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Solar boat team wins International Hydrofoil Society award

Engineering Students Win Hydrofoil Society Award

by Kyle Spencer, Public Relations Writer

Cedarville University’s solar boat competition team, which has won nine world solar splash titles in the past 13 years, hopes to build its next boat so that it will “fly on water.” 

Leading this effort for Cedarville were former solar boat team members Elijah Thompson and Caleb Jacobson, both 2016 mechanical engineering graduates. They and four other engineering students submitted a 20-page technical article introducing their recent breakthrough in hydrofoil design to the International Hydrofoil Society. Their work netted them an honorable mention on the Society’s website and a $1,000 prize. 
In two years, Cedarville University hopes to race a hydrofoil solar boat in competitions throughout the world.

The goal, according to Dr. Tim Dewhurst, senior professor of engineering and solar boat team coach, is to expand the minds and capabilities of Cedarville University engineering students. If the team wins championships as a result of the new concepts, that will be a significant benefit.

“This work by the students shows me that they are at a level where they are capable of working with experts in the field,” said Dewhurst.

Hydrofoil acts as a sort of wing in the water. This wing lifts the boat completely out of the water allowing the boat to use, according to Dewhurst, a lot less force to reach a certain speed. In essence, hydrofoil design allows boats to fly above the water to encounter much less water friction. This decreased friction increases speed and functionality on the water. The world’s fastest sailing boat used this technology to reach an average speed of 51.36 knots (59.1 mph).   

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 3,760 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings. For more information about the University, visit

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