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Congupna Primary are national solar boat champions

By James Bennett

Congupna Primary School is home to the best solar-powered boat racers in the country.

The Solar Surfers team of four students, with the support of teachers and parents, won the national title at the Australian-International Model Solar Junior Boat Challenge in Hobart at the weekend.

The team — Mason Uniacke, Alina Ismet, Josh Lee and Tayla Jackson — dominated the initial round-robin by winning six of seven races.

The team then swept the best-of-three final against a Melbourne team's boat called Fish & Chips.

Tasmania is not known for its sunshine but the cold and rainy weather actually played into Congupna's hands.

Alina said the boat was faster because of its parallel setting to catch just enough sunlight.

“We angled the solar panels slightly and that helped catch the sun,” she said.

Although there was no ticker-tape parade for the champions when they arrived back at school, plenty of high-fives and congratulations were offered.

Years 4/5/6 teacher Sue Cowan said the school was ecstatic with the results.

Mason was also celebrating another personal achievement, as he helped his brother Haydn win the Advanced Boats section with their boat Optical Illusion II.

The victory made it back-to-back titles for Wanganui Park Secondary College student Haydn.

His father, Tony, said the family hoped Haydn could make it a three-peat in 2020.

“He's also thinking about competing in the solar cars section as well as the solar-powered boats,” he said.

“The family is pretty excited about the win.”