Formula Sailing – a CDIO project at Chalmers

Conceive, Design, Implement and Operate are the keywords of the CDIO initiative, an educational framework proposed by MIT and developed in cooperation with Chalmers and two other universities. A good example of a CDIO project is Formula Student, where students from Chalmers design and build a racing car with which they race against other European Universities in a competition once a year. The present proposal outlines a similar project in Marine Technology – Formula Sailing.


In 2005 Paolo Procesi from the Roma3 University and Yacht Designer Massimo Paperini proposed the 1001 Vela Cup, a competition in yacht racing between Italian Universities. The boats used in the race were to be small dinghies, which had to be designed, built and raced by students from the participating Universities. The idea was immediately adopted by several Italian Universities, and since then the races have been held annually. Around 10 Universities have participated every year. In December 2016 Chalmers was invited, and a new boat was designed and built during 2017/18. This participated in September 2018 and scored first among 13 boats from 8 universities. In 2019, Chalmers was third. Unfortunately, no race was held in 2020 due to the Corona restrictions, but instead a Design Competition was launched. The result of the competition is still pending.

The competition

The race is normally held in Italy in late September. In 2017- 2019 it was held in Palermo.

The boat

The boat is designed according to a “box rule”, with very few restrictions on dimensions: max length 4.60 m, max beam 2.10 m, max sail area: 33 m2. It must be a monohull. 70 % of the hull weight must come from wood or other material “of vegetable or animal origin”. For the appendages (centerboard and rudder), as well as the bow-sprit carbon fibres are allowed. The mast/boom must be in aluminum and the sails in Dacron (i.e. no exotic materials). External suppliers are permitted for mast/boom and sails. Wing sails are allowed, and so are hydrofoils. The original design is described in a project report (Formula sailing team, 2017).

In 2019/20 hydrofoils were designed for the existing boat “Linnea”. A new system for increasing stability was developed, based on a split flap technique. To control the flaps a mechanical control system was designed, where the stability control is independent of the ride height. An initial design was presented in a BSc thesis by Boman (2020). It was further developed within the Formula sailing group (Formula sailing team, 2020). The system will be presented at the forthcoming High-Performance Yacht Design Conference in Auckland in 2021 (Prabahar et al 2021).​

The crew

There must be two crew members, which must be students at the University. They are not required to participate in the design/building of the boat. The sailors must not hold a Grade 3 World Sailing Sailor Code (semi-professional).

Activities 2020

The project is presently put on hold, while a new project manager is recruited.

Tracks course

Formula Sailing was run as a Tracks course in 2019/20. A new course will start once the project manager has been recruited.​

Formula Sailing Website

Learn more about the project on the Formula Sailing website!​


For more information contact:

Project supervisors:

Lars Larsson

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Page manager Published: Fri 25 Sep 2020.