pilot of the sleek sub Omer has little room to
an enormous naval testing tank near Washington, D.C., a unique
contest tests the design skills, and the stamina, of a group
of very passionate contestants. The human-powered submarine
contest has been drawing enthusiasts from around the world
for 13 years. In 1994, FRONTIERS filmed the event when it
was held just off of the coast of Florida, where the choppy
waters and unpredictable conditions made for somewhat treacherous
year, in the more controlled tank setting, the submarines
must race against the clock in a 100-meter sprint to the finish.
While most of the subs are propellered and built around a
single, peddling diver, the designs vary widely - from the
slick, powerful Montreal-based Omer, to the larger but decidedly
more comfortable Reef Cruiser, in which pilot Bob Golobic
propels his craft from a seated position.
Scuba Doo surprised the competition, but not its young
builder Logan Rainard.
two-person boat has managed to harness the power of both peddlers,
compensating for its increased weight. While this sub, from
the University of Michigan, does place in the top four, the
surprise star of the contest is Scuba Doo, built by high school
student, Logan Rainard. Working with his neighbor, engineer
Ed Liebolt, Logan came
up with a sleek design and exceptional propeller that gives
him the second fastest time overall. In first place, the super-speedy
Omer, whose best time is more that two knots ahead of the
rest of the pack. Rounding out the top finishers is Virginia
Tech, whose captain, Justin Hlavin, first learned of the race
from the FRONTIERS coverage in '94, and knew this was the
contest for him.
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