Colleges: Shipmaking Tautly Taught

From Jason's Argo to the America's Cup winner Constellation, good ship architecture has always depended heavily on intuition. But feel-of-the-sea design is increasingly tested and checked by the complex sciences of fluid dynamics and molecular stress. Nowhere in the U.S. are ancient skills and new techniques taught more tautly than at New York's Webb Institute of Naval Architecture, a Long Island college whose 70 students get room, board, books and tuition free, and almost always wind up at the top of their profession.

For centuries master shipwrights taught their jealously guarded trade...

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