Engineering course concludes with annual regatta

 Shirley Fleischmann, left, started the regatta at Grand Valley in 1989.
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Shirley Fleischmann, left, started the regatta at Grand Valley in 1989.
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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.