Messing about in boats since 1975.  Online Since 1997.

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The 23' Fantail Cutter "SARAH-CAT"

Copyright 1996 - 2016 Michael Kasten

The 23' Cutter - SARAH CAT
Perspective Above Aft
| Perspective Above Forward
Perspective of Internal Framing | Larger Sail Plan Image

Hull Form

The purpose of the 23' Sarah Cat design was to create an easy to afford, easy to trailer, easy to sail, easy to beach, and easy to inhabit, safe and seaworthy small sailing craft.

Sarah Cat is a minimal cruiser intended for safe offshore sailing, Sarah Cat has a secure well-deck forward, a small self bailing cockpit, a "bridge deck" between the cockpit and the companionway, an inboard diesel engine, and a rig that can be easily handled, even by a solo sailor. For the sake of easy trailering there is a tabernacle to allow the mast to lower without any fuss, and a centerboard. The centerboard in this case lies entirely below the interior cabin sole, so there is no interference with the interior accommodations.

Construction is intended to be all aluminum alloy, however stitch and glue plywood construction is equally possible.  Given the single chine hull shape it would also be quite easy to build a plywood mould in order to build the vessel in fiberglass.  Steel construction is not a possibility at this small size.


The accommodations below are designed to maximize comfort while seated. The galley is aft in order to take advantage of a large overhead hatch for standing room. Even in foul weather, this could remain open if there were a good canvas dodger...!

The settee ahead of the galley extends right into the forward double berth. The settee seats and double berth therefore wrap right around the mast. A table is mounted onto the aft side of the mast tabernacle, and is arranged to have leaves that fold down on each side. This creates an extremely robust mount for the table within a big cozy lounging area to "hang out" in below.

Seating is very comfortable due to the cabin trunk having been extended right out to the deck edge. This means that the cabin is over eight feet wide...! Try this experiment... Take a regular tape measure, put one end behind your shoulder and extend the tape out to eight feet... That's how far to the other side of the cabin! It is bigger than you think.

See the Internal Framing image for a view of the volume within the cabin. That's an image from Workshop, software for defining a vessel's structure in preparation for NC cutting.

23' Cutter - Sarah Cat - Kasten Marine Design, Inc.
Click for Larger Image


A Gaff Rig is provided. An alternate possibility would be the Chinese Lug rig which would be easier yet to handle. With either rig there is no need for track, so the sail will never bind or give any trouble. Having been given plenty of sail area, Sarah Cat's performance will be brisk..

The spars are aluminum Schedule 40 pipe. When painted, most folks will assume they are wooden spars. The aluminum pipe is considerably stronger than wood, and does not rot! Pipe has sufficient wall thickness to allow the fittings to be fully welded in place, making the spars very easy to build. Fabrication takes requires much less time than making similar galvanized fittings for a wood spar. In the long run there is far less maintenance than is required for a mast of any alternate material.

Three Trailerable Sister Ships...

A group of four 'sister' vessels each of which share the same hull form and general configuration have been preliminarily detailed as concept designs, one of which is shown here.   Check out each of the four sisters at the following links:

38' China Cat   |   28' China Cat   |   28' Bedouin   |   23' Sarah Cat

23' Sarah Cat - Kasten Marine Design, Inc.

Trailerable Boats Article