Q & A Page

Q.     How can I locate other sailing web sites?

A.     Click on the sailing links listed below.

OtherQuestions and Answers can be found on this page following the links section.

Mark Rosenstein's Sailing Page Performance Yachts
BoatingLinks Boat Owner's World
GoodOldBoat Trailer Sailor
Other Alberg Designs SeaSprite Association
Pearson Ariel Association The Pearson Vanguard Page
Alberg 30 Association Privateer 26 Owners Association
Jamestown Distributors Defender Industries, Inc.
BoatUS Rig-Rite, Inc.
Fore and Aft Marine Supply Marine.com.
Boulet Lemelin Yacht Supply Schaefer Marine
Sailnet Custom Sailboat Trailers
Sail-trailers Trail-Rite Trailers
Trail N Sail Trailers Triad Trailers
Cradle Ride Boat Trailers Loadmaster Trailers

Questions asked by Kittiwake owners

This section is intended to provide a place where members can ask questions with the hope that some other member has already found a solution to the problem they are having. Please email your questions or responses to the web site for posting. I will forward your answers to the person who asked the question and post them here.

Q:     Several people have asked how to register their boat.

A:     The main things needed for the registry are:
Your name, the hull number and the sail number of you boat, who manufactured the boat, year made, boat name and home port. If you know the names of any of the former owners, I would like to list those also.

Q.     What is the sail plan data for the Kittiwake?

A.     The sail plan dimensions are shown on the "Specs" page of this web site.

Sam and Mary Lash asked:
What is the size of the Main and Jib Halyard. I need both the diameter & length of the wires, diameter and length of the ropes and the overall length of both.

Main halyard:
Wire length - twenty three feet five inches. Diameter - one eigth inch. Material - 7x19 S.S.
Rope length - thirty six feet three inches. Diameter - three eights inch. Material - low stretch double braid.

Jib halyard:
Wire length - twenty three feet nine inches. Diameter - one eigth inch. Material - 7x19 S.S.
Rope length - thirty three feet ten inches. Diameter - three eights inch. Material - low stretch double braid.

Overall length is the sum of the values above for each halyard. Please note that these lengths do not include the material required to make the wire to rope splices. Your rigger should take care of that.

Tony Petrozza asked:
What is the vertical clearance of the Kittiwake?

A.     There is no published data on the vertical clearance. I scaled the distance from the mast step to the waterline from a drawing. This calculates out to be 3.5 feet. The mast height is supposed to be 27.5 feet. The total is 31.0 feet. I would not try to go under anything that was less than 32 feet above the water.

Fred Hastings wrote:
Some time back, someone mentioned the use of electric motor on their kittiwake. Is it feasable to use a 75 lb thrust to move the boat in and out of your slip? I have only one lung after cancer and the exhaust that is created by my gas engine is not good for me. I'm looking for an alternative. Any thoughts?

I would like to know if the spread eagle casting was an original on the boat transom or did someone tack it on? I have not seen one on any of the photos of Kittiwakes. I am really enjoying the web site, reading all the info about Kittiwakes.

A.     I use a 65# thrust trolling motor on one of my Kittiwakes. To get the full 65#, it takes 24V. The motor can be run on 12V or 24V. I have two 12V batteries that I hook up in series. I also added a solar panel on each lazarette hatch cover to keep the batteries topped off. I got the solar panels from Northern Tool. They were about $60.00 ea. Your 75# thrust motor should work very well.

I know that there are a lot of Kittiwakes that don't have their eagle. I don't know what the reason for this might be. I can tell you that when I bought my first Kittiwake, a kit, hull # 219, in September of 1969, the eagle was in the hardware sub kit that I purchased at the same time. I can only guess that some kit builders didn't install theirs, owners of factory finished boats took them off as a memento when they sold their boats, or perhaps some were damaged or knocked off in collisions or accidents. About five years ago I spent most of an afternoon talking to John Wheeler who had been Kenner's supervisor of sailboat construction. One of the questions I asked him was about the eagle. John told me that it was a standard item for the Kittiwake. He had one as a decoration for his home, but he did not know of a current source of supply for them. A friend gave me a catalog that lists them. They can be purchased from:

They come in cast brass, item #98421, black aluminum, item #18904, or aluminum, item #18774. They are $39.00 each for any item number. For my current Kittiwake, I bought the black aluminum and then gave it five coats of Krylon metallic gold spray paint followed by three coats of Krylon clear spray paint.

