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San Diego team redesigns submarine for 2019 races

By Brooke Marquardt, NSWCCD Public Affairs | June 28, 2019

Bethesda, MD —

The University of California San Diego (UCSD) brought their submarine, the Santiana, cross-country to compete in the 15th International Human-Powered Submarine Races at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division in West Bethesda, Maryland.

The Santiana was created from the hull of their old submarine, Spicy Tuna Roll, after they finished competing in the European International Submarine Races held in Gosport, United Kingdom. The team revamped the fiberglass hull and added a propeller. They did not intend to use propeller propulsion but ran out of time.

The UCSD team was excited to talk about the resources made available to them through their campus in order to build their submarine. Each student was able to become machine-shop certified and then had access to other engineering labs. In one of the labs, they were able to use a water jet to cut parts for the Santiana.  

Andrew Cai, a junior studying mechanical engineering, was most proud of their safety systems.

“One of the unique things about our safety system is our dead man buoy retention system, whereas most teams just have their buoy attached to some sort of cable or rope, that has to be manually reset, ours is on a spring that reels itself in, sort of like a tape measure,” he said.

The team was most excited to see their final product in action. They recalled a feeling of vindication for all of their hard work when they saw the Santiana cross the finish line on their first run.

“Our team has a very open-ended atmosphere and that’s what really drew me in in the first place,” Cai said. “It felt like less of a club and more of a group of friends who happened to be working on the same project.”