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CharlieCobra 08-21-2007 01:14 PM

Whaddya folks think about Kettenburgs?
A K-50 here:

and a K-46 here:

also a K-38 but I don't know if Mama could deal with the mini galley thing here:

I just LOVE this one but it's too much money:

That last one just invokes the romanticism of sailing. Simply stunning.

Cruisingdad 08-21-2007 01:24 PM


I love the classic old boats. I love the wood. If you have lots of time and the money/resources, it would be a lot of fun and really rewarding. My concern is the time and resources. But hey, a boat has to touch you. If it does, who cares about the time/resources, right?

What happened to the C380?

- CD

CharlieCobra 08-21-2007 01:27 PM

It's still in the running but it's looking to be moving out of our range for now. I can always get something else in a few years.

CharlieCobra 08-23-2007 11:52 AM

I'm surprised more folks haven't posted on this one, especially Jeff H. I'd like to know how these boats sail when compared to something like a Catalina 38/380, Beneteau 32.2 etc.. The one I'm most interested in is the K-46 that rates a PHRF of 114 without flying sails, which ain't half bad. I figured some of the folks up here had at least sailed on one of these classics or maybe a Knud Reimers sloop, which is very similar.

msl 08-24-2007 07:44 AM

I had only read about, and seen photographs of Kettenburgs when, one Sunday afternon, visiting California on a business trip, we happened to be at a Dana Point marina restaurant while a Kettenburg 40 motored in.

We saw it from a distance, several rows of slips away, turning towards us.

It was unmistakeably a Kettenburg - the distinctive coachroof, and those beautiful lines.

The owners, a father and son as they later revealed, docked her, walked up the ramp and ended up sitting near us at the outdoor restaurant. They had been sanding the coachroof and decks, had wood dust on their clothes and varnish on their deck shoes.

"Is that a Kettenburg" I asked. "A forty" they proudly responded. They let us go look her over. A gorgeous marine design, an excellent total restoration, work in progress, and a lot (A LOT!) of work at that.

Worth it? I think so, yes. But only for those with the time, skills, patience and financal resources to do it all right.

That Kettenburg is so beautiful. It must sail "beautiful", too. Designed for the Pacific, for sure.

Mark L.
Wichita, Kansas

Jeff_H 08-24-2007 08:47 AM

Of course these are beautiful to look at classic old boats. I have never sailed on a Kettenberg and have only encountered them in written descriptions and seeing a few stray examples over the year. As much as I love wooden boats, and enjoy sailing truly traditional designs, the Kettenbergs represent a type of 1940's through 60's era racer cruiser genre that I really do not particularly like, except perhaps to look at.

While the Kettenbergs may be the exception, and that is unlikely, based on my experience with similar designs these short waterline, fin keel-attached rudder boats were a bear to sail. They tended towards heavy weather helm in a breeze, they needed to be sailed on their ear in order to get even mediocre speed out of them, they don't track worth a darn, they were awful to sail in heavy air, and very poor sailers in light air. If the boat has not been modernized, the sail handling hardware of the day was often dangerously undersized for the loads and modern safety systems were virtually absent.

These are the kinds of boats that you buy if you have a lot of money to throw at owning a boat, live in an area with predominantly moderate conditions, you are not interested in racing or cruising other than perhaps roughing it on an occasional overnight or weekend, and you can afford to take you boat out of commission for prolonged periods during the year and enjoy working on boats as much as you enjoy sailing them.


CharlieCobra 08-24-2007 02:47 PM

Jeff, these don't have fin keels, they have full keels with a cutaway forfoot and skeg hung rudder. They point with the best and have one more races than many designs out there. I think you confused the K's with something else. Go to and check it out.

Moonfish 08-24-2007 03:33 PM

CC - Last month I met a guy at the Port of Friday Harbor who owns a beautiful Cheoy Lee Alden 32 (very pretty motorsailor from the early 70's) that he uses for charter cruises out of Lummi Island. He told me he was selling it in order to buy a Kettenburg 50 he found in San Diego. Same boat maybe?

On a somewhat saddder note, there was a K-50 berthed in a marina across from me on the Columbia River in Portland, OR about 8 years ago. Beautiful boat, the nicest in the marina. Wasn't used very much at all. Anyway, the ocean tides actually affect the Columbia there 100 miles upstream, but only by a foot or two. During extreme low water periods in the summers (holding back water further upstream at the dams), the level can drop pretty dramatically. Well, this beautiful K-50 had been sitting in it's slip for years, and when the level got low enough, it was resting on the jagged point of a very old piling on the river bottom. One low tide night during a drought, it poked clean through and sunk her in the slip. They raised her about 8 hours later, but I never found out what became of her...

CharlieCobra 08-24-2007 07:13 PM

I know that K-50 in SD, no I looked at it but at 82K, it was outta range. I'm looking at a K-46 PCC in Seattle. It was just taken to bare wood last year and redone with Interlux. There was NO rot at all. It also has a brand new (193 hrs) Universal 20HP FWC in it.

Sailormann 08-25-2007 01:04 AM

They're beautiful boats that's for sure, but it costs a fortune to fit them out. If you are not willing to update the boat, thereby losing a certain amount of their authenticity and charm, then you are frequently forced to have your fittings and parts custom-made.

There is quite a difference between maintaining a planked/carvel wooden boat and a composite cold-moulded one. Wooden boats need steam-bent planks, grown knees and everything is attached to everything else.

Guess I'm sounding like a wet blanket - sorry. The classic wooden yachts have a grace and beauty that fibreglass has never matched. They are organic creatures and have their own ways of sailing, which always seems to feel a little more peaceful than a lot of the plastic stuff. But you really pay for it in time, money and frustration.

That said - I frequently go to this website just to drool....

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