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ISR 11 Summary (7/11/11)

posted Jul 11, 2011, 4:36 PM by Alan Orthmann
Before giving a summary of the University of Washington's time at the 11th International Submarine Race, I will briefly describe the team's last day at the races (Day 5).

The team decided to not race Dubs' Sub on Friday, 7/1/11.  We were very pleased with our performance throughout the week, including our record setting performance on Thursday, and opted to stay out of the water.  This allowed more time for struggling teams to get in to the race queue one last time to test out their submarines.  We instead used the day to check out the other submarines at competition, watch some of the racing action, and get our gear packed up.  We also had some rental dive gear to return to a shop in Virginia, so we needed wrapped up at the David Taylor Model Basin pretty early.

Awards were given Friday evening.  Unfortunately our team did not receive any special recognition (we had hoped for the "Smooth Operator Award" with our flawless use of only four divers, but missed out).  This does not change what we accomplished during the races, though.  Two years out from a UW showing that only attempted one race trial and failed to complete that trial, we have made considerable progress.  We are all confident that Dubs' Sub could be optimized for speed, as this was the first time it has ever been tested at full 100m distances. 

To get a good look at record-breaking action, here is a video of the 5.650 knot race:

Also, a few more pictures from the last couple of days of competition:

Here are a few summarizing notes of the competition as a whole:

-28 submarines were present at this year's race.  20 of those boats completed at least one race during the week.
-20 boats (including Dubs' Sub) were propeller driven.  The remaining eight used various non-propeller methods of propulsion.
-There were over 600 people involved with the races as contestants, staff and volunteers.
-One world record was set during the week, several times, by the same submarine. The United States Naval Academy's Mighty Mid, a two-person non-propeller entry, recorded a speed of 5.2 knots on the first day, beating the previously held record of 5.133 knots.  By the end of the week, Mighty Mid was going 6.1 knots.  The boat used two sets of Hobie-style MirageDrive fins (check out this video).  The design was simple and effective.

Now some details about UW's performance at the races:

-Our top speed was 5.650 knots, a new record for the university.  It was achieved during the team's 10th race attempt.  This was accomplished after considerable shifting of ballast weight to account for propeller torque, and modifying the controls system repeatedly to give us the response we needed.
-The team finished 5th amongst the 20 propeller driven submarines, and 6th overall amongst the 28 boats at the races.
-Dubs' Sub was raced 11 total times, and completed 10 of these races.  Only nine of these races qualified for times, as the submarine was too near the surface at the finish line during one of the runs.  The underwater cameras only cover a certain depth range for recording race times.  Had it not been for surfacing 5 meters short of the finish line on the second race attempt, we would have had a perfect racing record.
-We were the smallest team, both amongst divers and surface support, to operate free of borrowed divers during the race. 
-UW was considered the turnaround team this year, bringing one of the fastest, most efficient teams to the races after being non-competitive two years ago.  We were complimented for our team communication, our in-water operations, and our submarines' esthetics.  The Navy rescue divers, who capture the submarines at the finish line, listed UW first amongst submarines that required the most preparation for stopping, due to both our late race acceleration and Dubs' Sub's smooth surface.

The future of the team looks bright.  Our group is accomplished once again, and are ready to pursue more innovative goals.  We are back amongst the top submarines at the races.

I would like to thank all of our sponsors that have generously supported our pursuits throughout the year:

Autohound Collision Center
The Boeing Company
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Global Diving and Salvage
Janicki Industries
Kvichak Marine Industries
Lighthouse Diving Center

Aerospace Defense, Inc.
Breedt Production Tooling and Design
Click Bond, Inc.
National Instruments
TAP Plastics

A few individuals deserve special thanks for their continued support of the team:

Bruce Adee
Jed Brich
April Johnson
Jason Kurtz
Steve Marks
Jim Sisley
Kevin Vezanni

This is only a handful of people that made this year's submarine possible.  I also want to personally thank every current and former member of UW HPS that contributed to the record-breaking submarine.  The amount of time, energy, commitment, and enthusiasm exhibited by this group is evident in this year's performance.

Thank you for following us during ISR 11!  Please send any questions, comments, etc., to