Naval Architecture Schools

I am looking at different courses in naval architecture and would appreciate any opinions you have. I am not employed in the boating industry, but figure that studying naval architecture could be helpful for both my interest in sailing, and as a future possible career path following a planned period of extended cruising. I have a degree in engineering. I have considered going back to university to do a masters (for example at Michigan), but I think this may miss the point; probably too academically focussed and esoteric research based. I have also looked at The Landing School in Maine, and Westlawn Institute distance courses. Unfortunately, I am having a tough time finding any independent opinion on any of the above avenues. I would appreciate it greatly if you have any opinions, or could suggest an alternative. Thanks & regards, Paul PS your publications are most interesting.

Hi Paul: You pose an interesting question. My opinion is that it is much more important to gain a first hand understanding of the sea, and how one lives aboard a boat at sea and at anchor, than it is to have a lot of technical knowledge. If you know the right questions to ask, and how to shade the thousands of tradeoffs based on having “been there,” you are way ahead of the game. The actual process of yacht design is pretty straightforward–and I’m sure you could pick up the basics at any of the brick and mortar schools, or with a correspondence course. But going sailing for a while, and then maybe working in a boat yard will have more value than probably 80% of the book learning. Good Luck–Steve

Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)

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