Messing about in boats since 1975.  Online Since 1997.

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Our Yacht Design Team

Kasten Marine Design, Inc.

Copyright 2015 Michael Kasten
Updated December 2015

It is often imagined that a yacht designer works alone. While many may attempt to do so, it is more typical for a yacht designer to work as a member of a larger team.

The primary members of the larger team are the client, the yacht design office, and the boat builder.  Among those, the boat builder and the yacht design office cannot easily survive without making use of additional talent whenever it is needed, not the least of which are the various suppliers of equipment, each of whom will contribute their engineering expertise to the project, whether for sail making, rigging, hydraulics, electronics, or other disciplines.

Often overlooked are the various members of a yacht designer's own 'design team' who are brought onboard as needed in order to help satisfy our design deadlines. Even though our team members are highly trained and quite important to the timely production of drawings, they may not always be so visible. To properly give credit where it is due, the following is a brief introduction to our team members.

Michael Kasten

Michael KastenMy academic degree is in Philosophy. I have learned yacht design by active independent study, by working with talented yacht designers, and by actually doing the work involved on my own designs, at various yacht building yards, and as a consultant to other designers for a variety of design tasks. For maximum familiarity with my current design work please take the time to look through this web site.

Having worked with other yacht design teams, I've had the chance to help design several large motor vessels between 80 feet and 160 feet LOA in fiberglass. These craft are absolutely the best available. One of those vessels, the 160' motor yacht Evviva, won the best new yacht at Monaco during the year the vessel was presented by the owner.  Another, the 100' motor yacht Lady Dianne, won the best refit during the year in which the vessel was presented by owners.

In addition to composite vessels, I have worked with traditional plank on frame wooden vessels large and small; cold molded wooden vessels; and cored panel structures including light weight yacht interiors.  I have also worked extensively with the design of steel and aluminum vessels.  Although most of the designs on these web pages fall into the latter category, we are also well versed in the use of wood and composites...!

Built in the centuries-old Bugis tradition of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, my  36 meter Pinisi design Silolona was listed among the top 10 super-yachts in Asia-Pacific Boating during 2004 and 2005.  Among those peers, the Silolona was awarded "Best New Sailing Yacht" in SE Asia during the year of her launch, 2004.   Silolona is now accompanied by her 30 meter sister vessel, Si Datu Bua.

Built in the jungles of Borneo, my 36 meter Indonesian KLM design Dunia Baru has far surpassed the Silolona and Si Datu Bua in every respect.  Recent cameo appearances of the Dunia Baru have shown up in Yachting and Superyachts magazines.  Also built in the Borneo jungle, the newest member of the Indonesian Charter Pinisi fleet is Amandira, a 38 meter sailing Pinisi.  We will be seeing more of the Dunia Baru and the Amandira in the yachting press.

At the opposite extreme of light weight wooden structure, please see the floats we developed for a Kit-Fox plane here.

In between those extremes is the main body of our work... yachts designed for family cruising and adventure.  Our Sail and Power yacht pages show our existing designs.  Our concept designs will be found on our Prototypes pages.  For an outline of how we approach yacht design, please check out our Custom Design page. To read a few clients' commentaries about our work, please see our Testimonials web page.

Having built, owned, and sailed my own 34' steel schooner, Emerald, I absolutely know the benefits of a simple, rugged and seaworthy vessel. In developing any new design it is my goal to specify structure that makes sense to a builder; hull forms that make sense on the open ocean; features that provide for easy handling and low maintenance throughout the life of a boat; a classic and pleasing aesthetic; and to make use of modern materials and methods wherever they have proven to be practical. 

In so doing, I work with an owner's specific requests in order to create appropriate design solutions.  We first develop preliminary sketches and drawings, then work those into a set of estimating plans for determining construction costs.  With those in hand, we develop detailed building plans to see the vessel through to launch.  My role is to assure that the design meets the requirements of the owner; to assure that the vessel complies with the applicable rules and standards for boats; and to coordinate our other team members for a timely result.  Our work includes computer modeling; calculating the structure; analyzing weights and stability; creating building plan drawings; and performing the requisite CAD detailing if the vessel's structure will be NC cut.

