Email if you can!  But if you need a friendly voice call:207-249-5313
What's New
01/06/2024 – As we update this site using a new web development software package called “openElement” we must remind our friends that our telephone number has changed to 207-249-5313 and our mailing address and office location is now at 77 Washington Street, Eastport, Maine 04631. Learning a new package, and figuring out how to use it with the existing web site, which was created with very different software, which is no longer available, is a slow process, given all our regular work.
We continue to be gratified by the number of students who get work in the field quite early in their studies. When we started the school, we assumed that students would need to go through the entire main curriculum to be confident of getting a job immediately. However, our curriculum teaches a number of things which just aren’t taught elsewhere. This tends to show up in student’s design work such that the lines, and appearance of the drawings and the yachts themselves tend to “sell” the student to employers. Of course, despite the efforts of ourselves, and our students, we must also acknowledge that there is a tremendous shortage of decently trained people in our industry, which tends to create a feeling that an employer should grab our students before somebody else does, even if they haven’t completed all that many lessons yet.
As our current students know, we constantly revise our lessons to make them as complete and straight forward to learn from as possible. The results of our on-going research are incorporated as we complete individual studies. At present we are working on making the combined Lessons 12 and 13 on materials science, structural analysis, and testing as self-contained as possible. They have always potentially been expensive for the student in that they required either access to our library by residential students, or purchase of a number of engineering text books. We are working through the massive project of creating a synthesis of the relevant knowledge in these books so that students can get a good grounding without buying all the references. As appropriate, we indicate where further study could be done by buying particular books. As I write this Jay Majors who teaches the CAD Course is painstakingly revising that curriculum to make sure student knowledge will as complete and up to date as possible.
Late in 2023 we added a 36’x 10’ (11m x 3m) workshop and test facility, which we will be equipping this year. We hope to design and build a solar panel, battery, and inverter system which will provide lighting and power for this space. Designing, assembling, and teaching about solar power systems for boats has given us a moderately good grasp of this subject. For a facility like this the expense is not all that great.
There will be lesson price increases at Yacht Design School sometime this year. We haven’t raised tuition for quite a few years, and we have to do it, though this round of price rises will not completely keep up with inflation. Because we don’t spend money on fancy offices, or hot and cold running secretaries, and we all work from our home offices, our pricing is much lower than anyone who might be thought of as a competitor. Still, we do understand that folks in a few countries find the cost of our lessons tough to afford. At the same time, feedback from students indicates that some worry that we aren’t charging enough. Our pricing model focuses on whether our faculty is getting enough compensation for their efforts, so they can afford to teach. Other considerations are: How do we avoid excluding too many people from countries which don’t provide enough income to allow people to easily attend YDS? Finally, though we are confident we have superior curricula, how much less than our competitors can we charge before people actually hesitate to sign up with us because we seem too inexpensive? We are a tiny fraction of the cost of a conventional college education and you aren’t going to have to take out any loans. At the same time our certificates and professional degree are going to get you a higher income than a degree in English with a specialty in Chaucer is likely to.
Our greatest dream is that we could give scholarships to those who have a financial need. It would not take all that much invested money to make sure that we could pay our instructors for teaching and any research work and lesson revisions out of 5% of the investment’s value per year. This would allow us to grant scholarships, with those paying the full lesson costs knowing that we would add that to the endowment to allow us to expand YDS as needed.
This brings up the point that, if anyone has expertise in coaching people through building an endowment, we know how much we would need to allow us to provide scholarships to anyone who would find our education a financial hardship. A full endowment to cover all present costs and allow for the greater number of students a scholarship program would bring in would require an invested value of the endowment of $3,600,000. It isn’t all that much to permanently fund the largest school in the yacht design industry. We would love to get to that point. This would be enough so that the endowment should expand on its own in excess of the inflation rate and allow for any additional expansion over time.
It occurs to me as I re-read the above body of text that there is a distinct lack of “salesmanship” and Madison Avenue “puff”. This has been true from the school’s beginning 35 years ago. Notice we don’t call YDS an “institute” or “college”. We don’t call our instructors “professors” and I don’t call myself “president” or “chancellor”. I’m just the Director. We are here for those who want us, and do no advertising beyond this web site. Given this low key approach it is remarkable to me that we have grown to be such a successful complete program of yacht and small craft naval architecture. This year in addition to the CAD Course Certificate, there will also be Yacht Draftsman Certificate for those completing the Main Curriculum Lessons 1 through 11. This acknowledges that the furthest a student actively looking for entry level work in the field has gotten in the course before getting a good position is one gentleman who was just starting Lesson 10. He got a job with a prestigious company, and now runs his own design firm. Those completing the entire Main Curriculum will receive our professional degree in Naval Architecture with a specialty in Yacht and Small Craft design.
Our work load is heavy enough so that I should note, yet again, that updating this page tends to be infrequent. It has been suggested that the name should be changed to “What’s New This Millenium”. In any case we are always available for those with questions about the school, or yacht design in general. Email generally gets you the most complete considered reply and can be kept to refer to. However sometimes you just want to hear a human voice, and that’s what you get when you call us.