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Discussion in 'Education' started by Stu waring, Jan 16, 2004.

  1. Stu waring
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Annapolis, MD

    Stu waring Junior Member

    Westlawn Graduates

    I was not satisfied with the answer to graduation rates that I gave yesterday so I did some more digging this morning. I found that our graduation rates fluctuate, and are very different for distance-learning institutions than residence schools. As I have mentioned before, the Westlawn diploma course is comprised of 38 lessons divided into 4 modules with each module taking 1 year to complete. Based on a the most recent analysis, graduation rates from Module 4 are about 75%, other modules vary, but the average is around 50%. Graduation rates for several of Westlawn's continuing education courses are close to 100%. Westlawn has numerous successful graduates but like other schools, many students often get full-time work in the industry long before they ever finish the program.

    I received a private request asking that I post the companies that have and do employ Westlawn graduates and students. This list includes designers, organizations & professional associations. (these are in addition to the to the other companies listed in my previous reply) This is only the beginning of our attempt to track the whereabouts of our students and is far from complete. As I have asked before, if you are a past or present student or graduate of Westlawn and are or were working in the industry please drop us an email letting us know what you have been up to so we can add to this rapidly growing list. It will help and encourge those that struggle with wondering where their Westlawn education could take them.

    Sparkman & Stephens
    Farr Yacht Design Ltd.
    Robert Perry
    C.W. ©¯Chuck©˜ Paine
    Oracle BMW Racing's America's Cup Team
    Tripp Design, Naval Architecture
    John W. Gilbert Associates, Inc.
    MacLear & Harris, Inc.
    Francis & Francis
    Benford Design Group
    Van Peteghem-Lauriot-Prevost (MVP-VLP)
    Arradon Team
    Glade Johnson
    Paolo D. Smith
    Seltzer Design
    Michael Porter
    United States Coast Guard
    United States Navy
    SP Systems
    American Bureau of Shipping
    American Boat & Yacht Council
    National Marine Manufacturers Association
    Boating Magazine
    Sail Magazine
    Yachting Magazine
    Offshore Magazine

    The following is a list of Boat Builders who have employed Westlawn alumni and students:

    American Custom Yachts
    Burger Boat Co.
    Café Yachts
    Cape Dory Yachts
    Carver Boats
    Cheoy Lee Shipyard
    Chris Craft
    Cobalt Boats
    Delta Marine
    Egg Harbor
    Four Winns
    General Dynamics/Electric Boat
    Grand Banks
    Hargrave Custom Yachts
    Hatteras Yachts
    Island Packet Yachts
    Lazzara Yachts
    Monaro Marine Ltd.
    Ocean Yachts
    P.A.E. Boatbuilders
    Palmer Johnson
    Pearson Yachts
    Rybovich Spencer
    Sabre Yachts
    Santa Cruz Yachts
    Viking Yachts
    Westport Shipyards

    Please remember that this list is far from complete. As we have only begun to create it in the past few months, it will be interesting to see where it is in a year from now after we get more feed back. I hope this encourages all that are studying yacht design in whatever form and institution that there are positions in the industry if you are serious and have some talent.:)
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    I like to design by hand. The restrictions of a CAD programs drive me batty. I cut my splines and they curve whichever way I want. Also, the ability to draw has other advantages. For example, capability of making a design on a bar napkin and explain a construction detail or feature. Another plus, is that a computer screen resolution is poor compared to a pencil line. A sheerline may look OK on the screen, but at full size has lumps or straight sections that are ugly. The displacement and other calculations are better left to the computer. I can't think of anything more tedious than recalculating because and engine has to be moved aft.
  3. Guest

    Guest Guest


    I am a student at Westlawn just wrapping up Module one. I am glad to see some of the changes that are happening. Can you talk some about possible updates to the texts as well as maybe a side curriculm for CAD (given your new policies).
  4. Stu waring
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Annapolis, MD

    Stu waring Junior Member

    Westlawn Course Updates


    ( I have also posted this question and reply under the Westlawn Questions thread.)

    Sorry to not get back to you right away. I was in meetings all last week in Miami. We were having our 50th Anniversary Annual General Meeting for ABYC and were privileged to have the commandant of the US Coast Guard, Admiral Collins as our key note speaker. He is quite a dynamic speaker!

