This weekend, (December 15, 2018), the Southeastern New England SeaPerch Derby kicked off the first regional event of the year with the new “Finess Challenge”. The Southeastern New England SeaPerch derby took place at New Bedford High School in Massachusetts with a excellent turn-out of young engineers who competed with their SeaPerch remotely operated underwater vehicles.

The Finess Challenge introduced three new concepts to the Derby this year, each focusing on precision and accuracy, rather than speed. The Challenge included: The Target Challenge – using a probe attached to the SeaPerch ROVs to toggle flags through varying target holes, The Pipe Challenge – Where vertical tubes with rings attached had to be lifted and lowered into corresponding pipes of different sizes, each one smaller and worth more points than the last and the Ladder Challenge – where colorful bands wrapped around horizontal ladder rungs had to be slid from one side to the other, each rung with less space to operate than the last.

Participants competed in Middle School, High School and Open classes and each team excelled at their own particular skills. Some SeaPerches were more suited to the precise ROV manipulation of the Finesse challenge course and others were most proficient at the more traditional 5-hoop obstacle course. Competitors strove to complete each course, and if possible to toggle the highest-valued aspects in the shortest time possible for each task, to give them the advantage over their opponents.

Judges and divers kept careful score of each team and provided assistance in the event that teams had malfunctions. Judges included NUWC Division Newport engineers, volunteers from the Undersea Science and Engineering Foundation Inc., as well as retired Rear Admiral Wisecup. All of whom were able to provide sound advice and expert feedback on SeaPerch designs.

In the end, the highest scoring teams were “Team Odin” and “Team Vidarr” from Rogers High School in Newport, RI. The teams left to right, Joshua Pearson, Rose Kutsaftis, Nathan Murphy, Brandon Poling, Pierson Garcia, Brooklyn Wakefield, Elana Lahoud, Caroline Florence (not pictured) Owen Sibya and Coach Scott Dickison worked hard preparing for the event. They also improved their score by building their own version of the challenge course at school to practice on in the practice pool.  The teams competed hard, completed their tasks and returned to the wall ending their turn before their time was up to receive extra points  and giving them an advantage in the case of a tie.

Congratulations once again to Teams Odin and Vidarr!

The Latest From WUN

Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).