The lab boat

The University of Udine has transformed a racing sailboat into a laboratory, launching the didactic and applied research project in the nautical sector “Uniud Sailing Lab“. The objective is to define, design, install and test devices, developed by researchers of the Friulian university, to optimize the parameters that guarantee the maximum sail propulsion at different speeds, in addition to improving safety on board.

The boat featured in the project is the “William B”, a 10 and a half meter Archambault A35, moored at the “Oscar Cosulich” (Svoc) sailing company in Monfalcone, made available free of charge by the owner Alessandro Bottecchia. 

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The working group that follows the project, coordinated by Francesco Trevisan, will have to develop and integrate the mechanical, electrical, electronic and IT devices on board: sensors, wireless communication networks, energy storage and generation systems, night and day navigation aid systems and data communication tools (navigation, weather, maintenance, etc.).

“The conditions of use of these technologies on board a boat – explains Trevisan – make the analysis, design and validation of solutions particularly stimulating, with positive effects on both advanced teaching and research aspects”. In fact, sailing units for pleasure boats require increasingly complex functions, such as the control of sails and actuators, sensors, the distribution of information to navigation systems as well as ship-to-land data communications. “This – underlines Trevisan – entails an increasingly pushed integration between the different on-board devices”.

In addition, highlights the project coordinator, “competitive sailing helps to evoke and strengthen the “green” line by aiming to increase energy efficiency, to develop on-board energy generation and management systems to reduce anhydride emissions carbon dioxide in the atmosphere ».

The two-year research project is supported by the SIPE srl company located in Scorzè (Ve), a software house specializing in management products, and co-financed by the University. The research group involved in the “Uniud Sailing Lab” is made up of teachers and students from the Polytechnic departments of engineering and architecture; Agri-food, environmental and animal sciences and Mathematical, computer and physical sciences.