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For Immediate Release 04-36



What our alumni have to say about Westlawn


“I am so thrilled that I completed the course. It is very satisfying to achieve a goal that one sets oneself! I learned so much and I met some wonderful people along the way. Thank you to the whole Westlawn team.”

Adriana Monk – 2012

Director monkDESIGN


Former chief designer Wally Yachts



“As always, joining Westlawn was the best thing I ever did, work wise anyway. You should know I always thought it was crazy cheap to study at Westlawn.”

Ole Nielsen - 2014

Destino Yachts



“For three years now I am doing engineering/drafting work on (mostly) Aluminium yachts (Heesen, Feadship). Originally being and aeronautical engineer (bachelor degree) and enthusiastic sailor, the Westlawn lessons I’ve completed so far have given me the knowledge and skills I needed to get to my current job at the SeaLevel Yacht Design office.”

Dennis Nederhof – 2013

Sea Level Yacht Design



“You probably don't remember me, but I graduated from Westlawn in the early 80s . . . I really enjoyed the course - it was the right type of learning at the right time - and especially liked your helping me through some parts I had trouble with.  It took a while but I eventually opened my design office in 2001 in Nova Scotia near the historic town of Annapolis Royal (not far from Digby). I did a lot of things between completing the course and opening the office and am glad that happened as I feel it was time well spent learning about different aspects of design (in general), and how to build things . . .


I've been downloading The Masthead for a few years now, and like Professional Boatbuilder magazine I really enjoy the variety of topics touched on, and always read them cover-to-cover.  It was while reading the Dec. 2011 issue, especially the article "Four From Westlawn Contribute Notable Designs to Woodenboat's Design Challenge III" that I realized it was time to contact you.  Michael Schacht's and my Evergreen makes that five!  We had fun designing this cat together, and are in the construction drawing phase, though both of us are so busy that's it's hard to see when we'll be able to complete the design.


It sounds funny as I write this, but after completing the course I was worried about getting stuck in the habits of other designers by working in other offices, so I dabbled in design while working mostly in carpentry, boatbuilding, sailing, and Sea Urchin diving (5 years in the Fundy tides, in the winter!)  This turned out to be very helpful after all, as I do pretty much every bit of the design process now: modeling, drafting, stability work (including stability booklets for commercial fishing vessels), electrical, powering, rig design, tank testing, etc... And by working out of the home I've been able to be active in the community, and with my wife, spend a lot of time with our 10 year-old son as he's growing up: we take off exploring when he gets home from school, and we even canoe to school at times. These are things a “regular” job often doesn’t allow time for.  Maybe a good article could be on how boat designing can give you freedom to do things many people are waiting to do after retirement.  Actually, I realized I was retired a few years ago—if you define retirement as finally being able to do what you really love to do - while counting your pennies :-)


That's all. Back to work: a penance of fishing boat construction drawings for Transport Canada at this time.”

Laurie McGowan – 2012

McGowan Marine Design



“I would recommend Westlawn to anyone, it's so practical and so convenient to be able to work at the same time (I've learned just as much over the last few years with E.Y.E. Marine Consultants as I've learned through Westlawn).  Thanks for everything.”

Christa Specht - 2012

E.Y.E. Marine Consultants



“I was hired as production planner [at Morris Yachts].


Without question Westlawn helped me get this position. I actually first saw the posting for the job I had applied for over last winter on Westlawn's website. When I was in the interview, being able to show examples of the homework I had turned in with the content, the spreadsheets and word documents created, proved I had a handle on those programs, and had been learning the fundamentals of boat design.


I am looking at a big challenge, but diving in head first.”

Ace Eastman - 2011

Morris Yachts



Webb Institute graduate Carl Persak, works with his partner and Westlawn alumnus, Jermy Wurmfeld, at their design firm Persak & Wurmfeld. In Carl's recent article on their firm's management of the 281-foot Cakewalk V project, Carl had this to say about Westlawn . . .


“Time and time again, it was proven that the best equipped person to do the job was someone who could speak for the vessel as a whole, and no single decision was made without first considering stability, structural integrity, performance, or functionality. A naval architect with a background similar to the curriculum of the Westlawn program proved to be ideal . . .


Our parting point of wisdom that no mater how large how large or complex the yacht situation, use your skills taught at Westlawn to address the situation and you will overcome the challenge.”

Carl Persak - 2011

Persak & Wurmfeld


Click HERE to read the full article by Carl Persak


“Thank you, I really enjoyed the course [BC 401 Fiberglass Boat Design & Construction]. From a boat building perspective, and being in the industry for 30+ years, I thought that the curriculum was well written and covered some very important topics. Thanks again for everything.”