    In regards to your question, as you are currently a student, you have already seen the first student guide we put out last June. This was 17 page handout along with a dozen or so drawings that lightly covered some of the pressing topics that the new administration felt the course was weak on or did not cover at all. Over the several months since then we have been hard at work on preparing the next edition that will be available to students in April of this year. The new student guide is huge. It is well over 100 pages and growing daily. We are having a difficult time knowing when to say enough for now. The new guide is going to include the contents of the old guide as well as cover some major topics such as:

    Advanced Composites
    Weights and trim analysis
    Improved rigging calculations
    Updated Aluminum construction
    Detailed System Engineering
    CAD applications
    As well as several reference papers and many drawings and much more. As soon as we get this edition out we will start comprising new information for the 3rd edition.

    We also have several major projects on the go. We have new course material on Aluminum Construction that will be replacing our current aluminum text due out in the next 6 – 9 months. This is a brand new book that has been underway for well over a year now.

    We have brand new course material that will be introduced to the YD program on Engineering Fundamentals. We hope to incorporated this into the program sometime in the next 12 – 16 months.

    Dave Gerr is currently creating new comprehensive course material on propellers, which should be quite informative as he will be using his Propeller Hand Book as the basis of the new material. This is about 12 months out as well.

    We are also underway on an addition to the sailboat sections, lesson 18 & 19. In the next 9 - 12 months we will be introducing curriculum on deck hardware and layouts for cruising and racing boats from dinghy’s to the 70’ range with the assistance of Harken, Ronstan and Lewmar and others…

    And last and most importantly we are upgrading our CAD program. We have several irons in the fire at the moment but nothing is confirmed yet that I can relay. The student guide will be packed full of useful information in regards to manual drawing and CAD. That is our immediate response. Our course material is so out of date that it is sad it is still in there. Our desire is to replace it with quality current material quickly, hopefully within the next 6 months.

    So we have lots on the go…along with catching some of the typos and the odd mistake in the current curriculum and updating some of the existing drawings, we are busy. We have been in touch with several prominent design firms that are putting together drawing packages of boats designed and built with in the last 5 years that we will be able to send out to students to use as examples and reference material. But it all takes time. If you are in module 1 you will likely see all of the changes I have mention and more long before you finish the program.

    So what should you do in the mean time while you are waiting for the CAD update? Well if you are a beginner, I would suggest that you check out your local community college. Almost all of them offer courses in introductory AutoCAD. This is a great place to learn the basics and benefit from a teacher who can show you some of the tricks and short cuts. If night school is not an option, then maybe an online tutorial program or books. AutoCad is too complex a program to learn properly just hacking your way through it. The manuals from AutoDesk are great if you know what you are doing but not as helpful as they could be and a little intimidating for the beginner. Two good books that we recommend to our students are:

    The Mastering AutoCAD series by George Omura


    The AutoCAD No Experience Required series by David Frey

    Both are available for several different releases of AutoCAD and available from and I am sure that there are many other books that others might find better, however these seem to do the trick and are fairly simple to navigate.

    Hope that answers your questions…
  5. CDBarry
    Joined: Nov 2002
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    Location: Maryland

    CDBarry Senior Member

    You are certainly right about going to a local community college for AutoCAD training. At least the first bit really requires a live instructor, literally holding your hand (or mouse). Once you are past that, then you can pick it up on line as well. The AutoCAD User's Group, International has free on line courses,
  6. dvgale
    Joined: Feb 2004
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    Location: Lake Waccabuc, NY

    dvgale Boats_4_People

    Pursuing yacht design, glad to meet you!

    Although I've been in naval architecture nearly 18 years (plus endured a 17-month layoff Nov. '01 - April '03!), I'm new here at While I'm currently enrolled at the MacNaughton YDS, I'm keeping up to date on Westlawn, especially in light of 1) its operation under the auspices of ABYC 2) and under Mr. Gerr's guidance, 3) with NMMA adopting ABYC guidelines in their certification program, and 4) the potential (as I understand it) for professionals and SNAME members to take an accelerated course option.

    I've just read today in the Boating Industry Online ( E-newsletter that Westlawn's enrollment has increased 60% since the ABYC acquisition, and the school seems to regularly make waves in the boating industry press.

