Any westlawn or yds grad actually working in the industry???

Discussion in 'Education' started by fede, Sep 9, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Limey , BVI Jon and Tad, you all gave a very interesting point of View,that's what I was looking for, I guess that above all, this part of the forum (the education one) should be used to exchange points of View ,expecially between students and fully developed Arch/Eng/Designers and boat builders...besides what school brochures say about their programs it\s important for a stundent to understand what really he/she can expect after graduation...
     
  2. fede
    Joined: Sep 2003
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    fede Senior Member

    sorry, last msg is mine, I was not logged in...
     
  3. CDBarry
    Joined: Nov 2002
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    Earlier post

    There is an earlier post asking the same question - about jobs for Westlawn, etc. grads.

    You may want to check it.
     
  4. edneu
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    edneu Junior Member

    It's not where you go...

    I have been in the Westlawn course for about a year and a half. I am really enjoying it. I am employed, but not in the marine industry; and I have no expectations of designing America's Cup boats or the like to make a living. I think only a handful of people will be doing that.

    I do like to design and build small craft. I think the Westlawn program is good for that sort of thing, Some of the material is a bit dated, and I think they are moving toward being in step with the industry. I think CAD will become more mandatory.
    I also think some of the materials will and should be updated.

    Such things as fairing a set of lines drawn with splines and spline weights is quite a challange whether you are an engineer or a designer.

    If I were a lad again and knew what I now know I would love to be a student at Webb Institute, it sounds like a wonderful place. But if you want to understand boats you can do much worse that Westlawn. It provides an outline and cirriculum to guide your studies. I think if you took the Westlawn course in a vacuum you would not necessarily be a great designer. It is only one facet of your education, you must continue to read and learn from other sources as well.

    As in any profession, getting a 4.0 GPA from the finest school does not mean you are the best person for a job. I have hired persons with Masters Degrees in Computer Science, who could not program as well as a community college student who was a enthusiastic hacker.

    I don't think it is where you learn that guides your competence. It is more that you continue to learn and experiment. It is your motivation and (gasp) obsession with the subject that will make you excel.
     
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Isn't it funny that the people who defend a school of Naval Architecture are always the poor saps who went through all that crap. Or somthing similar.(engineering degree) Don't get me wrong engineers have their place, seldom as yacht designers, however. Bruce King is a graduate of Westlawn Institute of Marine Tech. and it doesn't look like he's been too "limited" in the field of Yacht Design.
     
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Degree or Not

    Anyone can design a boat. Anyone can hang out their own shingle and say he/she is a Yacht Designer. There are some people who have had long careers designing poor performing boats for certain markets.

    There have also been some people who have been very gifted and have done great work without a formal education. Often these people surround themselves with others who do have the education. But the time for this avenue is drawing to a close.

    I think most of the better design offices will consider someone with a degree over someone with a Westlawn certificate without a second thought. I did the first half of Westlawn many years ago and don't think it was that helpful when I worked in a design office. It certainly didn't have any impact on getting me in the door, and actually it wasn't even mentioned.

    In the modern world you need the math, physics, aero and hydro dynamics, and computer modeling skills to really be a successful designer. Those skills are part of most ME or NA programs. Of course you need to spend a lot of time around boats, just as a degreed Architect needs to spend time around construction sites to know what it is really all about.

    People like John Reichel (Reichel/Pugh) and Bruce Nelson (Nelson/ Marek) are NAs. Alan Andrews is a ME. Almost all of the new flock of designers are degreed people. The higher the performance, the more important the training. If you look at the Americas Cup Teams you'll find that there are a lot of well trained people doing the number crunching to get things right.

    Old school designers like Peterson, Davidson, and Farr may not be degreed and have had a lot of success, but they do surround themselves with competent, educated people. Check the Farr website. His small group of designers is nearly all high level academics and they have been the most successful racing sail boat designers for the past 20 years. His partner Russ Bowler is a degreed Engineer, and they have no less than three people in the office with Masters of Science degrees, graduates of Webb and MIT, Mechanical Engineers, Aeronautical Engineers, and Naval Architects.

    So the real track to becoming a top notch sailboat designer would be to graduate at the top of your class as a ME or NA, after sailing four years with the school sailing team and earning All American honors. Then get hired on into a high end office like Farr's and learn everything you can.

    I'm sure this holds true for the power boat industry as well.
     
  7. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I agree that it is good to work for a designer. I've been trying to do that myself. However, I think westlawn teaches all one needs to know to get started in the yacht design industry. There is plenty of math and physics involved. They teach you the same stuff you'd be doing in a design office. I worked recently for a famous boat builder, whose brother graduated from MIT as a naval architect, and he told me that his brother can't design a small boat to save his life. The numbers involved with small boat design are pointless. They all are used in theoretical conditions that don't exist in real life. Naval Architects are much better suited to evaluating somebody else's work rather than doing any of their own. I think personally that if SAME is successful in forcing designers to get a degree, it will kill my interest in yacht design. There is nothing worse than a political group forcing their ways on others.
     
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Please note above written SAME is supossed to be SNAME.
     
