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Contact: Caroline Chetelat at ABYC

(410) 990-4460, x22

[email protected]



Westlawn Holds “Mystic Meet”

Rod Johnstone Talk Highlights Third Annual Student Gathering


September 3, 2008, Annapolis, MD:  The Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology held its third annual “Mystic Meet” July 26 – 27, 2008 in Mystic, Connecticut.  Westlawn, the world’s only accredited distance-learning institution teaching boat design and related subjects hosts this annual event to allow students and teachers the opportunity to interact face-to-face at the Westlawn home office situated on the campus of the historic Mystic Seaport Museum.  Attending were 41 students and guests from the United States and abroad.


Rod Johnstone presenting to a rapt Westlawn audience


Students participated in several activities over the two days, including a tour of Mystic Seaport’s model collection, which features nearly every type and size of model of nearly every type and size of boat and a tour of the Ship’s Plans Collection.  There was a cruise of Mystic River on the steamboat Sabino, with a brief visit to the engineroom and time to see the Seaport’s regular collection of boats on view. 


Students examining plans at Mystic Seaport’s Ships Plans Library


A major highlight of the event was a presentation by Rod Johnstone, who is the founder, original designer and the driving force behind J-Boats.  Rod is also a Westlawn alumnus, and discussed the history of J-Boats, recounted some his personal sailing experiences and answered questions.  Rod’s talk was followed by one-on-one critiques and review of student drawings, followed by a question and answer period.  Discussion ranged from the practicality of tractor-kite sails, to drafting technique, the importance of weight calculations and detailed specifications, to the future of the boating industry.


Mystic Seaport’s Sabino, with the Seaport’s Marshall Catboat on the left.


Dave Gerr, Westlawn Director said, “Rod’s presentation was riveting and we were honored to have him as a speaker.  Students enjoyed all the activities and were reenergized and excited by the Meet.  Universally everyone who attended expressed that we have to do this again next year!”


For students who weren’t able to attend, students will have another opportunity to meet Westlawn Director Dave Gerr and Instructor Stu Waring at the Westlawn booth at IBEX, 2008. Westlawn students get free admission and half-price on all seminars.


Mystic Seaport – The Museum of America and the Sea – is the nation’s leading maritime museum presenting the American experience from a maritime perspective. Located along the banks of the historic Mystic River in Mystic, Connecticut, the Museum houses extensive collections representing the material culture of maritime America and offers educational programs from preschool to post-graduate. For more information, call (888) 973-2767 or visit www.mysticseaport.org.



Founded in 1930, the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology is the only nationally accredited and state-certified distance-learning school of small-craft design in the United States. As the not-for-profit educational affiliate of the American Boat and Yacht Council, the mission of the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology is threefold:

■ To provide our students with the skills and knowledge required to build a rewarding career in the profession of yacht and small-craft naval architecture.

■ To support continued growth of the recreational and small-craft marine community through the development of well-trained, safety-oriented, boat designers developing better products for the benefit of the boating public.

■ To provide continuing education to marine-industry professionals.

To learn more about Westlawn, please call (860) 572-7900 or visit the Westlawn website at: www.westlawn.edu.