Joe Dube asked:
I am having my mast standing rigging redone and had a question I think you can answer. My current forestay is 3/32" dia. wire and my rearstay is 1/8" dia wire. My question is, did the Kenner built boats come with this size wire and if they did, what do you think the reasoning was for the different wire sizes for the forestay and rearstay? Also my upper shrouds are 3/32" dia and the lower shrouds are 1/8" dia. I think the diameter for the shrouds are probably sized properly.

I just was curious as to whether I should have the same size wire for both the fore & rearstay and whether it would affect sail shape, mast bend, etc. Thanks, Joe Dube

A.     Excellent question. My Kenner Kittiwakes have had the same size standing rigging as you describe. My River City Sailcraft Kittiwake does also. I never really questioned it. However, now that I think about it, the smaller diameter back stay probably stretches more under load than the larger size would do. That could somewhat account for the forward mast bend we used to experience when carrying more foresail than we should have used while competing in our fleet races.

I just looked up the rigging section of my copy of "Skeen's Elements of Yacht Design". It says, "Use the largest shroud size for the headstay, no less; and about that for the permanent backstay." ... "If there is only one headstay, it should be the strongest wire in the rig. If it should part, or its turnbuckle or toggle should break, the whole rig will fall directly aft and may injure the crew."

In "Sea Sense" by Richard Henderson, the author says, "A very simple rule of thumb in choosing the proper wire size for a boat is to select an upper shroud with a breaking strength equal to the displacement of the boat if she is extremely stiff, or, if she is not particularly stiff, the next smaller size wire (normally 1/32 of an inch smaller) may be used. ... A headstay and backstay should generally be the same size as the upper shrouds, but lower shrouds can be a little lighter, especially if there is a pair on each side of the boat."

Shannon Farlow wrote:
I keep reading that the Kittiwake 23 is a trailerable sailboat. How trailerable is the Kittiwake? Can you launch a Kittiwake from the trailer at an average boat ramp? If so, how deep would the trailer have to be to launch a Kittiwake? Or do you have to have a crane to launch the boat?

A.     I'm not sure what an "average" boat ramp is. It takes a water depth of about 50" to launch my Kittiwake off the trailer. In most cases this will require the use of an extension tongue for the trailer. Assuming that the trailer plus extension tongue puts the waterline at the bow of the boat 20' out into the water, the slope of the boat ramp would have to be 12 degrees, to have a depth of 50" at that point. The standard Kittiwake was not equipped with a bow eye, so another means of securing the boat to the trailer for haul out is required. A hinged mast step is essentially mandatory for raising and lowering the mast if you plan to trailer. There is some additional rigging that can be employed that will make raising and lowering the mast somewhat easier. I launched and retrieved my first Kittiwake on the trailer one time without undue hardship. The person I sold her to trailered her to several lakes successfully. Trailering a Venture or other shallow draft, light displacement boat may be somewhat easier, but with careful planning and good technique, a Kittiwake can be successfully trailered.

Bob Olshan asked:
Please post on site to assist. When I hauled my boat in Nov. for winter, water drained by rudder post for extended period-must be hollow as indicated in previous Q&A. Any easy way to repair and find leak? remove it?

Also noticed large bulge - about foot square- in/on keel a little lower than curve to hull--it receeded in a couple of minutes as water drained--think it came from water being in the boat bilge and seeping in to area between keel-concrete?- and glass. Has anyone experienced same problem? Put a barrier coat on boat last year. Thanks

Joe Dube wrote:
I was wondering if anyone has replaced the genoa winches on their Kittiwake. Mine came with Gibb winches. One winch is acting up. I may be able to rebuild, but what I am really looking for is a replacement that will fit on the existing fiberglass pedistals molded into the deck. Would like to find a self tailing model, but so far I have not been able to find one that would fit. All seem to be too big. Has anyone done this and can point me in the right direction?

