Department of Engineering Science

Jarrad Wallace

Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Engineering Science (2002), ME (2004)

Photograph of Jarrad Wallace

Design Engineer (2006)
Southern Spars


Since I was young I was always sailing or doing things on the water, first with my parents on our keelboat and then racing single-handed dinghies. Through this involvement I have always been fascinated with how yachts work and how to make them faster. After the first year of Engineering School, we had to decide on a department of the School in which we were to complete our BE degrees. I chose Engineering Science for their strong command of Continuum Mechanics and more importantly the computer modelling of mechanical processes - I was impressed by Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Element Analysis, and the possibility of applying these to sailing problems.

Later that year I gained work in a sailmaking loft, opening my eyes to the marine industry and a possible career path. But it was the mast builders next door who really caught my attention, and I was lucky enough to begin working for Southern Spars a year or so later. I completed a 4th year project on the aerodynamics of Finn dinghy mast sections, which for the first time showed me how the two disciplines of sailmaking and rig design are so inter-dependant.

After completing my BE and working full-time for a while at Southern Spars, I took on an ME project to create a mathematical programme that could optimise the design of yacht rigs. This whet my appetite for research and development, and I now look after the development of our rig design software at Southern Spars as part of my role as Design Engineer.

As technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, the interactions between sailmaker and rig designer become more important in ensuring the final rig and sails package is optimised towards producing maximum sailing performance. Engineering Science first showed me the technology, then gave me the skills to continue learning and applying these lessons to my chosen field.