Who Are We Guided Independent Study Course Information Student Center Design Center News job Site

All the boats pictured on this site were designed by Westlawn alumni.
Click here to see a gallery of alumni designs.

Westlawn alumni are prominent in the marine industry. Click here to see more.

Click here for information on Westlawn's short continuing education courses.

Click here to sign up for Westlawn’s free email journal, The Masthead, with: technical information, what’s happening at Westlawn, and boating industry updates.

Click here to order books, apparel and accessories.












Contact: Caroline Chetelat at ABYC

(410) 990-4460, x22

[email protected]



Westlawn Institute and PassageMaker Magazine Announce Design Competition

Challenge to Craft an Efficient Cost-Effective Cruiser To Advance Boating

Sponsored by Imtra Marine Lighting


October 1, 2008, Annapolis, MD:  The Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology is pleased to announce a new design competition in conjunction with PassageMaker magazine (PMM), and sponsored by Imtra Marine Lighting, with matching funds from ABYC.  The contest is similar to Westlawn’s sailboat design competitions of the past, with the difference that this challenge aims to find a new trawler design that is cruising capable, affordable, and economical for a couple on a budget to operate. 


Nordic Tug 42 designed by Westlawn alumnus Lynn Synour


For this competition, we profile the following fictional couple in search of a particular boat: Jane and Bob are in their mid-40s, and looking to take some time to go cruising in between other life commitments. They have a 5-year-old chocolate Lab, Bart, who loves the water and loves being aboard boats.  Jane and Bob got serious about boating in college.  Jane was on the varsity crew team at Villanova University, and Bob raced Lightnings at the University of Washington and later on Lake Michigan.  Jane’s parents, in their later years, cruised New England aboard their Chris-Craft, and the family has many fond memories of Block Island, Cape Cod, and Florida’s Biscayne Bay.  The boat they seek is one that intentionally compromises on luxury and amenities to achieve a desirable level of affordability and economy of operation.

Trawler catamaran sections by Westlawn student Livu-Eduard Armeanu


To give Jane and Bob the boat of their dreams, we have settled on the following criteria for the design contest.  The winning boat must sort through the many issues of vessel construction and integrity in a world of $6-a-gallon diesel.  While affordability and economy are subjective terms, to be sure, the winning design(s) will interpret these factors in realistic yet creative ways and will provide a design that a boatbuilder could produce for this market.

Motor cruiser lines by Westlawn student Will Allison

The following criteria are presented as critical in this competition:

  1. The design must be a powerboat capable of extended cruising in coastal and inland waters, such as the Great Circle Route and the Inside Passage to Southeast Alaska, as well as tropical cruising in the Caribbean and Mexico. Inland waterways will include bridges.
  2. The boat must be seaworthy but is not intended to cross oceans and therefore does not require the long range needed for such passages.
  3. The ergonomics of the vessel must be suitable for the crew: Jane is 5 feet 5 inches, Bob is 6 foot 2, and Bart weighs in at 65 lb. Basic tasks, such as moving around the boat under way and getting safely on and off in an anchorage or at a dock, are vital. Judges will look at such elements as handholds, railings, and other safety factors in the overall design. Dinghy storage and handling will also be reviewed.
  4. The design may have one or more hulls and may be traditional, modern, or radical.
  5. Length is not specified, but the winning design will offer adequate living spaces for the couple to live and cruise for extended periods (up to several months’ duration) within the constraints of construction affordability. The couple’s cruising plans do not require long-term self-sufficiency; it is expected that provisions and other supplies will be generally available.
  6. The designer must include a clear mission statement that explains the design spiral and how the requirements are met, all of which carry equal weight. The maximum length of this statement is 1,000 words.
  7. In addition to the above, the designer must include general specifications (LOA, beam, draft, displacement, D/L ratio, air draft), deck plans, arrangement plan, inboard profile, and at least four joiner cross sections, with at least one construction section at midships. Hull lines also are required.
  8. Drawings must be submitted to scale as either manual drawings or CAD files. CAD files may be submitted on CD, either in AutoCAD DWG or DXF format, and must be finished 2D drawings (not 3D files) ready to print. Print size is to be set up for paper no wider than 24 inches (609mm). Renderings must be submitted in JPEG or TIFF format. Manual drawings must be no larger than “E” size (36 by 48 inches; 914 by 1,219mm).
  9. Do not send original drawings. Drawings will not be returned.
  10. The design must not have been previously built or published elsewhere, other than in preview form on a designer’s website, before PMM’s announcement of the winner(s) in the September 2009 issue.
  11. No more than two designs may be submitted by any one entrant.
  12. The design remains the sole intellectual property of the designer, however, by submitting the design for this contest the designer grants PassageMaker & Westlawn Institute the right to publish the design as submitted for the purposes of this competition.
  13. The competition is open to all except employees of Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology, the American Boat & Yacht Council, or Dominion Enterprises, and their family members.


To enter, mail your design entry to:


PassageMaker Design Competition
Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology
613 Third St., Suite 10
Annapolis, MD 21403 USA


All entries must be postmarked no later than May 15, 2009.

The judges will be top designers and powerboat experts. They will judge entries in:


  • The design’s potential success and utility as a cruising boat;
  • How well the design meets the mission statement;
  • Beauty (classic, modern, or ultramodern) and innovation (whether in a modern or traditional design);
  • Ease of handling, comfort, and safety.


All criteria will have equal weight. The judges will select a group of 10 or 12 finalists from all entries. From the final group, one winner and up to four honorable mentions will be chosen. The wining design will be featured in an article concluding the competition, along with the honorable mentions designs. The winner will also receive their choice of either a $2,000 scholarship to Westlawn or a $1,000 cash prize.

Victory Tug designed by Westlawn alumnus Jim Backus


Imtra Marine Lighting is a leader in the design and manufacture of lighting for boats and a pioneer in marine LED lighting. Safe, dependable, and long-lasting, Imtra’s eco-friendly “green” LED lighting includes spots, fixtures, reading lights, courtesy lights, chart lights, engine rooms lights, and other LED products. Combined with its extensive line of switches, dimmers, and transformers, Imtra offers a complete one-stop-shop for marine lighting and delivers the most advanced solutions on the market. For more information, visit www.imtra.com.


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.