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Solent University introduces sustainable superyacht design course

The Southampton-based university has launched a brand new MSc for the 2024/25 academic year, the first of its kind in the UK…

Solent University, Southampton, has introduced the Sustainable Marine Craft and Superyacht Design MSc for the 2024/25 academic year, marking the first of its kind in the UK.

Applications are currently being accepted for a September 2024 start date. This innovative course, led by experts in the field of superyacht design, integrates environmental approaches and addresses lower-carbon solutions directly.

“Sustainability is transitioning from a mere trend or passion to becoming an integral part of business operations,” says Yann Dabbadie, Technical Manager at Southern Wind Shipyard. “As builders of sailing yachts designed for long-range performance cruising with a high level of autonomy, it has been imperative for us to enhance our environmental responsibility in the way we design, build, and operate our yachts. This new business approach requires a wealth of knowledge and skills across various fields, skills that are not readily available within the yachting industry and must be sourced from other sectors.”

The course represents one of the latest advancements at Solent and its Warsash Maritime School, aiming to contribute to safer and more sustainable seas by reducing the environmental impact of the maritime industry on marine environments. In 2023, the UK National Clean Maritime Research Hub (UK-MaRes Hub) was launched, with Solent as a founding member, receiving £21.3 million for research into decarbonising the UK maritime sector.

Located in one of the country’s primary maritime hubs, the course builds upon its predecessor – Superyacht Design – blending engineering science, naval architecture, and project management with a focus on practical, real-world learning.

Students will also have access to Solent’s Centre for Marine Sustainability, a leading research hub addressing challenges facing our oceans.

“The industry moves fast, and what you learn here will keep you ahead of the game. Now, working on yacht and cruise ship designs, I use what I learned every day, applying those specialised skills and knowledge that I developed during my time at Solent,” says Sven Saborowski, a graduate of the University’s original superyacht design programme, who is now a Project Design Engineer at Meyer Werft in Germany.

The MSc Sustainable Marine Craft and Superyacht Design course is designed to equip students with the necessary engineering knowledge and practical technical design skills required for a career in the leisure or commercial craft design and production industry, focusing on marine craft typically ranging from 24 metres to 120 metres in length.

In addition to practical design projects, students will study naval architecture, structural design, and system design, ensuring compliance with relevant maritime statutory regulations and integrating current sustainability and lifecycle requirements.

Utilising Solent's marine design CAD suite, students will gain proficiency in various commercially available drafting, modelling, and analytical software programs widely used in the marine design industry. Industry-standard hull lines fairing software will be employed for hull development, alongside CAD packages for the creation of 2D CAD drawings and 3D computer-generated models.

Students will benefit from access to Solent University’s 60-metre-long tow tank, enabling testing and analysis of sailing or motor vessel performance, facilitating the development of sail or wing plans for wind-assisted vessels or powertrain systems for powered vessels.

Upon completion of the course, which may include a dissertation completed in collaboration with a commercial design office or production facility, students will possess the necessary design skills to enter the global marine industry. Alternatively, they may choose to pursue further research through a PhD program.

“It is very satisfying to educate enthusiastic students who come to study with us at Solent University to learn to develop fantastic superyachts and commercial vessels, and on their graduation, begin great careers,” adds Giles Barkley, Course Leader – Yacht Engineering at Warsash Maritime School. “We see graduates apply the knowledge and skills they have gained from our dedicated Yacht and Commercial craft design academics, transferring their learning to their careers.”

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