student wins international yacht design competition

LTU transportation design student Jeffery Summers took first place in an international yacht design competition and has earned a three-month internship in the Netherlands, where he will be working with Sea Level Yacht Design and Engineering and Dutch shipyard Heesen Yachts on a new yacht concept based on his winning design.

Yacht Design Winner - Jeff Summers
Transportation design senior Jeff Summers lines up a display of his proposed 
yacht design that took first place in an international competition. 

Summers learned about the competition on Instagram and quickly put together plans for a 50-meter yacht with a new profile and sundeck. The jury panel selected six of the 26 entries from around the world to be presented on social media. The top three were chosen based on popularity on social media as well as final input from the judges.

Summers and the other two finalists from Italy and Lithuania were invited to the Monaco Yacht Show on the French Riviera in September. In addition to having almost all of his expenses paid, he got to board several super yachts in the show – a privilege ordinarily reserved for serious buyers.

Summers began drawing boats as a boy when his family had an Algonac cottage with a view of Lake St. Clair’s south channel used by large freighters. He began his college career as an engineering major at Western Michigan University and then transferred to LTU to take transportation design.

Even though LTU’s degree program focuses primarily on automotive design, Summers plans to apply what he has learned to yachting. “It has been my dream to design yachts as a living,” Summers said.

Keith Nagara, director of LTU’s transportation design and industrial design programs, notes that while LTU’s program is influenced by the automotive industry due to LTU’s location, the design principles and processes are very similar to other transportation products, such as yachts, planes, RV, and motorcycles.

“One of the most unique qualities of these programs is that from freshman year through senior year, the studios have a corporate sponsor, which is equivalent to having a four-year apprenticeship,” Nagara said. “LTU encourages students to tailor the program to their specific interests regardless of sponsoring corporation.”