  9. I agree that it is good to work for a designer. I've been trying to do that myself. However, I think westlawn teaches all one needs to know to get started in the yacht design industry. There is plenty of math and physics involved. They teach you the same stuff you'd be doing in a design office.

    So you have not worked in a design office, but know that Westlawn teaches the same things you need while working in an office. Interesting.


    I worked recently for a famous boat builder, whose brother graduated from MIT as a naval architect, and he told me that his brother can't design a small boat to save his life.

    So there is someone who has a degree who isn't a good designer. Maybe his brother has never really been keen on designing small boats.


    The numbers involved with small boat design are pointless. They all are used in theoretical conditions that don't exist in real life. Naval Architects are much better suited to evaluating somebody else's work rather than doing any of their own.

    This is about the most ignorant statement I have ever read.
     
  10. BVI Jon
    Joined: Sep 2003
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    BVI Jon Junior Member

    Obvioulsy some people have very strong opinions on this issue. I am simply noting the information posted by both sides. It is just a pity that anonymity tends to lessen credibility.
     
  11. seanconnett
    Joined: Aug 2003
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    seanconnett Junior Member

    It is just a pity that anonymity tends to lessen credibility.

    Amen to that!
     
  12. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Tad Boat Designer

    I guess I'll take our guests in order:rolleyes:

    Guest number 1;
    Bruce King Yacht Design Inc. is a very successful corporation, it has been successful because it has employed some very talented designers and engineers. They trained in various places, Mr. King is only one of them.

    Guest number 2;
    You are writing about a tiny fraction of the design industry in the US. These high-profile raceboat designers employ about 20 people total. The people they do employ are the cream, the people who went the extra mile at every chance. They can be very picky. The total turnover in these offices would be about .5 people every two years. You could wait quite some time for one of these guys to die. When I went to YDI 10 out 12 students were going to be hot sailing yacht designers. Twenty years later, not one of my class is employed as a high-profile sailing yacht designer. Same with the class before me, and the class after.

    It is far more likely that a yacht design student will be employed detailing structure of large semi-custom motoryachts. This is where there are entry level jobs. Westlawn may or may not be useful in this area.

    Guest number 3;
    Your post is silly, the principals of naval architecture remain the same no matter the size of vessel. The laws of physics, structure, and materials all remain the same. I have no idea what you may mean by "the numbers involved with small boat design are pointless" ?

    Taking courses and being challenged are very good things for anyone who aspires to being a yacht designer. If you are a Westlawn student, go to your local collage and take some engineering and materials courses, or more important, some business and communication courses!

    My best to all, Tad.
     
  13. betelgeuserdude
    Joined: Sep 2003
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    betelgeuserdude Junior Member

    Sea time

    Whole lot of insecure engineers out there... There must be a substantial value in the education offered by YDS and Westlawn if there are so many degreed engineers with their panties in a bunch. Either that, or those degreed engineers don't yet have a recognized design to their (sole) credit, full well knowing that there are those infidel yacht designers who have.

    Personally, I would rather trust a man who has tasted the fear instilled by offshore experience than merely the confidence afforded by a degree.

    No doubt about it, an engineering degree added to the valuable YDS or Westlawn education would be beneficial to the person throwing resumes at the firms and yards, but if the interest is in going it alone, the school of hard knocks is the surest arbiter. If you can't sell a design, you find another gig.

    I think that all naval architects should hold a 100 ton ticket, not just a degree. Log some sea time.

    DC
     
  14. Guest

    Guest Guest

    The main point

    The most important point is that regardless of training, there are very few jobs.

    You can go out on your own, but there are even fewer design commissions, especially for someone without any experience, again, regardless of training. Would you really want to be the first one to spend serious money on a new designer?

    It is also worth noting that there is no requirement that university educated NA be innocent of all maritime experience. A lot of NAMEs have merchant licenses (which require substantial time at sea) I worked for two NAs who were unlimited master's, one of whom was also an chief engineer. I worked with a QMSC, had two different MKCs, a BMC and a SEAL working for me at various times. Though I mainly have sailed in rec boats, (and had enough time and experience for an Ocean Operator, but it's stale now) I was a lofter, weldor and shipfitter.

    It is real rare to find someone in the marine business who has no interest and prior experience. Why would anyone who had no interest and experience go into this field? For the big money? This idea of someone who walks into a yacht design office with no boat experience is a strawman.

    If someone want to study at Westlawn for hobby purposes, that's fine - it takes about the same amount of time and money as getting a "CH" for a show dog, and plenty of people do that. But is it a good investment in the future? Will it really get you a job? It might, some do - but someone also wins the lottery. Is it a good investement of $10,000 and two years?

    A university degree gets a better shot these days, and allows you to make a decent living messing around with boats, even though they are big ones, should you not find yacht work.

    Self-training, with community college training in general drafting and engineering technology, also works, and again will at least help find a decent paying CAD jockey job, perhaps even in the marine industry.
     

  15. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Clarification

    Just to clarify the above, please note that all of the guys with enlisted rates mentioned also had university degrees (they went to college on Montgomery plan money after the Navy or CG). The QMSC has a PhD. (And had both oars and cutters.)
     
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