Sam Alspach wrote:
I have a kittiwake which I sail out of Whitehall Creek in Annapolis, Maryland; she is docked at Whitehall Marina, and is currently drydocked for repairs. I need information from anyone who has restored a kittiwake especially the stern area. Specifically, the motor well wood has rotted as well as the wood between the motor well area and the main cabin area (area between main deck and motor compartments). Also I would like to purchase, if available, a set of original design drawings. Also, I would appreciate any input on repainting the hull. The fiberglass gelcoat is heavily crazed on the deck.

Bob Olshan asked:
I have a 10 year old 3 hp yamaha-will it do a job or should I consider a trade up to a 4 or 5 ?-although I would prefer to do with the 3 if workable. Winch handles-where can they be found??? Thanks in advance for the valued support.

A.     A Kittiwake is a lot of boat for a 3 hp to push around. I think it would only be satisfactory in the lightest conditions. A 5 hp was min. recommended by Kenner. I have seen up to 9.9 hp used. I think you would be glad to have the additional power in really rough conditions. The old style winches are no longer in production. I have not been able to find a source for new handles. I have occasionally seen used ones being auctioned on eBay.

You might also check some of the used/consignment boating equipment stores. I believe there are some near your location. GoodOldBoat magazine has a listing of those stores. Check their web site. http://www.goodoldboat.com/

Cliff Gates asked:
I live in Northern VA, Alexandria, just outside Washington, DC. Looking for a trailer for my Kittiwake 23. Will travel reasonable distance. If anyone has one for sale or has any suggestions please contact me. Want to bring her to my house to do some extensive renovation. Anyone knowing of one within a couple of hours from Washington, DC I'd appreciate a heads up. Home Phone: 703 780 0160

A.     Cliff,
I hauled my Kittiwake from Atlanta, GA to Oklahoma on a flat bed car hauler trailer with a steel boat cradle on it. My trailer is a 20' bed, but an 18' or maybe even a 16' would work as long as they have about 5000# capacity. If you are interested, send me your mailing address and I can send you some sketches of the cradle and you could check into getting one made.

Cliff Gates responded:
That is an excellent idea. Where did you get the cradle? Now that you have said that it has me thinking about using boat stands and have them welded or attached to the trailer somehow.

Response:     My cradle was originally for a Melges Scow. I had to cut down the height considerably, but the width and length were ok. I am attaching three photos so you can see it after being modified and as the boat was loaded onto it. As you can see in the pictures, the keel rests on a carpet covered 2 x 12. It only needs to be about 7' long and and the rudder post should sit just behind the back edge of the 2 x 12. Each of the bolsters is faced with a piece of carpet covered 2 x 12 also. The bolsters each have a 1-1/4" all thread rod for support and adjustment. Each one has two nuts on it. The lower nut is used to adjust the height of the bolster as necessary and then the upper nut is run down against it and the two of them are jammed together to lock the adjustment in.

Cliff Gates wrote back:
The pictures are very helpful. Is the frame of the cradle made out of 2X4's? What is the all thread rod attached to? It looks like something that I could build pretty easily. I have boat stands that came with the boat so I might be able to incorporate them into the cradle and not need to make the bolsters.

Response:     Yes, the cradle in the pictures is made of 2 x 4 rectangular steel tube. The sketch I made up calls for 2 x 2 square tube. If you look at the pictures closely, you may be able to make out that I had pipe (1-1/2" schedule 40 carbon steel) welded to the shortened uprights of the Melges cradle. The all thread just drops down into the end of the pipe. I used two flat washers between the end of the pipe and the adjusting nut to provide a bearing surface for the adjusting nut. There may be some way to incorporate your boat stands into the cradle. It would be simple if you welded them to the lower framework. However, if you wanted to retain them for use as individual units later, the problem would become more complicated.

Greg Page wrote:
Now to my question. My sailboat is not really in sailing condition (one of the bulkheads is rotted out). Unfortunately, she is far enough away that it makes it difficult to find time to work on her. I was wondering if anyone was in the market to sell or rent their trailer so I can bring her home and get her fixed and returned to her element. Could you post a note on the page that I am in the market for a trailer?

Joe Dube asked:
I had a question on the history of the Kittiwake. It was stated that a mold that was left by the South Coast 23 was used by Kenner and modified to build the molds for the Kittiwake. Was this modification approved or part of a design created by Carl Alberg directly for the Kittiwake or did Kenner take this upon themselves to do the modification. Also is Alberg's name mentioned in the original brochure as the designer of the Kittiwake. I understand that Alberg was very protective of his designs.