    I'm sure to have many questions as time passes - I've already posted a question regarding yacht engine removals on the Design board - and I hope I'll be able to provide guidance useful to others as well.

    Meanwhile, I am earnestly seeking to break free from commercial/military-type work (especially the urban/industrial environment of Manhattan! :( ) and pursue work with yachts and pleasure craft, perhaps in conjunction with other types of commercial boats. While this seems to be the fastest-growing segment of the marine industry today, I've had little contact with recruiters in this area and one interview last September. Despite my years of experience, design firms seem to either want a design portfolio or, in the case of production builders, manufacturing as well as design experience.

    I am hoping to acquire a work portfolio through my activity with YDS :) , although an unbearable commute to and from Manhattan (2 hours each way :mad: :mad: ) has made this nearly impossible. I do spend some of the time reading design reports, naval architecture studies of planing hulls, etc., not to mention Dave Gerr's Propeller Handbook! (This is especially interesting, as I've also begun working with NavCad.) Meawhile, I look forward to future contact with you and among other members. As time and fortune permits I may yet consider Westlawn enrollment as an alternative.
  7. macknut
    Joined: Feb 2004
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    Location: Rehoboth,MA

    macknut Junior Member

    Yacht design light

    I have been considering on enrolling in Westlawn. However it's been I while since I have to study much. I was thinking of taking the lite program first as a warm up for the larger program. I was wondering what your thoughts on this were. :?:
  8. CDBarry
    Joined: Nov 2002
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    Location: Maryland

    CDBarry Senior Member

    Westport has jobs in Washington state in yacht construction and design, though they want degreed NAs. Try Bryan Spencer too.
  9. Stu waring
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Annapolis, MD

    Stu waring Junior Member

    Yacht Design Lite

    YACHT DESIGN LITE will give you a basic knowledge of design principles, hydrodynamics and manufacturing technologies in FRP. It was designed initially for the marine industry corporate executives that wanted a refresher, the broker who really has no design background at all and need some and yacht surveyors looking for cross training. The YDL course can lay the ground work for improved job performance, promotion opportunities and expand knowledge of job related disciplines. But it is not for the marine work force only, it is also set up for the plain curious who are not sure if they want to spend the time and money in the diploma course but want to see what yacht design is all about. In other words, it is a small commitment meaning low risk.

    When we designed the YDL course, we selected 8 lessons from the 38 lessons that create the YD diploma course. They cover hydrostatics, resistance, stability, hull lines, interior design and FRP construction. FRP was chosen as it is primary material being used in the industry today. The course will get your feet wet without a doubt. If you find when you complete the program that you want to continue and move into the more comprehensive YD course, the credits are completely transferable. The cost of the YDL program is the same as one module in the YD course, $1950USD for domestic and $2150USD for international students.

    We have many students currently in the program that seem to be progressing along nicely. It takes about 300 hours to complete and is very doable in the one year time frame.

    Macknut, YDL is exactly what you are looking for.
  10. CDBarry
    Joined: Nov 2002
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    Location: Maryland

    CDBarry Senior Member

    To address the list of Westlawn people above; many on this list also have other, perhaps more suitable, credentials.

    For example, Gary Mull was also a UCB NAME grad, and in all the years I knew him, he always identified himself as such. I don't recall him ever mentioning that he took the Westlawn course, as a matter of fact.

    Again, the problem with this list and all of the others is that people interested in yachts and subsequently successful may well take all or part of the Westlawn course, but that doesn't mean it is why they were successful. Most yacht designers also eat bananas, but eating bananas won't make you a yacht designer. You are asking people to lay out a lot of $$ and time, and this requires a high level of proof that your method works. Something like 90% of Webb entrants graduate, and 100% either get jobs or go on to graduate school and then get jobs (many in yacht design - and Webb is free). Every single one of my classmates in UCB is still in the industry (including some yacht designers, even some on America's Cup programs).

    The central question is not if a few make it, but what percentage make it.
  11. Eastlawn
    Joined: Feb 2004
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    Location: france

    Eastlawn New Member

    I would like to know exactly who all the Westlawn tutors are, exactly what are their qualifications and exactly when and where did they obtain their qualifications. Additionally, I would like to know how long they have been involved as tutors for this type of naval architecture educational program.

