YDS Students or Grads Speak Up!

Discussion in 'Education' started by BGWard, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. FatBear
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Location: Scappoose, OR

    FatBear Junior Member

    I had the same experience when I enrolled at Westlawn some years ago. I was a computer engineer at the time and couldn't understand why I could not do my lessons on CAD. But that wasn't why I dropped out. Back then you communicated by phone and sent your lessons in by mail. They were on the east coast and I was on the west and with a full time job I could never talk to them on the phone. So I would do my lessons in the evenings and write questions along with them. I finally quit when I asked an involved question and the answer came back "No". No help, no suggestion, no teaching, just "No". I guess they had my money and weren't expecting more, so why waste their time.

    But this was a long time ago and as I have said elsewhere, everything changes in this world. Maybe they have, too. I have the highest respect for Dave Gerr - his design sense and his ability to communicate. Maybe he has wrought some change at Westlawn. But I don't know.

    Right now my biggest objection to Westlawn is one that should actually make them attractive to someone looking for a job in the industry: they appear to stress really modern designs. I have aged a few years since my Westlawn days and after many years of owning my own business I am way too independent to go to work for a firm designing production boats. And I don't really like the kind of bulgy, over-inflated looking boats that seem to be popular these days. At this point I'm just looking to expand from my life-long love of boats and my occasional bouts of boat-building into designing the boats that I build. So maybe I'll go the YDS route or maybe I'll just read the books and do the best I can with that. We'll see. My wife wants to buy a schooner and study whales...
     
  2. sailboatlarry
    Joined: Apr 2012
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    Location: Marathon, fl

    sailboatlarry New Member

    I know this is an old thread hope to get a reply.

    Any options for a person who is a live aboard sailor? I would need to do most work in CAD. The thought of ripping out my galley to install a drafting table leaves me with no food for thought.

    If Herreshoff had a 27 inch monitor would he have worried about a sharp pencil? Just a thought.
     
  3. M.Ezell
    Joined: Oct 2008
    Posts: 16
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    Location: Portland, OR

    M.Ezell Engineer, PE

    CAD Only option

    Hi There,

    YDS encourages CAD only. Mr. MacNaughton lives aboard and is the head designer and instructor. The space limitations for living aboard are why he encourages CAD. Rhino is the software used in the program. Westlawn should have a CAD only program by now but not sure. If you go with drafting I think a chart table might work, but I would think there are very few firms left that use manual drafting.
     
  4. CaptScot
    Joined: Aug 2004
    Posts: 45
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 27
    Location: New Jersey

    CaptScot Junior Member

    Hi, I'm a Westlawn student. In the beginning lessons require manual drafting, but later done in Rhino. My passion and experience is with wood boats. At Westlawn I've never felt any persuasion to produce only modern designs. My instructor only pointed out that with wood, I'd have to always consider framing space between the hull and interior surfaces. Whereas, in glass its not really an issue.

    As far as "very few firms left using manual drafting", I and a few other Westlawn student where just on a personal tour of Viking Yacht in New Gretna, NJ. There in the design offices was one naval architect, an older gentleman, who was manually drafting on a very large table because he preferred to. I like the preciseness of CAD drafting, but I learned manual drafting years ago. To me, manual has more of a hands-on feel.

    Westlawn, the instructors, Dave Gerr and fellow students, I can't say enough good things of them all. The school is excellent in every way. In May Westlawn had a meet & greet weekend gathering at their Annapolis, MD offices. There was much to see, tour and time to discuss yacht design. On the floor above we toured Bruce Farr Yacht Design. An extremely state of the art firm. As a Westlawn student, besides the course program, I definitely feel in the loop for this profession. It's good to know on a personal level like-minded souls who are already doing this for a living.
     
  5. M.Ezell
    Joined: Oct 2008
    Posts: 16
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    Location: Portland, OR

    M.Ezell Engineer, PE

    Hi CptScott,

    I've read several of your posts. Glad you started your program. I do agree with you that manual drafting has a nice feel. I did study drafting as part of my education (Mechanical Engineer), and there is something very special and cool about a hand drafted drawing done by someone who knows what they are doing. But I have only used manual drafting to revise a few old legacy drawings at my first employer in 1995, and only on a few occasions. I have used only CAD for my regular daily work my entire career. All engineering employers are looking for competency with CAD in their employees. Also, I think working and living aboard would make manual drafting very difficult. In my younger days I lived aboard an old wooden sloop (a Kettenburg 40) and I would not have been able to set up a drafting station. Please don't get me wrong, I do not think that manual drafting has no value, only that it is not practical. Particularly for Larry's situation.
     
  6. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Yes they do. But those are people who have gone on to be a success in the industry. I am one of those listed who did not finished the course (and regretted it ever since) but went on to have a successful career. I have even been one of the people who was asked by the agency that accredits Westlawn to review Westlawn's course material for accuracy. That was truly an honor. So do not think that listing some who have not completed the course diminishes the value of Westlawn's course, or for that matter YDI's.

