Team Tarka do the UK credit!
Team Tarka, the first-ever UK entry in Solar Splash, the World Championship of Intercollegiate Solar Boating, put up a spirited challenge, coming away with a string of awards and a very creditable 10th place in this yearâs event.
Solar Splash took place over five days, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, ending yesterday (Sunday). Throughout the event different water-based competitions tested speed, manoeuvrability, endurance, design, and innovation. Tarka ended the event in 10th place, and won the Teamwork Award, the Sportsmanship Award, and achieved âBest Score for a Rookie Teamâ. The boat was placed third in the qualifying event and came joint first in the Silver Medal race. With a Union Jack flying from the boat and emblazoned on its prow, it wasnât hard to spot Tarka amongst the other competitors.
Finishing in the top half of the teams is quite an achievement for the first attempt, and one that only began a few months ago. Dr Peter Wilson of the School of Electronics and Computer Science, who is a Visiting Professor at the University of Arkansas, decided to enter a University team when he attended last yearâs event. âGetting into the top ten was a dream this year, our first attempt, but I didnât really dare to think weâd actually do it,â he said. âThe strength of some of the teams is just scary, but the best compliment paid to us was almost every team saying âWe need to watch out for you guys next year!â?.â
Peter enlisted postgraduate students largely drawn from the School of Electronics and Computer Science to build the boat and raise sponsorship for the trip, and despite the short timescale from when planning began earlier this year, the boat performed really well over the competition. Peter paid tribute to the team: âThe final race was one of the best pieces of overall teamwork Iâve ever seen,â he said.
Team members Dirk De Jager, Karim El-Shabrawy, Rich Bowen and Peter Wilson are now on their way back to the UK, and planning will soon begin for next yearâs event, which will include undergraduate students in the team.
Professor Harvey Rutt, Head of the School of Electronics and Computer Science, paid tribute to Team Tarka's hard work and commitment: âThe teamâs efforts and achievements demonstrate considerable engineering excellence in a multi-faceted task,â he said. âWe look forward to welcoming them back to the School and enjoying the party!â
For more information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453