I have to do some repair work to the rudder. There is a hole at the base of the rudder near where the rudder post connects to the keel. I stuck a stiff electrician's fish tape 8 inches up into hole before hitting any obstruction. Are these rudders hollow on the bottom 8 inches and what is the core material used on the rest of the rudder. Has anyone done a similar repair to the rudder. Would appreciate any information. Thank You.

Response:     Here is the excerpt from the history portion of the registry web site. "... South Coast took the molds and moved to Shreveport, LA. A hull was left behind which Kenner cut up, enlarged by a few inches, and re-faired to make molds for the Kittiwake." I do not think this was in any way approved by Mr. Alberg. I do not know if he was or was not aware of the situation. Mr. Alberg's name was not mentioned in any literature produced by Kenner. I can understand Mr. Alberg being protective of his designs just as any designer would be.

I had heard a version of this story many years ago and had always wondered as to its accuracy. About two years ago, I took a trip to Knoxville, AR and met with the man who was the supervisor of sailboat construction during the time that Kenner Boat Company was in operation. He verified the story as it is printed in the web site.

I do not know exactly how the rudder is constructed. I think that it is hollow to a certain extent. I do know that when hoisting my first Kitti on the club hoist to clean the bottom or to put it on the trailer, water would drain out at the bottom of the rudder post for much longer than would be warranted by the volume of the rudder post alone. I also just remembered that my friend and sailing mentor originally had the old style rudder on his Kittiwake. It was one of the early ones, #10. He once told me that he had added a little bit of lead to the bottom of his rudder to help trim it to leeward when the boat was heeled. He later changed the rudder out to the new style and I do not know if he put lead in that one or not.

If you do repair your rudder, perhaps your experience and findings would be of interest to others. I would be happy to include your information in the registry. Please keep in touch.

Bob Hazelbrook, who is looking for a Kitti in need of TLC, asked:
Yup, I've looked at many of the "for sale" sail sites on line. I'll keep trying. Might just have to end up acquiring one in near-Bristol shape (like the Kitti's listed on your site likely are). Like I said before...kinda enjoy getting to know a boat "inside-out" during a re-fit/restoration, so I'll look around a bit longer for a needy candidate. I'll keep checking your site and a few others though.

I've done a good bit of small-vessel blue water single-handing. I've kind of got an idea in the back of mind regarding the 2004 single-handed Transpac in a Kitti. I've made the trip once in a 27 footer. If Kittiwake was properly rigged and knowledgably sailed, what do you think? I really enjoy thumbing my nose at the big $$$ sleds with that high PHRF rating . Plus, I just think it would be a grand voyage in the 23. Have a couple of years to prepare for it. Thought I'd bounce the trip off of you, considering your experience level in the boat.

One additional question for you. Do you have an opinion on the construction differences, hull lay-up, deck, and hull-deck joints, etc. between Kenner, River City, and Ray Green built boats? From everything I've been able to learn, the Kenner production series were hell-for-stout. How do the others compare? Might make a difference in my decision-making process.

Response:     The idea of sailing a Kittiwake across the Pacific is pretty scary to a middle-of-the-country lake sailor with zero blue water experience like myself. However, several years ago, I was sightseeing in Honolulu yacht harbor and found a Privateer 26 in a slip there. The Privateer 26 was also built by Kenner. I assume, but do not know for a fact, that the Privateer was sailed to Hawaii.

There should be quite a few Kittiwakes in need of restoration. The problem is going to be locating them. If they are in poor shape, they are not worth the expense of advertising them so they just sit and get in even worse shape. Perhaps you could start emailing marinas, boat clubs and yacht brokers to inquire about neglected Kittiwakes.

I wish I knew more about the differences in construction between the three builders. I have had contact with Ray Greene's daughter but she does not know much about the construction of the Kittiwakes. She was going to check with her father, but apparently he was in poor health. He passed away a few months ago.

I have had contact with Delbert Plante who was the owner of River City Sailcraft. He has promised to send me some information, but it has been over a year now and I have not received anything.

