We’re a bit late posting this, but thought it worthwhile as ya gotta love it when kids say, "this is it – i am going to make a career in this sport."
I have grown up on Lake St. Clair, sailing since age 3 when my father decided to learn how to sail starting with buying a repo’ed 1976 Catalina 27. I did junior sailing at BYC for seven years racing in Optis, 420s, and 29ers traveling around the country hitting the whatever regattas we could afford and it has always been great. There are pictures of me at age 5 making model sailboats that I’d drop in the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club harbor attached to a string. I have also sailed in 2 Port Huron Macs (2010 class win), a Chicago Mac, and the Super Mac.
So after everything I’ve seen so far there’s nothing more intriguing than sailboats, and I’m sure many people agree with that. I had thought of a career as a Naval Architect just in passing so I set down to research it about a year and a half ago. Turns out only a handful of colleges in the country actually offer a degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, kind of sad when you consider that about 95% of goods in the USA pass through our ports.
So far I have found that there really is not that much information or help out there for someone trying to pursue this career. It’s a pretty tight knit field. I turned to Sailing Anarchy forums for some help, posting my situation and asking for any tips whatsoever. Feedback came almost immediately and kept pouring in. I have gotten about 25 PM’s–some paragraphs long–of advice. I really felt the camaraderie here, so many people are willing to help and I really don’t know where I’d be now without their advice. Bob Perry the designer even messaged me.
Now this all came at just the right time too. I was-and still am-playing the dreaded waiting game for college acceptance so the kind of reassurance everyone gave me really helped my solidify my future plans. I got a message from at least one anarchist from almost all of the schools with programs relating to Naval Architecture. As of right now I am wait listed to the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering for NA&ME and it’s my dream to go there. If I don’t get in my freshman year I will transfer in as soon as possible from elsewhere.
Meanwhile I am trying to sail as much as possible on as many different boats as possible to really gain a feel and hunch for the way our boats work. I always try to be friendly and talk around. It’s my goal to earn a spot on one of the Great Lakes/ Santa Cruz 70s, even if it’s doing transports. Hopefully by then I will be able to transition to Ocean racing where it all really happens. So far my efforts have been to no avail but heck I’m young, I just don’t have connections yet.
This is all in addition to reading as many Naval Architecture books I can get my hands on-they get expensive! Trust me it’s better than fiction, you can’t beat this kind of stuff! I feel like sailing has turned into homework, it’s great, and my parents can’t really complain about that. I can’t emphasize enough how much the SA thread helped, I never would have expected the responses I received. If there are any Anarchists willing to take sailing sometime I’m all ears.
Bayview Yacht Club Member
Future Naval Architect
High School Senior in Grosse Pointe, Michigan