entirely by the students within their teams.

The teams will have three attempts to complete a 100m time trial across the beach weaving through obstacles to test their manoeuvrability, brakes, steering and the pilot’s handling skills, with gold, silver and bronze trophies to be presented to the three fastest teams.

Certificates will also be presented to the best three teams following assessment of build quality, functionality, safety features, performance timings and structural integrity of the yachts after the race.

The students carefully researched and designed their yacht designs before setting to work on the fabrication process with a budget of £200 per team.

No pushing or pulling of the land yachts is allowed, regardless of wind conditions, so the yachts must be augmented by either pedal or mechanical power.

The teams primarily use recycled materials such as old bikes, tarpaulins and wheels, assisted by university technical services staff with any required welding.

Dr Sha Jihan, module co-ordinator from the School of Engineering, said: “As ever, we are very much looking forward to seeing the students’ land yachts in action at Balmedie and will be hoping for a fair wind on Friday to ensure that we really see them at their full potential.

“There is always a great atmosphere at the event and a good level of friendly competition among the teams, so best of luck to all involved.”