UniPV Sailing Team is a project born from the passion of the sailing world of many University of Pavia’s students, with the objective of integrating what they learnt during classes with practical experiences, managing a whole project as a team, with its design and management implications.
Starting as a group of Engineering students interested in sailing, we entered the foil world. Despite the concept of foil being born years ago, the foil moth is a new type of boat, so one of the hardest difficulties that we had to overcome was finding sources. Inspired by other teams, we split into three sub-teams: Materials, Structure and Performance; then, we started with a wide-ranging research on the components, on their structure and functioning, on their design and, for some components, on their fluid dynamics. Analyzing the problem, although in a general way at the beginning, we tried to take a cue from the conventional and most successful foiling boats, leaving personal reviews and modifications to the right moment.
Supported by some professors, we understood how a feasible option this project could be, so we started a new recruiting in April 2020. Jointly, we started proposing the project to Computer Science students, asking them to program a web page, in order to give visibility to our project through updates, thus adding the WEB team to the project. Because of this, we doubled in number and began carrying out lots of research, focusing on rudder foil and mechanisms, hull, mast boom and sails. We also decided to start interfacing with different production realities that could suit our material and process targets for the boat creation, which we intend to pursue largely independently in a workshop set up at our university, starting from a consultancy with the aforementioned companies. The students’ education through the boat designing and construction is still the main focus of the project.
Searching for as much information as possible, as well as coming out of a lockdown period, some members have been to Malcesine during the Foiling Week 2020 and saw up close several foiling boats, including experimental ones. Thanks to this experience, we realized how important it is to have contacts with companies able to provide their experience to the team, especially for students' growth.
In addition to the October recruitments, in winter we visited a few companies, which gave us suggestions for making components, as well as greatly influencing us; so, we have absorbed the typical pragmatism of these successful companies. Again, thanks to the Foiling Week, we understood how important it is to have a highly diverse team, with members able to give their contribution in different areas. There were many non-technical areas of primary importance that we were neglecting, especially when it came to the economy and marketing. It would be hard for our project to grow without such areas, that, together with the WEB team, give to it the visibility it needs. For this reason, the Business team was added, made of students from different faculties, such as Economics and Psychology, who joined us from a consolidated reality, JECO Pavia.
JECO Pavia (Junior Enterprise Consulting Pavia) was born in 2018 and since then has been operating in Pavia and the surrounding areas. It’s a JE, a non-political and non-profit association, managed entirely by students from their related university, with the main purpose of reducing the gap between the theoretical preparation provided by university and the practical skills required at work. Therefore, using the “learning by doing” method, students can increase their future employability. Junior Enterprises offer consulting services, especially to start-ups, and they re-invest the profit they make in trainings for the associates, in order to increase their skills, guaranteeing better and professional consulting services. JECO Pavia is part of a national Network named JE Italy, born in 1992. The latter is responsible for supporting Italian JEs in their work, so that the name “Junior Enterprise” can still be a synonym of quality, guaranteeing the continuous growth of the Italian Juniors.
The pillar values of JECO Pavia are: multidisciplinarity: thanks to the presence of students with different academic backgrounds and so different point of views and approaches, is one of the characteristics that best distinguishes JECO from the other JEs; digitization: JECO pushes on technological innovation; involvement of the associates: the members are taught and live corporate culture.
On our side, we have some of the members of JECO Pavia’s Communications Area, who deal with the creation of communication and marketing plans via online advertising campaigns and brand image caring.
During this period of second lockdown, we continued carrying out research, evaluating the various production possibilities and approaching the project cost analysis. Thanks also to various professors, we brought the project under the eyes of Universitiamo.
"Universitiamo by UniPV" is the crowdfunding platform of the University of Pavia. Our university is among the first ones in the world to opening up to this innovative tool that encourages scientific research. UniPV therefore reconfirms itself as an ancient reality looking to the future.
Thanks to the platform, the research activity in different sectors can be supported by anyone who wishes to, contributing with even negligible amounts. However, the real peculiarities of Universitiamo are the following: possibility of choosing which project and which research group to finance, transparency, thanks to the ability to know who the researchers and the research purposes are, and the possibility of staying informed on the results gradually achieved.
The average age of Italian researchers has increased over the last few years, however, Universitiamo is convinced that young students should also have the opportunity to express tehir potential to 100%. Precisely for this reason, the platform is designed specifically for them, to give the new generation of scientific researchers the opportunity to fully develop in Italy. Over the past five years, the platform has hosted around 70 research projects. 68% of these reached the required budget, in some cases even exceeding it. This percentage places Universitiamo above the average of Italian crowdfunding platforms.
Thanks to the support of this large platform, so suited to our needs, we aim to make ourselves known as much as possible, bringing people and companies closer to the sailing world, in particular foil, passing through a reality that enhances research and young people, in a territory of driving economy and with the need for bright and prepared minds.
When it comes to competitiveness, for such strong communities like Sailing Teams, it is impossible not to want to compare yourself with others. We can just do it through a fair European university team competition, like the SuMoth Challenge, with an equal simulated project fund for each team, of 10000 SuMoth dollars, that accounts for the environmental impact of materials and processes whereby the boat is made.
Another plus point is the structure of the competition, which implicitly favors the development of relationships between universities and companies, pushing not only the growth of students but a transparent collaboration between these worlds, which need to live symbiotically more now than never, ensuring continuity between education and work.
Another important point in favor is the presence of an innovative room where these projects are developed and advertised; this makes Foiling Week a space where companies can emerge and grow, entering into a rapidly expanding market.
In the last few months, we understood how important it is to be pragmatic, aiming at simple and efficient components: sometimes pushing excessively on performances, with the relative complication of structure and workmanship, can be counterproductive and lead to insignificant results compared to the commitment dedicated. The boat we aim to build follows the “Make it simple” philosophy.
Each component must have its reason-to-be and, starting from the available bibliography and in joint material-structure-performance groups, we are analyzing them from every aspect, attempting to simplify them even further.
The last competition focused on usability, which matches with the boat simplicity, and in a perspective of expansion towards newbies these two concepts are essential. For a new team like ours it will be very important to ride on the back of this way of thinking.
In these past few months, we have created a solid project starting point, in particular on the technical and organizational facets, and now we are analyzing logistic and marketing ones. Thanks to the presence of a heterogeneous reality like our university city, we can rely on students who are specialists in the various areas mentioned above, aiming to make ourselves known and make the foil world known in the upcoming months.
Unfortunately, due to the current pandemic, organizing time has been undoubtedly extended, nevertheless we intend to continue the Pavia revolution.
We aim to take part in the S1 2021, completing the theoretical design and carrying out the studies on the production aspects, then refining the latter.
Starting from October we are going to begin with the boat building, while we’ll be starting a new theoretical project that’ll go beyond the current one, also thanks to new recruiting and marketing campaigns, a main point for the succeeding of the project.
We are going to attend S2 and S3 2022 with our first boat, starting the construction of a new boat later on.
UniPV Sailing Team is not just aiming at the 2022 competition, but at a revolution in terms of student learning and connections between our university and local companies.
The SuMoth Challenge is a great way to achieve this, and we are aiming to race also in next few years, remaining fully inserted in this growing world.