Charlie Reeves - 2011

Director, Lamination Quality & Processes

Brunswick Recreational Boat Group

Knoxville, TN



“July, 1948, one month after graduating from high school, I enrolled in the Westlawn School of Yacht Design. After completing about 65% of the course, I landed a job at Sparkman and Stephens, Inc., Naval Architects, the most prestigious yacht design firm in the world at the time. The chief engineer was impressed by the samples of my designs done for the tests in the Westlawn course. I left the job in Sept. 1952 to complete the course, graduated April 1953, and returned to Sparkman and Stephens as a design draftsman.


Feb. 1955 I started my own design practice and am still busy designing boats.


Westlawn teaches its students to do the work that a Naval Architect does and has to do to earn a living in the profession.


Westlawn still does an outstanding job. Some time ago graduated from the Computer-Aided Yacht Design and Construction course. The instructors were always available by phone to talk me through any problems I had. I learned how to design a boat by computer, convert the design to a DXF file on disk which can drive a cutting machine to configure a hull plug for fiberglass mold. Plans are in the works for just such a project.


About 15 years ago, the head of the New York State Dept. of Education became very interested in Westlawn education methods.


A high percentage of boats built today are designed by Westlawn-trained designers. Examples include Jack Hargrave, Tom Fexas, myself, and many others.


I recommend Westlawn to anyone desiring to become a yacht designer or commercial boat designer.”

David P. Martin – 2011

Brigantine, NJ

Dave Martin Design Gallery


“Last Friday we did the stability test of our recently launched 43-meter motoryacht (I am working in the study office in JFA Shipyard, France). I am glad that for the first time I was directly involved in the process and could understand all of it easily. Before that I had just a rough idea of what was going on . . . and this is just one of the numerous examples of the applications of ETD [Elements of Technical Boat Design] in my work since I started so I am really glad to follow it!”


Guillaume Bihet-LeRouzic – 2011

JFA Shipyard

Concarneau, France


Click HERE to see photos and details of the 43-meter motoryacht.


“The skills that I learned as a Westlawn student enabled me to obtain a good position as a yacht designer in a well known design office soon after completing the course. After several years there, I was able to open my own office.”

Alfred J. (Jay) Coyle - 2011

Naval Architect


Jay-Coyle Designs


“I enrolled in Westlawn in 1968 while still in the Navy, completing my lessons at sea in the chart room of the ship. I continued studying until August of 1974 when I had a design published in "Motor Boating & Sailing."


I am currently a NAMS surveyor in Annapolis and have had my own successful business for over 16 years. I have been employed by two yacht yards and the US Navy. I spent three years on the drawing board primarily working for the Navy but doing some independent smaller design projects.


In the last 20 years I have traveled to 40 countries surveying all manner of vessels from ocean going tugs and floating dry docks to yachts and high speed patrol boats.


Many thanks for helping me establish a rewarding and wonderful career.”

John Howell NAMS CMS – 2011

Annapolis, MD


“Westlawn was a real turning point for me. I did a couple years of Mechanical Engineering, and mixed that in with boatbuilding, sailmaking and chandlery, but nothing really clicked until I started Westlawn. It is the real world of yacht design where they mix science with art which is as it should be. I know fellow designers that have taken both NA degrees as well as Westlawn, and they have all said that Westlawn was the thing that rounded out everything.


Worth it? Yes, definitely.


Their [Westlawn] Instructors are real-world designers that have been there, done that. When I took the course, it was all done longhand with no computers. Since then they have almost gone 180-degrees and CAD and computers are a huge part of it.”

Kevin  Dibley – 2011

Design Director



“Westlawn certainly pays, we've just signed 3 new contracts and 1 still pending for 4 new designs:


1) Working with Tommy Ericsson (general manager of Aluminium Boats Australia) we're working on a new 31 ft Aluminium centre-console for a Hong Kong client to go into production.


2) A 27 ft strip plank composite Carolina style dentre console for Kelvin from Sydney, a member of the Game Fishing Association, where they chase Marlin and the like up to 40nm offshore.


3) A 24 ft strip plank composite Carolina style offshore cruising design for Charlie- Tasmania. (pending - custom production)


4) A 16 ft plywood offshore design similar in nature to the RipTide CX457.


So keep working at your exams and with a bit of hard work afterwards, it will pay.



Mark Bowdidge - 2011

Bowdidge Marine Design

Moorland QLD, Australia



“I started working for Ocean Yacht part time as the clean-up man, sweeping floors and cleaning the bathrooms. Then, I landed a full-time position in the rough-woodworking crew and was able to work my way up to finish-woodworker. From there, I got a position in research and development. The week I enrolled into Westlawn I was made lead man of R&D. Two year later I was promoted to foreman of R&D and production engineering. When I got to the advanced level of Westlawn, my title became engineering supervisor. When I graduated Westlawn, I started working part time with naval architect David P. Martin (designer of Ocean Yachts [also a Westlawn graduate]) while keeping my full-time position as engineering supervisor with Ocean Yachts. Not to bad for the clean-up man.