I have talked with Kenner's sailboat production foreman. He told me that at that time, they sealed the hull to deck joint with silicone sealant. In the intervening years, this seal has deteriorated and many Kenner boats now experience leaks there. In a restoration, the joint should be opened, cleaned and resealed with a more modern adhesive like 3M 5200. A difficulty with this operation is that the lazarette bulkhead and the rudder tube is fiberglassed to the underside of the deck, making the deck at least difficult, if not impossible, to completely remove.

The Kenner, Ray Greene, and River City Sailcraft boats all have a plywood core in the deck. Moisture intrusion between the inner and outer layers of fiberglass initiates rot in the core.

The River City boats have a somewhat different interior layout than the Kenner and Ray Greene boats. If you would like, I could send you Xeroxes of the Kenner and RCS accommodation plans from their sales brochures.

Bob wrote back:
Thanks much for all of the great information and taking the time to get back to me. I've started a "Kittiwake" file (can't help it...the archaeologist/historical researcher in me forces organization ), and your messages are saved there as vital tidbits of information.

Voyaging the western ocean in a 23' boat is not something to be taken lightly, but if it is done with care and an eye for basic necessities and the weather it can be done safely. Several years back I did the NW Coast-Gulf of Alaska cruising thing in an Alacrity 19 (little bilge-keeled boat, but solid like a Kitti). I worry more about construction quality and hull lines than overall size as safety concerns, beyond "bare minimums" at least . Of course, a short waterline means long passages, so water and food storage becomes an issue as well. I had several long conversations with John Guzzwell (of Trekka fame) on this subject a few years back. We threw about several qualifiers for "minimalist cruisers/offshore cruise-racing" in small vessels. No boat is perfect, but in their size range, I would say the most effective "production vessels" around are the Kittiwake, Pearson Electra, and Alberg 22....coincidently all Alberg designs (am I biased? .....heck yes!).

I agree with you...deck problems are not the most enjoyable issue to deal with. Are you doing a top-to-bottom restoration job on your present Kitti? When I found my old Cheoy 27 the deck was the first problem I dealt with....up came the teak overlay, or portions of it.....then into the soft spots...then re-glass and re-overlay...what a chore! Also had to deal with problems in the cockpit and engineering spaces. Of course, following the re-fit and restore job I knew the boat intimately. On the other hand, such a job makes one thankful that they don't own a forty-footer!

Ah yes...3M 5200...the "miracle solution." I too am a big fan of the stuff...if given the time and conditions to cure properly there is nothing better. Even with their inherent possible problems, I prefer plywood core decks on small glass boats...at least I know how to deal with potential difficulties...never have done much with the foam core stuff.

I have already started a search of backwater marinas, etc., as you've suggested....this could turn into a quest.

Cliff Gates wrote:
You mentioned once that you had replaced the plywood in the stern area. I need to do the same now. Got any tips? Did you have your boat out of the water to do it? I imagine I will, but just wondering, mine is in the water now.

Response:     I have not replaced the plywood in the stern area. My approach would be to treat the existing plywood with git-rot and then lay up several layers of fiberglass cloth over the plywood. I would try to achieve a lay up thickness of 1/8" as a minimum. This could be done either in or out of the water.

A Mr. Harris wrote to Sailnet's Alberg list:
My question involves detemining if the boat I looked at originally had the ballast in the form of loose pigs and non hardened concrete or had it been replaced. Under the removable floorboard there was a bilge pan, the majority of which was crudely removed. Thats how I got to see the ballast. Why someone had to dremel out the bilge pan disturbs me. Maybe to dry it out after a mishap?

Mike Brown responded:
I can't say. I can tell you that my boat (I don't THINK it was a kit) has lead pigs randomly strewn in the bottom of the keel and surrounded by sand. The top of the cavity is fiberglassed over, so I don't know how much sand/lead is there. I had a hole in my bottom due to a collision so I had to cut out a dinner plate sized hole in the bottom of the keel. A couple of pigs and a lot of sand came out. I used jacks to put them back in their original position, pinned them together with 3/8" stainless 12" pins and buttered the whole mess in epoxy and microballoons to fill all the gaps I could reach. Mike Brown,