    A precise answer Ladies and Gentlemen please.
  12. johnjt
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI USA

    johnjt Junior Member

    realistic goals

    The central question is not if a few make it, but what percentage make it.[/QUOTE]

    Well written, sincerely. I've been kicking around the idea of taking the Westlawn courses for a handful of years. Early on, I thought that the diploma granted would be all I would need to obtain a position in yacht design. Of course, I now realize that the diploma, when taken in conjunction with another degree, preferably engineering or marine technology, can be a very attractive pair. I'm not expecting to get a call from Oracle/BMW or the Kiwi's after completing the program, but that's not my goal either. I think for myself, along with many out here, the option of attending a brick-and-mortar university such as Michigan or Webb or any of the others has passed by many years ago. Participating in the Westlawn course is a couple of things to me (and maybe to others)...First, it is a way to fulfill a desire to learn more about boats and design. Second, it is knowledge gained that cannot be taken away--therefore not a waste of money by any stretch of the imagination. Third, it is the possibility that if I'm disciplined, motivated and good enough, I could possibly make a living doing something I would really love. Now of course I could go ahead and get a Business degree and plod along in my company and get small raises and keep putting food on the table and come home unfulfilled. OR, I can keep doing what I'm doing career-wise (which already puts food on the table), obtain a degree and diploma in something that I have a genuine interest in and feel passionate about and POSSIBLY get a position with a company that I'd feel energized in the morning about.
    I guess I should try and focus what I'm saying...I don't think your post was an attack on any of us considering or enrolling or enrolled in Westlawn. I simply want to put some encouragement and positive spin on what the diploma gets people. A dose of realism is a VERY healthy thing, and as I said off the bat, your post was really well-written and thought out. However, people should also take an assessment of what their GOALS are and act appropriately. There is no magic pill that will get us everything we want. But there are things out there that can make us happy and maybe even make us money (VERY important to know that the two don't go together, as I'm sure current yacht designers could tell us ;-) ) I don't really care about the percentage of people that begin-but-don't-finish the program. If it were that easy, it probably wouldn't be worth it. Buyer should always beware, of course. But I think those of us in search of something fulfilling and challenging take great value in what Westlawn is offering us.
    Just my two cents. I didn't want Stu to be the only one defending the Westlawn choice!
    Thanks to all. Hope this wasn't too long-winded (though I am a sailor--I can't help it!)
  13. Stu waring
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Annapolis, MD

    Stu waring Junior Member

    Staff Background

    There are short bio's about the faculty and staff, advisors and board of directors on the Westlawn website that can answer these questions specifically. If further information is sought, please feel free to contact the school either by phone or email and we will be happy to put you directly in touch with the person(s) with whom you would like to speak.
  14. Eastlawn
    Joined: Feb 2004
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    Location: france

    Eastlawn New Member

    Mr Waring, Given the copious details you have already supplied regarding Westlawn and your earnest desire to publicise the Westlawn program, I would have thought that supplying the precise details I requested was well within your capabilities and interests. I am somewhat taken aback at your apparent reticence to supply the precise details I requested to this forum.

    I repeat, and would be most grateful for a straightforward answer - as would others who are considering spending thousands of dollars on your program :

    I would like to know exactly who all the Westlawn tutors are, exactly what are their qualifications and exactly when and where did they obtain their qualifications. Additionally, I would like to know how long they have been involved as tutors for this type of naval architecture educational program.

    A precise answer would be appreciated, Mr Waring please.

  15. Stu waring
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Annapolis, MD

    Stu waring Junior Member

    Invitiation to Westlawn

    CDBarry, I would like to offer an invitation to you to come and visit ABYC/Westlawn here in Annapolis. From your profile I see that you are also located here in the state of Maryland. If the distance is not too great I would be very please to show you through our facility. I would also like to offer you our course material to review. I would be very interested in your comments and suggestions on our texts and how they could be improved. I am sure the forum members and readers would enjoy a report on your visit as well.

    This invitation is open to anyone with questions about the context of our course material. Obviously distance will hamper most but I am always available by phone for questions, comments or discussion.

    I would also like to offer use of our extensive library to students, members and the boating public. Appointments are required and books can not be removed but the library is huge. I would even be bold enough to say one of the largest boating libraries in the area and is often used by the USCG for research.
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