Messing about in boats since 1975.  Online Since 1997.

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Copyright 2004 - 2019 Michael Kasten

Below are a few of the many compliments we've noted over time...


The captain of the Dunia Baru, Erens Limampulo, says of the vessel:

"The quality of the work on Dunia Baru is extraordinary.  Not only is she technically stunning, but there is an element of the boat that is also very romantic... she is modern, but beautiful.  There is no question that she is the finest ship in all of Indonesia." 

I find this to be perfectly said, and very much a reflection of our Modern Classic approach to yacht design.


In an excerpt from an article in the January 2005 issue of Asia-Pacific Tropical Homes magazine about our 36 meter Indonesian Pinisi design, Silolona, entitled "The Return of the Black Sail," Colin Piprell quotes the owner:

The owner worked in close collaboration with marine architect Michael Kasten: "He's made an enormous contribution to Silolona. The best thing about Michael, for me, is that he listens to the needs of the client. Secondly, he's been able to blend East and West - he's had nothing but the greatest enthusiasm for the project, and, if anything, he over-researches. His fascination with the challenges involved has contributed to a huge body of knowledge that he can draw on. He's very practical, detail-minded, and he has a refined aesthetic sensibility."

“It’s been Michael’s enormous respect for the builders' traditions and, conversely, their respect for his expert knowledge and consideration. From the beginning, this has been an East-West collaboration, melding the best of both traditions....”

One early passenger on an Amanwana trip to Komodo Island, a long-time art and antique dealer who has spent 30 years globe-trotting and has taken many boat trips to all sorts of remote areas of Asia, had this to say about Silolona:

“Its fantastic. Definitely the best boat my wife and I have ever been on, by far.... There's really nothing else like it.”


In an article in the September 2005 Asia Pacific Boating magazine Chris White again quotes the owner of our Silolona design:

In the early planning stages, she went through a number of architects until she found Michael Kasten, an American who she says, "...truly understood and respected what I was looking for."


In reply to a number of questions from a prospective client, Alan Wagner writes:

"I will tell you up front that I am a real fan of Michael's and you could not have made a better choice of a designer. I really hunted around for a designer that I thought would provide the highest quality work, at the best price for value, who also had a breadth of knowledge about boating and design.

Michael had an informative and, as it turned out, very accurate explanation of the design process. I felt like I was the part of the design team... I always felt that his focus was to get a design that I was happy with but which at the same time was architecturally sound. His suggestions were invaluable to the final product."

Are you pleased with the final design?

Very much so. I could not be happier.

Are you pleased with the design process?

Very much so. I can't think of a single substantive criticism or disappointment in any part of the process.

Have you ever met Mr. Kasten?

My wife and I chuckle about this. He is out West and I am in Florida. I have never met him. Actually, I have never even spoken with him. The entire process has been by e-mail. I hope to have him onboard Passage of Time (our name for the 53' Valdemar design)...

If you were to design another boat would you use him again?

Yes, no question about it. Quite honestly . . . if I were to design another boat I wouldn't even waste the time looking to see what else or who else might be available to do the design work."

- Alan Wagner, 53' Valdemar


Regarding the Valdemar in rough water, the owner writes...

Yes – we were in probably 10 foot seas and 30 – 40 kt winds and felt no need whatsoever to lower the paravanes. She rode quite well.

On another occasion I had a friend take the boat from Rhode Island to North Carolina. He had been on boats for decades, but, given his age (86) I didn’t feel that he could realistically mess with the paravanes, so I didn’t tell him how to use them.  On the passage from Block Island to Norfolk, which he did nonstop and direct, they were in some really rough seas. I am told there was water over the side deck and green water on the front windshield. Still, the boat performed marvelously.

Carlos, a friend who was aboard, summed it up when he told me “Alan, I was a little nervous when we started getting in the big seas, but every time she just came right up and pushed on. I would go anywhere in that boat.”

Regardless of the marina, she is always the Belle of the Ball. Debbie and I were in Newport a couple of months ago, docked right next to a beautiful 80 foot or so sailboat on one side and a 70+ foot “go fast” fiberglass thing on the other side. It was a hoot - as always – to watch people walk down the dock and essentially ignore the larger and quite impressive yachts to stop and stare at our boat.

Be good,
Alan Wagner, 53' Valdemar


In reply to questions from a prospective client, yacht builder Brian Smyth writes:

"We are about to start our first build of a Michael Kasten design. It is the 44 foot Redpath schooner in aluminum. Michael's plans are very good. Our local metal supplier who has cut several kits for us and for other builders has mentioned that Kasten's cut files are of superior quality... in other words, they were impressed."

- Brian Smyth - Builder of the 44' Redpath and the 53' Valdemar, both in aluminum, and of my 43' Roberta Jean design in steel - originally designed for construction in aluminum.