    I know a little of YDI's course and it appears to me to be a good course. However, anyone considering distance learning must take into account their own motivation and determination to finish. Not everyone is suited to distance learning. It requires a lot of self discipline, far more than in a regular classroom course. No one is looking over your shoulder. You have to schedule time to do the work and discipline yourself to get it done. I was serving in the Coast Guard and frankly most of my assignments were 24/7 jobs. They left little time for extracurricular activities. But I did complete my Bachelors through distance learning. So it can be done. The school is not to blame. If students do not finish it is their responsibility.
     
  7. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    I might add that I started the Westlawn course in 1975 when Norm Nudelman was running it. Back then there was still an emphasis on wood design but also fiberglass and metal. Mechanical drawing was required, but that was not a problem for me. My first drawing course was in 1960 in Jr high and I took every mechanical drawing course in High school. One of my first jobs was as a draftsman. Yes you do need a lot of stuff to do good mechanical drawing. Yes those damn ducks cost a lot and if you buy enough, weigh a ton! I still prefer a good drawing to CAD drawing, and have since learned CAD, but not Rhino.

    But if you really want to learn to draw well try drawing on mylar in ink. It will really teach you not to make mistakes! Erasing mistakes in CAD is so much easier.

    Since then the course has been greatly updated and many things are now included that were not in the original. I also have known Dave Gerr for many years and have great respect for him, the job he is doing (he got it, I didn't), and his books.

    Anyone who has an interest in Westlawn should talk directly to Dave. No one is more knowledgeable about Westlawn and the courses offered. Of course he will prefer Westlawn over YDI! it's his job! But I also believe he will give you straight answers to your questions.
     
  8. BASIL J WALL
    Joined: Nov 2011
    Posts: 19
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    Location: Canada

    BASIL J WALL designer

    Further Info On Yds Courses

    Hi...I hope what I have to say about the YDS courses will be of interest to future students...
    First....In the past ( 1970"s) I have designed and built small wooden sailboats..
    canoes, tris, cats, " smaller lightnings "....no drawings involved...just by eye...
    I taught Physics for about 30 y...reasonably well according to some reports...
    In the last 15 y I have restored and sailed, a derelict, steel, pilot house, cutter..all the boating stuff was as an amateur and I thought I knew something about boats...little did I know...
    Second...I have completed the CAD course from Tom MacNaughton, with Nathan Shawl as instructor and I have worked up to lesson 4B in the YDS course...
    spending about 400 h on the 4 lessons with Tom as instructor...
    Now for the pros and cons about the courses...The CAD course is fantastic ...I learned to create 3D drawings of any boat I chose using RHINO..I had not done any previous work with drawing programs....The feedback was almost instantaneous and very comprehensive ...The YDS course is very challenging and I have been able to draw a fast sailboat with PC = 100 using Tom's ideas about the fairing of diagonals ( which I like )...I feel that I have now learned a little about the theory and practice of designing a boat which I had only an intuitive glimpse of before...
    The one very frustrating aspect of the YDS course is the feedback time...
    Tom is handling all the students by himself, plus designing in his own office and trying to do research etc., etc.....sometimes it takes a month to get a response...but the effort Tom puts into these corrections is worth its weight in "gold"....He puts lots of effort and time into them...sometimes too much, considering the price of the lessons....but that is another story...Tom is very conscientious and thorough and knowledgeable...but wants the material done his way...
    I have only one bit of advice about doing this course ...Do exactly what the lesson asks for, the first time and with luck and effort you will get a pass on the lesson... but if you have a correction to do then it may take more than a month to get the next correction back...and sometimes you will have forgotten what the problem was...this makes it tough to keep momentum going
    If the YDS feedback was as timely as the CAD course then this YDS course would have my full support
     
  9. BASIL J WALL
    Joined: Nov 2011
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    Location: Canada

    BASIL J WALL designer

    replying to me

    Hi...again...
    Just thought you might like to know that I have introduced a completely new term to the study of Naval Architecture.....but I have no idea what its future will be...a PC = 100 is a new ratio....hope you like it...
    However D/L ratio = 100 is probably more to the point and better understood, at least in North America...These dimensional ratios in the British system are a pain especially when I am used to the SI system of dimensionLESS RATIOS
    Bye
     
  10. jpb
    Joined: Oct 2006
    Posts: 9
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    Location: Germany

    jpb Yacht Design Student

    Hallo Basil,
    thanks a lot for the interesting information. How many hours did you spend to complete the CAD course?

    Jan
     

  11. BASIL J WALL
    Joined: Nov 2011
    Posts: 19
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    Location: Canada

    BASIL J WALL designer

    I don't recall the actual hours for the CAD course but it took about 1 year , perhaps a few hours every few days...that's a pretty rough estimate however..
    Basil
     
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