Cape Cutter 19

GRP or Plywood Lapstrake Traditional Trailer-sailer

Cape Cutter 19 GRP trailer sailer
Gunkholing at its best.
"Zest" (hull #2) snug in a tiny cove
along the shores of False Bay

Pretty as a picture

~ The charm of tradition

~ Accommodation for family weekending

~ Comfortable cockpit

~ Towing behind the family car

~ Choice of gaff or marconi rig

~ Centreplate or bilge keels

~ GRP boats from Cape Cutter Marine

~ Plywood plans for amateur builders

~ Pre-cut plywood kits

Plywood builders see Cape Henry 21 Builders' Notes

~ Photos of amateur projects ~ Flickr Album

~ Cape Cutter 19 Association

~ CC19 Dayboat, open boat version



Credit Card

Boat Sites


Cape Cutter 19 GRP trailer sailer

The Cape Cutter 19 was commissioned by Cape Cutter Yachts, as a GRP production trailer-sailer. Their brief was very particular in requiring a little cruiser which was to be traditional workboat in image, with lots of character, shallow draft and good sailing characteristics. She also had to fit inside a 6m (20ft) shipping container for economical transportation to international markets.

There are already other designs which fit some or all of those criteria, so part of our job was to draw a boat to satisfy those needs in a different way. I believe that we fulfilled this need and added valauble features as part of the process.

Cape Cutter 19 GRP trailer sailer
Plywood CC19 "Tiptoe", beautifully built by Ian Allen in New Zealand

Cape Cutter 19 GRP trailer sailer

The Hull

I took the unusual step with this one of drawing the lines on paper then moving them across into the computer lines fairing program for final fairing. I did this because it is easier to assess the aesthetics and proportions of a chine or lapstrake hull on paper than on a computer screen. I felt that I would produce a prettier hull this way.

The next step was to move it across into a 3D modelling program, which allowed us to generate accurate full size patterns of all of the skin panels. This, along with full size framing patterns, speeded up the building process of the plug. It produced basic plug surfaces that were relatively quick to bring to production plug standard.

She has a plumb bow and long waterline, to maximise top-end performance. The bow is fine down at waterline to allow her to punch through a wind chop, for good windward ability. This flares to a full plan shape at deck level, giving reserve buoyancy to resist bow burying and to keep her dry on deck.

Aft she is quite full on plan, with straight buttocks. This powerful stern gives her good reaching speed and the volume distribution to carry reasonable crew loads in the cockpit.

She has a long and shallow keel moulded in, which runs from the leading edge of the centre plate through to the outboard engine well. A rudder horn is bolted to the heel of the keel to give protection to the semi-balanced spade rudder, which is hung off the transom on pintles.

Cape Cutter 19 hull section
Section through GRP version

On Deck

Her deck layout has been drawn clean and simple, keeping the best spots available for the crew rather than occupying them with deck hardware and ropes.

She has a raised sheer and flush deck, maximising usable space both on deck and down below. The sunken self-draining foredeck acts as an oversize anchor well and also provides a comfortable spot to sit, both sailing and at anchor. She has a handrail/toerail detail along the deck edge, to give safer footing on deck and useful tie-on points for fenders etc.

Her cockpit is deep, giving good protection behind the cabin from wind and spray. The seats have comfortable backrests and the coamings are wide enough to sit on. The outboard engine well is in the cockpit footwell, with a dam formed around it to contain accidental fuel or oil spillage which may otherwise make the sole area slippery. Drainage in the event of taking a large wave onboard will be very fast, via the engine well.

Halliards and headsail furling lines are led alongside the companion hatch and through stoppers to a pair of 6:1 winches on the aft end of the cabintop. Headsail sheets are led through pivoting fairleads with built-in camcleats to the same pair of winches or directly to the crew for hand control from whichever position suits them. Mainsheet blocks are mounted on the top of the transom and reefing lines have been kept on the boom. She can be reefed by one person standing in the companionway, from where all lines can be reached.

Centreplate and Ballast

Her centreplate, of approximately 100kg, is raised by means of a simple drum winch housed under the companionway step. Fixed ballast is lead, glassed over to form the cabin sole.

More recently we have added detailing for bilge keels instead of the centreplate. They are asymmetrical and set up with slight toe-in, both features intended to enhance windward performance. The centreplate falls away of course, giving a cleaner interior. The bilge keels are matched with a deeper rudder and skeg, to allow it to stand upright when aground.

Cape Cutter 19 boat plans
Mike Brooke sailing "Theo's Future" in the Solent in
preparation for his successful circum-navigation of
England in 2008 to raise funds for research into
a cure for a currently incurable genetic eye disease.
Mike wrote the book "Fight for Sight on Theo's Future:
A Voyage of Hope & Endeavour". Buy the book
to support a worthy cause and have a good read.

Powerful Gaff or Marconi Rig

The gaff mast is the same length as the hull, so that it also fits easily into the shipping container while lashed to the deck. The marconi mast is built in two sections that can be separated for shipping inside the container. The joint is made with an internal sleeve and machine screws and is standard mast detailing.

Both rigs use a deck-stepped mast in a tall tabernacle and the boom is hinged off the tabernacle rather than the mast. This simplifies lowering the mast underway without first unshipping the boom. Shrouds go to outboard chainplates that are through-bolted to the hull.