In response to the design drawings for the 43' Roberta Jean, our client writes:

"Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your "Modified RJ 43" looks great...I guess that means I'm finally beginning to understand your original aesthetic... so let's go with the "Modified 43".  The uncluttered interior that you recommended I know will feel open and spacious to me. The PH with dinette will really work for me, too. Brilliant...! A bath tub...! I like it. No, I love it...! Thanks very much for your efforts - RJ has all the features I hoped for in an open and uncluttered layout that you strongly suggested - she looks great to me! "

- Bill C., 43' Roberta Jean


The owner of our Coaster 40 design writes:

"Michael: I currently have the 40' Coaster that you designed for Shep Gilchrist, previously called the "Good Tern" (now the "Sierra Madre"). It is a fantastic boat. Very well done."

Three points you might be interested in:

1. I helped a friend bring his Nordhaven 40 up from California to Washington in May 2009 and I felt it would be a nice comparison between the two boats. No comparison, the Sierra Madre is a much superior ocean going vessel. The Nordhaven was very rolly and extremely uncomfortable without stabilization.

2. Sierra Madre is in Cap Santé Boat Haven in Anacortes, Washington and was there during the recent Trawler Fest. Hundreds of people wanted to get on board to see her and the ones that did loved her. Designer - Builder - Competitor Sam Devlin came on board and, reluctantly, handed you some very fine compliments.

3. As my wife and I were heading down the Puget Sound a very large freighter passed us (Global Endeavor) and called on channel 16: "The Blue Trawler." He wanted to know the designer and to compliment me on the boat.

Hope all is well."

- Jeff Davidson, "Sierra Madre" ex 40' Coaster.


The owner of another boat of the same design but slightly differently configured writes:

And so our Greenland adventure drew to a close. We had been gone from home for almost 14 weeks, 7 of which were spent in Greenland. It has been a memorable summer. The vote for best crewmember was unanimous - the autopilot won.

We are pleased with our Cygnus. She is a sturdy boat and a comfortable home. Already we are planning next summer's adventures!

- Susanne LaRocca, "Cygnus" a version of our 40' Coaster


Client, Andy Lund writes:

"Michael, I want you to know that I very much appreciate the experience, knowledge, ideas and hard work you've put into my boat project."

- Andy Lund, 49' Ocean Runner


On receiving the sail plan and interior profile and arrangement drawings for the 50' motor sailor Lucille, Kelly Wright says,

"I got your latest prints yesterday, and I must say I'm stricken like a young man with a cheerleader. I don't see how you can much improve."

"After gazing at the plans for what must be several hours combined, I think that you're spot on, hit the nail on the head, it's a wrap, etc., and that the plans for Lucille are exactly what I want and hoped for. Her lines are exquisite. Let me put it this way: if Lucille were a woman, I'd leave my wife for her in a minute! All in all, I think you've done an excellent job in designing Lucille... and I commend you heartily for your efforts. I am eager to see her afloat... "

- Kelly Wright, 50' Lucille


On completion of the plans for the 42' Lucille, the client writes:

"I think the lines are visually stunning, in fact the whole vessel looks outstanding.

I love the rig, with three self-tacking sails, low aspect ratio, low stress rig, it looks so good. She will, I believe, be wonderful to sail. Combine that with a couple thousand miles under power alone, quite economically, well...what more can one say? Except:

"Great Job - Thank you!"

Client Peter R., 42' Lucille (anonymity requested)


Out of the blue, a client writes:

"There is a functional aesthetic in boats that seems unique amongst man made objects. One looks at the high end yachts and work boats of today... but they don't capture the soul of man and his environment interacting functionally and spiritually. Your work does that. Perhaps it is the philosophical training you did...?"

- Monroe Woollard, 35' Catamaran Twee Schoenen


To accompany final payment for my design work, a customer writes:

"To say that I am pleased with 'Highland Lass II' merely points to my bitter lack of a romantic vocabulary. So if you will allow me to wax poetic momentarily I will steal a few lines from Belloc:

He who had designed the lines of her
Approached the power of a creator.
So perfect were they,
And so smooth,
And so exactly suited to the use of the sea.

I recall Conrad said something along the lines of, "Searching for romance is much like trying to catch the horizon." Yes, but what a magnificent pursuit...!

Thank you,
Robert Hale, Highland Lass II


Email Received out of the blue:

"Has it occurred to you that you are one of the preeminent teachers / designers with regard to all things boating? You have more insightful, easy to access information, related to actual designs, than anyone I have encountered in more than fifteen years on the internet, reading about boats.

I've wanted to say this many time before. Today, I finally did. No need to respond. Just wanted to thank you for teaching me what I want in a boat."

- Roy Sallows


After launching the 32' Tug Yacht Terrier in Turkey (2009) the builder says:

"I send you many many thanks for this unbelievable tug-yacht. Enclosed are some photos from her first sea trial. Approximate speed 8 knots..! Unbelievable maneuverability, stability, smooth driving, easy motion when encountering strong waves... lots of pure pleasure... you’re really a magician...!

