2016 – World Title Defense
This year the Tanihwa II is back with new innovative technology to defend its World Title at the EISR in Gosport from 6-15th July. This year’s race will be Taniwha’s third international outing, competing against 11 other teams from North America and Europe. The team is hoping that innovations developed in Auckland over the past 12 months will let them gain that extra knot in speed that they need to beat their own fastest time and hopefully set a new World record for human-powered fin propulsion.
You can follow our progress on the race website http://www.subrace.eu/
You can also come and see the Taniwha II at the 2016 Hutchwilco Boat show in Auckland from May 13-15.
You can also support us on our Give A Little page – Give a little to Taniwha
2015 World Title
ABI’s human-powered submarine ‘Taniwha’ outdid expectations at the 2015 International Submarine Race in Maryland USA, where Taniwha finished first in its class (non-propeller single pilot), reaching 3.65 knots over a 100 m long dragstrip and narrowly missing a new record for a sub of its kind. The human-powered 3 m-long submarine is made of fibreglass and weighs just 60kg. It is driven by a pilot using scuba gear who remains submerged while using pedals to power fins that drive the sub through the water. At the US race they gave some of the propeller teams a run for their money, proving fin propulsion underwater is both reliable and fast – just as it is for fish.
This year’s race will be Taniwha’s third international outing, competing against 11 other teams from North America and Europe. The team is hoping that innovations developed in Auckland over the past 12 months will let them gain that extra knot in speed that they need to beat their own fastest time and hopefully set a new World record for human-powered fin propulsion.
Taniwha made its debut at the 2014 European International Submarine Race (eISR) held at the QinetiQ Ocean Basin in Gosport, England. Even considering the huge effort required to build the submarine and get it to the opposite side of the planet the event was a rewarding experience. The teamwork displayed and the culture of the event is inspiring. Submarine racing doesn’t sound like a spectator sport but it is surprisingly good fun. In the water Team Taniwha was like a well-oiled machine, the actual machine was less reliable but still a unique and effective contraption. The greatest lesson learned was the importance of building to last. With the tight time constraints we raced what was closer to a prototype than a polished racing machine; all the pieces were there and working but little was finished. We took a few bumps and scrapes as the pilot learned to fly Taniwha in such a large pool. This took a toll on some of the less finished systems. About 20 meters from the finish line (which we were yet to cross) the steering handle broke loose; Taniwha took a sharp right and slammed into a ladder. The impact shattered the escape hatch and broke some of the Safety Buoy mechanism; a required piece of equipment. Enter the duct tape, cable ties and team of tired engineers; and 20 minutes later the submarine is ready to race again. This is what the race was really about; rapid innovation and learning from your mistakes. The chaos actually began at the dive shop. We had to hire all of our Scuba gear and the pilot’s air tank that we hired was several kilograms heavier than our tank back home. Anyone who knows anything about buoyancy will recognise our problem; add 3 kg of mass and you need to displace an extra 3 litres of water. Turns out that the way our mass is distributed we needed to displace 6 litres and add 3 kg to the rear of the sub. Being on a military test sight means you can’t just come and go as you please and we didn’t have 6 litres of spare buoyancy, we did have 6, 1 litre PET bottles of water though. You obviously can’t strap empty PET bottles inside, the pressure at the bottom of the pool is around 7 PSIG; the bottles will just crush. You can fill them at the bottom; they will hold the internal pressure easily. This was achieved by sending them down with a diver and blowing air into the upside down bottles then sealing them before bringing them back up. More cable ties and we’re back in the race. By the end of the race the pilot was steering by hanging onto ropes, the sub was half full of pressurised water bottles and there was little paint left on the underside but we were still running. The team won “Best non-propeller performance” and 7th place overall, but the best bit was the experience.