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Designing Men

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Designing Men

We probably don’t spend enough time on technical issues, especially around design issues. Everybody has heard of the Webb Institute of Naval Architecture, and we’d guess that a few of you have looked into it. For the rest of us, current Webb student Seth Cooley gives the scoop.

Olin Stephens was undoubtedly one of the greatest Naval Architects of all time. His designs defended the America’s Cup eight times and he revolutionized offshore racing with Dorade, just as two examples. Stephens attended MIT for one semester, but dropped out and began designing fast boats, so he is also unique by today’s standards in that he had little or no formal education. In his day, this was not unheard of. Stephens said of his Naval Architecture career, “I started then at 90 percent intuitive and 10 percent scientific, if you want to say that. And that I ended up more like 50/50 and since I’ve been retired the thing has gone to 80 or 90 percent scientific and 10 or 20 percent of intuitive.”