I moved on from my position at Ocean Yachts in 2007, with the 37 Billfish being my final design project. With 20 some years at Ocean, it was time to see what other opportunities were out there for me. I received a position at CABO yachts as new product development and lamination technical manager. After a approximately 10 months, I was promoted to head of engineering and chief of design. We designed new models such as 36 Express, 38 Flybridge and 52 Flybridge. Currently CABO has moved to the East Coast and me and my family with it. I currently enjoy designing new product and manage integrating this product through a new facility. Whoever thought my Westlawn diploma would take me and my family from one coast to the other and back again... Can't wait to see where it takes me next. – Thank you Westlawn and staff.”

Michael Hartline - 2011

Cabo Yachts

New Bern, NC



From an Employer:

“It was a wonderful day for me personally to be able to present a second diploma to a Westlawn graduate since taking over the Hargrave company. I want to thank Westlawn for making all this possible not only for Greg Boyko, but for the entire Hargrave family. We take great pride in our company's long history with Westlawn, and the list of honored recipients to receive a Westlawn diploma who not only played an important role in our company, but in the yachting industry overall is impressive indeed. Keep up the great work!”

Michael Joyce – 2011

CEO Hargrave Custom Yachts

Hargrave Custom Yachts


“There was a big resurgence in interest in mahogany runabouts . . ., and Paul Jacques, the owner of Dutch Wharf, decided to build a 25-footer and wanted me involved. That was a ‘downtime’ project, but there was never much downtime so it took four years to complete. I became even more interested in constructing boats, so I started the Yacht & Boat Design course at the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology. I’ve completed the first two modules, and it’s the best thing I ever did.”

Ole Nielsen - 2011


The runabout Ole later designed and built entirely on his own, Destino, was selected as the best powerboat at the 2011 Newport International Boat Show.


“I could have saved the Gov. money if I'd only had [Westlawn course] TT 500  [Metal Corrosion in Boats] years ago!”

Roger Mays – 2011

Small Boat Manager/Captain

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)



Historical Testimonials


“It has been interesting for me to look at your [Westlawn] Web Site and to know that after over 70 years, the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology, as it is now named, is still operating. In 1930, I enrolled as a student with the Westlawn School of Yacht Design and gained my Diploma in Advanced Yacht Design on 15th June 1939, signed by Gerald Taylor White [co-founder of Westlawn]. It was the start of the Second World War, and I was seconded into essential industry where I was the Draughtsman Designer with Shipbuilders Ltd. This firm was engaged in the building of Minesweepers and Fairmile Patrol Boats for the N.Z. Navy. Then, when the U.S. entered the war after the attack on Pearl Harbour, we were building 114 foot Powered Lighters for the U.S. Army and the Navy. At the age of 92, I would probably be the oldest living past student of Westlawn.


Fairmiles that were built here in Auckland, NZ were 112 feet in length and I think had about an 18 foot beam. There were twelve built for the NZ Navy and they were designed in Britain. The frames were laminated and they were shipped to us from India .We built the boats with Kauri timber, a very good native timber often used here for boat building. The boats were powered with three 600 H.P. triple screw Hall Scott gas engines each.”

Thomas C. (Tim) Windsor – 2004

New Zealand



After the war, Tim continued his design career with his first commission of a 27-foot patrol launch for the New Zealand Coast Guard, and then with may sailing and power boats.


“For those of us whose school notebooks were embroidered with boat sketches, the practice of yacht design is just being paid for doing what we like best. Training, such as the Westlawn course, is essential to make this possible. It did this for me.”

J.B. Hargrave – January, 1993

Naval Architect

West Palm Beach, FL

Jack Hargrave Biography

Hargrave Custom Yachts


“If you are the kind of person that seeks rewards beyond the monetary boundaries, there is nothing so gratifying as seeing your design take shape and finally sail away. The Westlawn School of Yacht Design course can extract those talents from our creative genes.”

William H. (Bill) Shaw - 1991

Executive Vice President

Pearson Yachts

Rhode Island

Good Old Boat – Pearson History


“All of us in education know, of course, that learning is dependent not so much on what a student is told, but upon what he does in the process. I had never taken a correspondence course before, but my experience with NAEBM-Westlawn thoroughly sustains this concept.”

John J. Theobald, Ph.D.

New York, NY – 1972


Westlawn graduate, Dr. Theobald was President of Queens College, Deputy Mayor of New York City, Superintendent of Schools in New York City, and Executive Vice President of New York Institute of Technology.


CLICK HERE to read still more, older archived testimonials