Damaged equipment that led to a team effort between Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing and Composites Program and the Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association (OPRA) has had a positive outcome for both programs.
This fall, one of OPRA’s competitive racing shells was damaged. The 40 foot long, 4 person scull is made of carbon fiber, fiberglass, and honeycomb and weighs only 115 lbs. Due to their high tech design and construction, new boats run over $50,000.
Typically, repairing the damage would involve sending the boat off of the Peninsula to rowing shell specialists. The repair costs would have been high, in both time and money, according to OPRA Program Director Patrick Callahan. Since this is the height of the competitive rowing season, OPRA approached the Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC) in Port Angeles about fixing the boat, and was referred to the Advanced Composite Program at Peninsula College.
James Russell, Program Coordinator for Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing and Composites Program, inspected the racing shell to see if it could be a class project that would give his students experience and training in very highly loaded structure repair.
“This boat, to be so strong at such a light weight, is constructed of carbon fabric and honeycomb core, and the repair is very delicate – keeping the strength without adding excess weight,” Russell said. “I was a little nervous about first-year students tackling this, but the students were so enthusiastic about it that I thought they could do it.”
To sweeten the deal, OPRA offered to have their marine engineer, Dr. Peter Becker speak to PC students about racing boat structure, hydrodynamics, and how to modify boats to win races. The offer sealed the deal, Callahan said, with Russell adding, “We’re happy to help support a winning local team.”
For more information, contact Patrick Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org.