She can be sailed with both headsails on close reaching to broad reaching courses in light to moderate winds. For beating she should be sailed with only the genoa in light winds and only the staysail in stronger winds. The roller furling genoa ensures good speed in lighter conditions and the ability to get rid of it quickly if needed. The hanked staysail gives a snug fully in-board rig for stronger winds and is easily lowered and snugged down if rigged with a downhaul line. The forestay goes to the stemhead, with the staysail hanked to it. The genoa furler has no stay in front of it, so the hinged bowsprit can be folded back to lie along the deck when not in use, if preferred by the crew. The bowsprit can also be used as a lever to assist in pulling the mast up into position for sailing, although it is easily raised by two people without use of the bowsprit for leverage.

The gaff and marconi mainsails are both of the same area and have roach and battens, for light air efficiency. They are fitted with two rows of reefing so that they can be snugged down for heavier conditions. Sheeting is through a 5:1 tackle system fitted to the top of the transom, and a boomvang to the base of the tabernacle helps to control mainsail twist.

Cape Cutter 19 accommodation

Comfortable Weekending Accommodation

Down below she has an open layout, with sitting headroom all the way to the sides. With no sidedecks to get in the way, you can lounge back against her hull in comfort.

Her compact galley is equipped with single-burner cooker, sink and plenty of locker space. With berths for 4 adults, she is great for a small family. The quarter berths double as settees, with space for 2 people each side.

The Portapotti toilet is under the aft end of the forward berth. Located in a wide well, it is used athwartships rather than fore and aft. A privacy curtain can be fitted, hiding behind the galley lockers when not in use.

Cape Cutter 19 boat plans
Chris & Kathryn Wicks's "Kaliope" cruising in the
Greek Isles, pulled up close to the beach for lunch.

Great Little Cruiser

All round, the Cape Cutter 19 makes a great little family cruiser. Being trailable as well as safe for coastal cruising in reasonable conditions, she will open up your cruising options and expand your horisons.

This little boat has been very well received by the market. The GRP version has sold 60 boats in the 2 years since it was introduced into UK.

Follow this link to see a stability curve for this design.

Note that this design is not available for series building by any builder other than Cape Cutter Yachts.

Build her in Plywood

Since the first showing of this design, we have received many enquiries after a plywood version. This is now available in a comprehensive plywood design package. The layout has been very slightly changed to suit the construction requirements of plywood but she is the same pretty, seaworthy and speedy little cruiser. We received orders for 20 sets of plywood plans in the first 9 months after completing them.

Hull construction is plywood lapstrake over stringers and plywood backbone. Stringers are notched into the bulkheads and the backbone is locked into the bulkheads eggcrate-fashion.

The stock plan package includes full size patterns of the bulkheads plotted on stable mylar. These are plotted in colour to make them easier to follow and minimise chances of builders making a mistake. We also offer an optional extra of full size mylar patterns for the hull skin panels if you feel that you need help you through the process of laying out these panels. These patterns can be ordered with the stock plan package or later.

We are once again able to offer CNC plywood kits for the Cape Cutter 19. Go to out plywood kits page for info and pricing.

Cape Cutter 19 hull section
Section through plywood version

Russell Eden, in UK, sold his Cape Cutter 19 in August 2013. The following day he sent this message to me.

"I sold my Cape Cutter 19 today after three years of ownership.

She was number 47, built in SA. I wanted to personally thank you for creating such a beautiful craft. Each and every day I sailed her I had people approach me to talk. People would sail/motor over to take photos and video. People offered me money for her, there, on the spot.

I've only sold her because my wife says she will come sailing with me more often if we had a boat with full standing room and a heads. I would have kept her forever otherwise.

I'm sitting here now wondering what I've done; I've let go perhaps the most wonderful piece of property I've ever owned. No doubt I'll get over it in time, but I doubt I'll ever own anything quite so easy on the eye, or so wonderful on the water.

Thank you for designing her"

Follow these links to a timber material list for hull, deck, interior and building stocks, a list of drawings for the plywood version of this design and a stability graph. For other useful information, please also see Cape Henry 21 Builders' Notes, most of which are also applicable to the Cape Cutter 19.


LOD 5.80m (19'0")

LWL 5.50m (18'0")

Beam moulded 2.20m (7'3")

Draft 0.45/1.22m (1'6"/4'0")
Draft Bilge keels 0.60m [1'11"]

Displ to DWL 1100kg (2425lb)

Displ light 870kg (1918lb)

Ballast 380kg (838lb)

Waterplane area 6.25sq.m (67sq.ft)

Immersion rate 64kg/cm (358lb/inch)

Wetted surface 9.2sq.m (97sq.ft)

Sail area (main + genoa) 23.52sq.m (253sq.ft)

Sail Area/Wetted Surface 2.56

Sail Area/Displ 23.3

Displ/length 184

Prismatic coef .52

Block coef .31

Fineness coef .64

Righting Moment @ 30 deg 444kgm (3211ft.lb)

Righting Moment @ 60 deg 598kgm (4325ft.lb)

Righting Moment @ 90 deg 386kgm (2792ft.lb)

Mainsail 13.32sq.m (143sq.ft)

Staysail 4.99 sq.m (54sq.ft)

Genoa 10.20sq.m (110sq.ft)

Powering 6hp short shaft outboard

This design is dimensioned with both metric and imperial measurements.


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This page was updated 17 October 2022

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