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Solar boat 2018

Solar Boat Team Seeking Fifth Championship in a Row

by Clem Boyd, Communication Content Manager

Solar Boat 2018Cedarville University’s Solar Splash team had a four-peat in 2018. Next week, it will strive for five consecutive world championships at the 2019 Collegiate World Championship of Solar Boating.

Cedarville will host the Solar Splash competition June 11-15 in the lake at Champions Park at the Clark County Fairground in Springfield, Ohio. Cedarville is the most decorated team in the field, having won 11 titles during the 26 years of competition. In addition, Cedarville’s engineering students also earned the highest university honor in the 2012 DONG Energy Solar Challenge held in the Netherlands.

— Tim Dewhurst

Twelve teams are competing this year, including Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, the University of Dayton, Stevens Institute of Technology and the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.

Cedarville mechanical engineering seniors work on their solar panel and battery-powered boat as part of their senior project. Dr. Tim Dewhurst, senior professor of mechanical engineering, and Dr. Gerry Brown, associate professor of electrical engineering, lead the student team. This year’s team members include Tineka Witt from Central Lake, Michigan; Jeremy Sheckler from Phelps, New York; Cameron Smith from Blandon, Pennsylvania; Kaileb O'Neil from Windham, New Hampshire; Dawson Tso from Hillsborough, New Hampshire; and Ethan Maue from Homer Glen, Illinois.

The competition pits teams against each another in five water-based events, including sprint and maneuverability qualifying heats. After qualifying, teams will run their watercraft through a solar slalom, an event that tests speed and maneuverability. The remainder of the competition will focus on sprint and endurance challenges. Solar boat teams also receive points for technical reports, a visual display and workmanship.

Through the excitement and fun of an intercollegiate competition, students practice engineering skills in a real-world environment that teaches them about sustainable energy and energy management. With the development of their boat, they learn the value of efficient and effective design.

“This project is far more extensive than just boats or solar power; it trains students to work with the state-of-the-art in the industry, as the auto industry is moving toward electric drive,” said Dewhurst. “This competition challenges the students to engineer a boat to go incredibly fast with very little power. If the students can learn to work within these constraints, then they can take on any job and be successful. They will graduate from Cedarville with confidence to do anything in their job fields.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,193 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including its bachelor of science in electrical engineering, bachelor of science in computer engineering, and bachelor of science in civil engineering 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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