Michael Kasten at Tanah Biru - 2001

Besides creating new boat designs, I strive to make improvements to the design process itself. This ongoing research and development is the natural result of a nearly insatiable curiosity... in this case directed toward boat design..!

A  strong focus among my designs to encourage a "modern-classic" approach to boat styling and boat function. The idea is to combine the classic elements of grace, simplicity and practicality, with the strength and performance made possible by modern analysis methods, modern materials, and modern construction methods.

During my editorship of the Metal Boat Quarterly I wrote a number of Editorials that outline my approach to boat design.  Over the years I have written articles for other boating magazines including Cruising World and Professional Boatbuilder, some of which appear on our Articles page.

During 2012 I provided several motor yacht designs, several chapter snippets, and an Appendix on "ISO Standards for Stability" for the newly issued Voyaging Under Power, Fourth Edition.  During 2013 I wrote a chapter on the "Selecting the Right Boat" in The Nautical Prepper - Sailing for Survival.  You will find both books at Amazon. 

For a small window into our daily routine, check out the articles on our CAD Design Stream and Learning Yacht Design.  Although the business of boat design is nearly an all-consuming endeavor, my favorite after-hours pursuits include boating, blues music, writing, poetry, and even classic cars.  For an example of this latter pursuit please have a peek at my Berlinetta concept of some years ago.

10' Pram - Kasten Marine Design, Inc.
Nearly becalmed
in my 10' Pram.


In addition to having an extensive knowledge of several high end CAD systems, Jarek has a solid foundation in the elements of yacht design. This extends all the way from having completed a Master's thesis on the romantic writings of Joseph Conrad; to having sailed over 25,000 NM world-wide; to having taught cruising under sail; to having spent a number of years building boats; to having completed the Yacht Design program at the Landing School of Yacht Design; and at last to having worked as a yacht designer in a variety of roles.

In addition to those multiple talents, Jarek helps develop and detail our designs for production, including the genesis of NC cutting files.


Carl has been involved with boating since childhood. Carl's father built a 57' Herreshoff Tioga design in Spain, and subsequently sailed it on many voyages throughout the Caribbean as a charter vessel. With that kind of experience as his heritage, Carl has naturally bent his life's work toward boats and boating.

During the past 35 years, Carl has been actively involved in the design and building of several excellent boats. Among many other fine examples, the Cape George Cutters are well known in the Puget Sound area, several of which are his own designs. Carl has also been teaching boat design at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding.  Carl's work here centers around designing, drafting and detailing all aspects of a vessel, from keel to masthead on sail boats, or from bow-thruster to passerelle on motor yachts... Carl is equally versed in the engineering of structure and systems; the elements of sailing performance; and the aesthetics of classic yacht design.

When not actively designing boats, Carl seems to always be thinking of designing boats. On sunny days, Carl can be somewhat hard to find...! Predictably, he will be enjoying life close to, or on the water in some way or other.


An electrical engineer by trade, Arild brings a practical approach to the table when helping to design our electrical systems, as well as considerable experience with other marine systems. Given that we have rather strict requirements as to grounding, in particular on metal yachts, Arild has the creativity and technical expertise to design electrical systems to meet any challenge. Whether a yacht will travel amongst North American harbors, the water ways of Europe, or anywhere in Asia, we know our electrical systems will be up to the task.

Sterling Hayden

Hey wait a minute...! What's Sterling Hayden doing here...??

In his book "Wanderer" Sterling Hayden gave us all a few words of inspiration, without which many of us may not have begun our studies in the realm of boats, nor possibly ever gone boating...! He has written well the following taunt... shall we listen:

"To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea... "cruising" it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in.

"I've always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer?

In choice...!

Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life...?

- Sterling Hayden

Kasten Marine Design, Inc. Professional Memberships

Royal Institution of Naval Architects Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers Society of Boat and Yacht Designers 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