A customer of ours said, ‘ She is the most beautiful and best production tug-yacht I have ever seen.’

It is our honor to offer your Terrier design built to European CE Mark certification according to the Dutch Certification Institute.

We are very happy with the Terrier."

Many thanks and best regards,
Burhan Uyan of Gazal Tugs & Trawlers, Builders of the 32' Tug Yacht Terrier


Email Received out of the blue, September 2010:

Mr. Kasten;

Three weeks ago I was in Anacortes visiting friends who live aboard a 38' wooden Monk. Riding my bicycle around the harbor, I came upon the 40 foot Coaster that you designed, in blue and yellow. Her qualities made her such a standout there amongst all the flabby fiberglass boats nearby. I must have stood and stared from every angle, so close was she to exactly what I felt a single-hulled boat should be.

I tried to call the builder, Reyes marine, from the name on a plaque in the cockpit, but they are apparently no longer in business. So I went back and copied the emergency contact phone number in the window and called the owner.  When I called him, he matter-of-factly informed me that you had designed her, and that is why she was so balanced, with such integrity (my words, but I think his message).

I visited your website and enjoyed the vision.

Then two days ago, the same friends from Anacortes told me there was a publication from the Metal Boat Society (they know my affection for aluminum) called the Metal Boat Quarterly. I "Googled" that and again landed on your website, and this time read some of your Editorials.

This letter is just to tell you how much I appreciate your "expression to the universe," how erudite your writing is, how clear and complete your thoughts seem to be, how similar in tone is your writing to the character of your wonderful boats.

If I ever get to realize the vessel of my dreams, I will come to you for design.

Thank you.
Eric Dolson


Framing an inquiry via email, I received the following comment about my website, September 2011:

I got immediate technical answers regarding virtually everything I wanted to know from your articles. I have read most of your writings as well as other applicable research and opinions, particularly your discussions regarding the relationship of design and planning to materials selection and fabrication. You've helped me with scope and moved me along the research curve certainly more than has anyone else on the Web.

- Jesse


Out of the blue on the Web, posted April 3, 2009:

We all have dreams of vocations we don’t pursue. One of the things I love about the Internet is getting to look at the work of those that have followed one or another of the dreams I did not choose. When the Internet was getting built, many of us in networking imagined the big things in life accessible via the Internet: one’s bank account, the latest NBA stats, yadda yadda. But to find all these little cottage industries, all these dreams of being something that wasn’t necessarily “big” or in the limelight, that is truly cool.

One site I frequent is Kasten Marine Design. Michael Kasten has not only put the designs that are his business on the Internet. He has put ideas, prototypes and interesting information about yacht design and construction on this site. Since I once dreamed of being a marine architect, this is just too cool for words. Though it is a path not followed, I still get to see a little bit of it. Maybe Robert Frost’s The Road Not Taken was just a little too pessimistic. Maybe we can’t travel more than one path. But now we can look pretty darn far down some of the others.


- John Conti - "The Road Less Traveled"


Out of the blue on the Web, posted January 14, 2004:

I got the study plans for Sarah Cat from Mr. Kasten as she is so darn good looking, and the whole experience was easy and nice. And he answers his email, and is a personable guy.  He likes metal because it is cheaper to have built than other materials, and is easier to maintain, etc. The same reasons commercial guys like it. But he isn't material biased.  He isn't prideful of his designs in the way that some designers are. I believe he would convert any design you wanted to whatever material you wanted, assuming it was possible.

- Timothy B.


One day several years ago I found myself walking through the Fleet Marine boatyard in Port Townsend to see if I could find my 25' Boojum design which had recently been hauled out.  Well, that boat stands out in a crowd so I found her fairly quickly.

After I had been studying Boojum for quite some time, looking high and low and from stem to stern, focused on the Boojum entirely, a voice called down to me from above and I looked up.  There was a man standing high up on the deck of a quite beautiful and sleek 40-something foot black-hulled sailboat right next to the Boojum.  He had just turned off the hose he'd been using to wash down the deck of his yacht, pulled the cigar out of his mouth, and asked: 

 "Is that your boat...?"  

 "Well, no."  I replied. 

He then said, "You know, I hate that boat...!  Everyone who wanders into the boat yard immediately goes over and looks that damned little boat over from one end to the other.  They don't even glance sideways at my boat..."

I have no idea who he was, but I could not possibly have even paid the guy to provide a more perfect compliment...! 

- Michael Kasten


44' Schooner REDPATH - Kasten Marine Design, Inc.
Click for Larger Image

Kasten Marine Design, Inc. Professional Memberships

Royal Institution of Naval Architects Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers Society of Boat & Yacht Designers - LOGO Metal Boat Society American Boat & Yacht Council
Royal Institution
of Naval Architects
Society of Naval Architects
and Marine Engineers
Society of Boat
and Yacht Designers
Metal Boat
American Boat
and Yacht Council