Kathleen Gee

This project has spun-off from the Gaff Yawl, Katherine Ann.

We’ve gone to a longer waterline, less rake to the transom. The rig has a larger Mizzen, meant to add some drive and not just be a trim-tab. I’ve also laid out a cutter version. The working sail is the same, but off the wind, you do lose the added power of the Mizzen Stays’l. Not many twenty-four footers can boast of 600 sq. ft. of sail!

Both of these designs, K. A. and K. G., come out of a British tradition. I drew on the Falmouth Quay Punt and the Itchen Ferry Punt as inspirations; small cutters and yawls with deep, narrow hulls, intended for rough water.

I sailed a 30′ Morgan Giles design for a number of years. Tart was inspired by the Itchen Ferry Punts. I was impressed by her speed and sure and steady motion.

Kathleen Gee is almost six feet shorter at a similar displacement with similar headroom.

Tabloid Cruisers, the name given to small boats that pack a big punch, are not for everyone. I see them as something like a floating tea-house, or a hermit’s lodge; but one that’s fit to sail upon the sea. They celebrate a particular relationship to practicality – after all, when was any pleasure boat practical in the sense we usually hear the word used?

You need to enjoy your own company – that second berth will mostly likely be for a visitor to sit of an evening for dinner and a gam. These boats are well-suited to single-handed sailing. You need to appreciate having everything close at hand. Down below you are nestled in the cabin. Some might say you wear the boat…. But not like flip-flops and shorts! A comfortable and snug Tweed Suit would be more like it!

The type’s features are useful for a single-hander. The sails are small and sail area can easily be reduced in a variety of ways depending on the situation. Tying in a reef, or just simply dropping a sail, brings the rail back out of the water and takes the weight out of the helm. The variety of sails and reefs available – the Stays’l and Mizzen reef, along with the Main – make it easy to keep the boat manageable and also trimmed well enough to self-steer.

When short-handed on big water the Tops’l can remain stowed, keeping top-hamper to a minimum. In light air you can pile on sail. As I found sailing Tart, these deep boats with a lot of wetted surface can be fast, so long as there’s enough sail in light air when friction-drag predominates. Once it’s blowing enough to reduce to working sail wave-making takes over. That’s when hull form and a good Prismatic Coefficient help. Tart would easily surpass seven knots with very little wake. This boat should have a good turn of speed as well – though with a 21′ – 8″ waterline, seven knots might be a stretch….

In light air the fact that the jib-stay is on a traveler-ring means that it can be stowed aft at the mast, out of the way of the Genoa in tacking. The same for the stays’ stay. It can be rigged to a Pelican Hook.

Here’s Truth flying her Genoa on a similar rig.

Off the wind, with the Yawl rig, a Mizzen Stays’l can be set. On longer reaching passages it can make quite a difference. It’s one way the Mizzen pays for itself, though its basic value is fine-tuning the helm and holding the boat’s head into the wind while at anchor or underway. The Mizzen and its Boomkin provide a lot of security aft. It’s why I like to have a stout Boom Gallows on a boat without a Mizzen – Check out the one on Truth above…. It’s good to have something rock-solid aft of the cockpit that you can hold onto….

The Cutter Rig does simplify things. For one, the tiller doesn’t have to get around the Mizzen. Although a curved tiller, or a wheel as shown below, gets around that…. With the Cutter you avoid the expense of building, rigging, and maintaining another mast and its sails. The cutter rig still has all the other advantages of incremental sail choices. Either way, the boat will handle quite well under just the Stays’l. It’s good to be able to get everything else down and not have to go forward of the mast when it gets rough.

The interior is minimalist, but not without its charms. The Galley wraps around from port to starboard and extends aft under the Bridge Deck. There’s standing headroom, 6′ – 3″ under the hatch. The settees and pipe-berth combination give you a good seat and a good bunk. I particularly like the Concordia Berth style.

Instead of a pipe frame there are two molded aluminum end-frames with wooden poles on the edges and wooden slats spaced across its surface running longitudinally. The slats are thin enough to be giving. A cloth cover holds a thin mattress in place. The end-frames are curved. This provides a good backrest when the berth is stowed and a good nest to lie in when sleeping. As with any pipe-berth, they can be adjusted to hold you in no matter what the angle of heel.

Forward there’s a Head with a Sail Storage bin to port, under the bowsprit. Since the ‘sprit is offset to port, the hatchway shifts to starboard. There’s 5’ – 10″ headroom under the lid. We haven’t specified a head. I recommend a composting toilet. The commercial units I’ve found tend to be too large, but it should be possible to fabricate one that can handle the light usage of a single-hander.

The engine shown is a Buhk Diesel. A hefty piece of iron. Simple and rugged. It’s weight isn’t a concern. Open the bridge-deck hatch and remove the galley panel and counter for great access. Tankage is port & starboard under the Bridge Deck.

