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Arey's Pond Caracal

2015 February 1

This catboat is a pugnacious daysailer and an American icon

Arey’s Pond Caracal
Arey’s Pond Caracal


The most fun reviews I do are of the boats I would like to own myself. I sure like this catboat. It would be the perfect boat for me to introduce my grandchildren to sailing. I like everything about this design. It helps if you like catboats. They are a bit idiosyncratic, kind of like an old MG sports car. But they are very traditional and unique to the United States, and their performance may surprise you. Tony Davis did the design work.

I like the perky sheer of the 19. It has the traditional ends of the Cape Cod catboat model with almost no overhang. There is even a bit of reverse curve to the stem profile. I like that. It kind of gives the boat that pugnacious “You talkin’ to me?” look. No way around it, catboats are beamy: that’s part of the tradition. Being centerboard boats, they need the beam for stability. The AP 19’s L/B is 2.23. With the centerboard up, the draft is 1 foot 7 inches. The board-down draft is 4 feet 6 inches.

The barn-door rudder of the 19 is true to the traditional model. It may not be the most efficient rudder shape in the world, but it is effective when combined with the shoal draft. When you look at the basic proportions of this boat it’s easy to see that this is a very big boat for an LOA of 18 feet 6 inches. I have the hull lines and there is a lot of shape to this boat. The entry is fine and hollow. The bilge turn is firm for stability and there is a slight reverse or hollow in the stern sections. Not sure this does much for performance, but it does produce an attractive transom shape.

There are no real accommodations on this little boat. There is a cuddy cabin with room for a portable head, a cooler and a couple of V-berths. So if you don’t mind the frugal approach you could spend some time cruising this boat. Simple is good. It gets you more in touch with the sailing and away from, “Dear, the refrigerator is broken again.” The cockpit is huge. Six people could be comfortable sailing this boat.

What makes this design a Cape Cod catboat is both the hull form and the rig. There are lots of catboats, the Nonsuch series for instance, but they are not in the Cape Cod style. Traditionally the Cape Cod catboat was gaff rigged. This particular design shows the gaff peaked up very high. This makes for an efficient sail as the gaff becomes an extension of the luff. The SA/D is 27.43 and that’s plenty of horsepower. Note the three reefs shown on the sailplan. Cape Cod catboats are famous for building up weather helm if sail area is not reduced in a breeze. It’s just part of the fun of sailing this type of boat. Jibing in a breeze can be an adventure and I have taken the chicken way around more than once sailing a catboat.

I’d take a long look at this nice catboat if you are interested in a good daysailer that will give you the fun of sailing a national icon. 

Arey’s Pond Caracal
Arey’s Pond Caracal


LOA 18’6; Draft 1’7” (board up),
4’6” (board down); Beam 8’7”; Displ. 2,200 lbs.;
Sail area 290 sq. ft.; SA/D 27.43;
L/B 2.23; D/L 184

Our best estimate of the sailaway price 


Arey’s Pond Boat Yard

43 Areys Lane, South Orleans, MA 02662