A room in the Fred M. Keller Engineering Laboratories building was transformed into a sailboat competition July 29 during the 25th annual Wooden Shoe Regatta.
A group of 66 junior-level, mechanical engineering students spent the summer designing and building small sailboats as part of a fluid mechanics course, which cumulates with a regatta that includes style and speed competitions.
The winner of the speed competition was Davis Moes, with a speed of 4.67 seconds, and the winner of the style competition was Kyle Werner.
Each winner was awarded a trophy in the form of a wooden shoe, painted by Shirley Fleischmann, engineering professor and creator of the regatta.
Fleischmann said the event is the culmination of a lot of hard work. "All students start with the same thing – a piece of basswood – and they end the semester with a design very unique to them," she said.
Students used a 12-foot towing tank and a wind tunnel to evaluate the performance of the hull and sails on their individual boats. Based on the results, they are able to predict how a full-scale boat would perform.
Fleischmann started the regatta at Grand Valley in 1989 to provide students with a hands-on learning experience in the field of fluid mechanics.