Westlawn’s Fourth Annual
Mystic Meet Draws 47
Youngest Graduate Receives
Diploma; First Cum Laude Graduate; Another
Graduates in just 2-1/2
August 6 2009, Mystic, CT: On Saturday, July 25, forty-seven
students and guests turned out for Westlawn’s fourth annual student Mystic
Meet. This event takes place each July at Westlawn’s campus located in Mystic
Students and guests were
treated to a rare behind-the-scenes guided tour of The Charles W. Morgan—the
oldest whaling ship in the world and the last surviving ship of her kind.
Mystic Seaport Museum has hauled the ship out for restoration and generously
provided Westlawn students with the opportunity to closely study her
construction from the inside.
Westlawn Director, Dave
Gerr, awarded diplomas to two of Westlawn’s recent graduates: Milo Fienberg for
completing Elements of Technical Boat Design, and Christopher O‘Connor for
earning his Professional Diploma in Yacht and Boat Design; both remarkable
students in their own right for their particular achievements.
Gerr (left) presents Milo Feinberg with his diploma
Milo, age 18, is the
youngest student ever to enroll in and also the youngest student ever to
graduate from a Westlawn design course. Starting the 1-module Elements of
Technical Boat Design course when he was just 16, Milo had begun sailing in
Castine, on the Penobscot Bay in Maine, at the age of five. He's had the
opportunity to sail on everything from a replica sandbagger, to a New York 32,
to a W-76, to a Concordia Yawl. He's even had the chance to race with Olin
Stephens! Milo is now headed to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this
fall, where he plans to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering with a
concentration in ocean engineering.
O’Connor (left) receives his diploma from Dave Gerr
Chris O’Connor, is a 1983
graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, at Kings Point, NY, and of the
U.S. Navy Officers’ Nuclear Propulsion Program in 1984. Completing the entire,
4-module Westlawn Yacht & Boat Design program in four years, he is the
first student to be awarded cum laude honors from Westlawn for receiving a
grade higher than 90% on his final design thesis.
Westlawn’s Director, Dave
Gerr, stated, “It’s a rare treat, as director of a distance-learning school, to
be able to award diplomas in person. It was even more satisfying to be
presenting these awards to two such dedicated and talented individuals.”
After the graduation
ceremony, Dave Gerr, presented a seminar on planing hull design. It was an
in-depth and detailed presentation with plenty of examples of real boats with
problems as well as examples of boats that ran well. Students were busy taking
notes and were challenged to demonstrate their understanding by analyzing the
behavior of existing vessels that had had difficulties. Gerr noted, “I’ve given
this seminar several times before in other venues, and this was the first time
that, by the end of the talk, the attendees actually identified almost all the
features that were causing problems.”
During a break for lunch at
the Seaman’s Inne, students, alumni, and guests took advantage of the congenial
atmosphere to get to know each other better, renew old friendships, and to
discuss the morning activities.
Later that afternoon, Gerr presented his second
lecture on Critical Details in Boat Design, in which he discussed such
subjects as dry and wet exhaust systems, sea chests, rudder foil shape
optimization, remote helm stations, soft patches and the importance of
machinery access, roll reduction, anchor handling considerations, and more. The
remainder of the afternoon was devoted to one-on-one reviews and critiques of
design work, which students had brought to the meeting, as well as to answering
As in past years, students said they were reenergized and
excited by the Meet and they all expressed the sentiment, "We have to do
this again next year."
Graduates in Just 2-1/2 Years!
another remarkable student graduated from Westlawn this summer but was unable
to attend the Mystic Meet to receive his diploma in person. Eric Holohan
enrolled in Module 1 of the full Yacht & Boat Design Program in January
2007. He completed his design thesis for Module 4 in July 2009. Graduation from
the full Westlawn program in 2-1/2 years is one of the fastest times ever,
and—while doing Westlawn—Eric also completed the Lloyds marine surveying course
as well as becoming an ABYC Marine Master Tech!
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
■ 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.
more about Westlawn, please call (860) 572-7900 or visit the Westlawn website