The Robinson Towing Tank is an essential element in the education of students at Webb Institute. Students perform a number of resistance tests in the towing tank as part of their laboratory experience. Since Webb Institute requires a senior thesis, many students elect to conduct a variety of experiments in the tank, including resistance tests on vessels of current or possible future interest. Recently a pioneering series of experiments was conducted on trimarans and published in the annual proceeding of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME).

The towing tank and its test equipment were built about fifty years ago. Minor upgrading has been conducted throughout that time. The improvements were mostly through student thesis endeavors which of necessity were at best incremental improvements. About three years ago we started a program to significantly improve the carriage and the data acquisition system. This work has been accomplished by the two co-authors of this paper along with the help of numerous students. The detail of the redesign is the subject of a companion paper presented at the session on New Facilities, Equipment and Techniques, (VanHooff, Gallagher and Compton).

The new equipment has been in service this past academic year. As a con­sequence we have been conducting a. series of experiments to establish the capabilities of the system and to determine any deficiencies that need correction. To assist us in this endeavor we have used the Webb class of 2002, as part of their laboratory training, to conduct a number of the experiments. The initial test work performed by the students during the class laboratory periods last fall indicated that the model test results were unreliable. Consequently, the authors, this past winter, initiated a systematic study to determine the reasons for the failure to correctly predict the resista11c:e of selected models. Selected members of the class of 2002 assisted in the testing program this past spring.

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