Newsletter | April 2000


The International Submarine Races (ISR) take great pleasure in announcing the 6th ISR, which will be held June 11-15, 2001.

The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) will host the 6th ISR at the David Taylor Model Basin, located at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Bethesda, Maryland. This marks the third time that the ISR will be conducted at the model basin. For those HP sub crews who have not had the privilege of participating in the last two events, this facility is the largest one of it’s kind in the world and is ideal for the ISR. Many HPS records have been broken here, and we expect this tradition to continue!

The format of the venue will be consistent with previous races. Categories will include one and two-person propeller and non-propeller entries, and awards will be given to the top three teams for speed and innovation. In addition there will be awards for Best Use of Composites, Best Design Outline, Overall Performance, and Best Spirit of the Races.

The event will span five days during which each team will have access to the basin for as many repeated runs on the course as possible. The teams will be assigned an individual staging area for their subs and equipment adjacent to the basin. There are no boarding facilities at NSWC, but the committee will be working on a host hotel for accommodation.

A contestant’s manual will be available in May 2000 so those teams will have plenty of time to finalize their design and construct their subs. There will be a charge of Ten dollars ($10 US) for the cost of printing and mailing the manual. Make out your checks to the International Submarine Races and send them to Steven Bland at the address shown below. This fee is refundable towards the entry fee of $750. should you decide to participate. We will be asking for registration forms this fall.

Because the International Submarine Races are a non-profit educational event, we are soliciting help in the form of donations, sponsorships and in-kind services. We also need volunteers to assist in physically running the races. The media is encouraged to support the event and spread the word by articles of interest. We have background material to provide upon request.

Potential contestants, sponsors and volunteers should check our web page at http: for updates on the event as it becomes available. The points of contact for the 6th ISR are listed at the end of this newsletter.


Here is a little background on the ISR for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the races. The International Submarine Race’s specific goals are:

To inspire students of the various engineering disciplines to delve into broad areas of underwater technology advancement and to provide them an educational experience that applies their theoretical knowledge.
To increase public awareness of the challenge people face in working in and exploring the ocean depths.
To foster advances in sub-sea vehicle hydrodynamic, propulsion and control systems.

The first human-powered International Submarine Race (ISR) was held in 1989 off West Palm Beach, Florida and drew 17 boats. The race grew to 35 boats in 1991 and 44 contestants for the 1993 race off Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The 1995 and 1997 events at the Naval Surface Warfare Center (David Taylor Model Basin) drew 11 and 16 entrants respectively.

Each team must develop a one or two-person “Wet” submarine. Two-person subs must have one person providing the propulsion and the other navigating and steering. Both crewmembers breathe on SCUBA from the air supply carried aboard. Each sub is unique, designed from “scratch,” and relies upon the team’s novel techniques for propulsion and guidance.

Participants include but are not limited to universities, corporations, government agencies, individuals and research labs. Various awards and prizes are awarded at each ISR, including ones for best overall performance, innovation, speed, best use of composite materials and the team with the best spirit of the race.

Adding Powered Submarines?

The ISR is considering adding powered submarines to the races. Contact Steve Bland for additional information.

More Sponsors Needed

We want to thank all of our sponsors of the Fifth ISR – we could not have done it without your support and we hope for your continued sponsorship of the Sixth ISR.

As we are a non-profit and all volunteer organization, we are always looking for additional sponsors for funding, in-kind goods and services and prize donations. (Our needs for in-kind goods and services will be posted on our web site.) Please contact Ms. Nancy Hussey or Mr. Dave McGee from the list of ISR contacts on the last page if you are interested in being a sponsor.