The Cockpit has a footwell. The seats are at deck level. There’s a sit-on coaming similar to the one on Truth. This maximizes the Cockpit. The top is boxed in. It provides storage and a comfortable seat up high with good visibility.

A tender is a problem for a small cruising boat. I do not appreciate the now ubiquitous inflatable as an answer. What’s the point of having a vessel crafted to please the eye and cleave the seas with aplomb if you’re going to tie yourself to a rubber raft that can neither be sailed nor rowed, and can barely get out of its own way. Can we escape the obligatory outboard motor? We sail to get away from worshiping at the throne of gasoline. That inflatable keeps you’re nose and hands in it no matter what you do.

On a small coastal cruising boat or weekender, I prefer a larger tender, say a peapod. Something that won’t fit on deck, but will tend for itself astern and provide sport in a quiet anchorage. A quiet anchorage….

A boat that sets out to sea has to be ready for anything. A boat towing astern easily becomes a liability. A small pram that can be stowed aboard, in this case over the cabin top tied firmly to a bronze-pipe rack, is a good solution. A Tabloid Cruiser’s master will appreciate the care needed to row, and even sail, such a little boat. It provides shade to the cabin-top, a good thing in hot climates. Ashore, a little pram such as this one, 6′ – 6″ long, can be carried inverted on your back like a Coracle. A bit like an oversized overcoat worn with the bow-transom pressing against the forehead. Its weight spread across your shoulders. Carry it up beyond the high-tide mark, or all the way to the nearest Pub!


LBP              24′ – 0″

LWL             21′ – 8″

Beam           7′ – 9″

Draft             4′ – 6″

Displacement   10,163 lbs.

Sail Area:


Main                          194 sq. ft.

Stays’l                          81 sq. ft.

Jib                                96 sq. ft.

Mizzen                         55 sq. ft.

Total (Lowers)  426 sq. ft.

Genoa                        228 sq. ft.

Tops’l                           58 sq. ft.

Total (Light Air*)    535 sq. ft.

Mizzen Stays’l            65 sq. ft.

Total (Off-wind*)     600 sq. ft.


Main                          249 sq. ft.

Stays’l                          81 sq. ft.

Jib                                96 sq. ft.

Total (Lowers)  426 sq. ft.

Genoa                        228 sq. ft.

Tops’l                           58 sq. ft.

Total (Light Air*)    535 sq. ft.

  • No Jib or Stays’l

Construction in either strip/composite or traditional carvel planking.


Plans are available as .pdf downloads. Five sheets of drawings and a table of offsets.

Cost for amateur construction is $900 USD plus $80 PayPal transfer fee.

Price includes permission to build one boat for your personal use.

Commercial builders contact me for royalty rates.

To purchase contact me here:

Specify whether you want to download from Google Drive or Dropbox.

Boats bring us together pos with tagline

6 thoughts on “Kathleen Gee

  1. Both very beautiful. Thank you for posting! Love that something so traditional can be fast, too! A “sleeper” as they say in the automotive world.
    Katherine Ann raises my pulse but here in New England I really need a wheel house for year round cruising.
    The search continues…


  2. Hi, I’m the owner of Draumen, a Colin Archer 37ft, wodden cutter rigged and built in Norway in 1984. Best compliments for your designs.
    For some years, I’m thinking about a smaller classic seaworthy boat. I’m very impressed by the Bristol Channel Cutter 28 by Lyle Hess and recently I noticed your K.A. and K.G. 24. Well, they are smaller than BCC but look like to be very smart and I love gaff rig in general; that’s my favorite for sailing and long passages. However, I’d be interested in a wooden built boat and I’m wondering about the living layout as interior in your boat’s design because, I didn’t find anything just to have an idea. As my habits, I’d take into consideration the volume for the whole staff of 2 people (max3) and boat’s staff for a long passage.
    As last, what could the cost be or better, how many working hours could such a construction take?
    Another last: could it be possible a bigger plan for a 28, 29 foot, same type?


    1. Giovanni,

      Thanks for writing!

      There is an interior plan for the Kathleen Gee in the series of images at the top of the article. Here is a link to the image itself: https://antoniodiasdesign.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/kathleen-gee-interior-plan-blueprint-2k.jpg?w=1125&h=&zoom=2

      As to cost of construction the best answer to that would be to direct a builder to review these drawings and give you an estimate.

      Certainly a larger version could be done and would end up being a faster and more powerful boat. This could be taken in two directions. One would be to just stretch out what we have here and ease the lines. This would increase displacement, and therefore cost, some but not too much. The other way would be to make the longer boat larger in beam as well and use the additional internal volume for added interior space. This would take the boat into another class of vessel, one with more accommodations, but would also increase the cost to a much greater extent.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s