Larry Franklin responded:
the Kenner Kittiwake kits were supplied as a bare hull and deck. Then you could purchase sub-kits (and installation if you desired). There were sub-kits for ballast, interior roughed out and glassed in, electrical, exterior teak, deck hardware, spars and standing and running rigging. I bought my first Kittiwake, #219 as a kit. I purchased and installed the ballast myself. The Kittiwake I am restoring now, #218, was a factory finished boat. The standard factory procedure was to put in lead pigs and cover them over with a very lean mixture of concrete. and a thin skin of fiberglass mat. On #218, the glass mat had separated from the inside of the keel on the port side and water had seeped into the lead and concrete. I took out the cabin sole and removed the concrete and lead. There was about 950# of lead and 400# of concrete. (I weighed it). I am in the process of re-casting the lead into shaped pigs that will conform to the contours of the interior of the keel. I plan to use an additional 350# of lead to bring the ballast up to spec. and pour epoxy around the lead as it is installed, rather than using any concrete. The Kittiwake specs also call for 200# of movable lead ballast for trim. A lot of the factory finished boats have "lost" this ballast in the intervening years, mine included. However, I intend to add it back.
Larry Franklin, Kittiwake 23 #218, The Kittiwake 23 Registry

Mike Brown asked:
Any idea on definite ways to distinguish a kit boat from a factory boat? The bottom of my keel was cracked for sometime and my keel filled with water. I suppose the only reason that it didn't sink is that the whole mess of sand and lead was glassed over. When I sold the boat the first time, the guy drilled some small holes along the bottom edge of the keel and water drained out for days. I hadn't considered removing the skin and ballast and putting it all back. Sounds like quite a task, but I'm in the process of repairing a hole in the bottom of my keel anyway so it might be helpful. Why did you decide to do it? Mike Brown

Larry Franklin responded:
If your boat's interior has been repainted sometime in the past, it's going to be hard to tell if it was a kit. The interior of the factory finished boats, both hull and deck, was painted with a fairly thick cream colored finish that had light blue flecks in it. This tended to mask the texture of the roving in the inside of the hull. The kit boats had this finish only on the interior of the deck, so that the glass of the hull was left exposed for bonding of the interior components by the kit builder. If the kit builder followed the plans faithfully, the rest of the boat should look like a factory finished boat. That said, since there are no class rules, there are many individualized variations in deck hardware, interior modifications, etc. I know of one kit boat that has its ballast carried all the way to the aft edge of the keel, with a slight slope toward the battery area so that any water that gets into the interior collects in the battery area first. This ballast is also heavily glassed in so that it can not be changed. It makes it easy to see the bilge water and pump it out, but the boat sits down by the stern even with no one in the cockpit.

I removed my ballast because water kept draining and draining out of it and I wanted to make sure everything was dry before I glassed it in. I was afraid that if I allowed any water to remain, and hauled the boat out for the winter, it might freeze and break open. Then after I got into it and found out how much of it was concrete instead of lead, I began to get a little ticked off. The original promotional literature says: "1500# of lead ballast".

When you repair your keel, be sure to glass it out to full thickness. I bought a boat once (Alberg 35) that had a keel repair done with a lot of body putty and about 1/4" skin of fiberglass covering it. I bumped the bottom of the lake and fractured the skin and body putty and it began weeping about two gallons per week. I had to haul it, dry it out, dig out all the old repair and then built it all back out to full thickness with many layers of cloth and roving.

Jeff Miller wrote:
I don't have the hinged mast step. That is also something that I am looking into. One of the guys at sailnet said that the set up from a Catalina 22 would probably work. I'm checking on that.

Response:     For the hardware for a hinged mast step arrangement, click on the Rig-Rite link near the bottom of this page, From their home page, scroll down to Spar Parts by Spar Manufacturer and click on Kenyon Spars. Then when that page fills in, click on Kenyon Mast Sections. Scroll down to Traditional Mast Sections and on down to the table of those mast sections. Click on the "E" Section Mast. When that page fills in, scroll all the way to the end and click on the K-1374 Hinged Mast Plate Assembly. I think this is a better item than the original hinged mast step supplied by Kenner and your existing mast step casting should bolt right to it. I also think this will work better than a mast step from a Catalina 22. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Jeff wrote back:
THANK YOU for the rigrite info, however I am still lost... My Kitti does not have any type of hinge or tabernacle. It is stepped(?) directly to the deck. I believe that the K111EH is what I'll need, but will that add length to my rigging? If so, how much, will it be minor enough to be compensated through the turnbuckles? Why couldn't all of those "salesmen" where I formerly was employed provide me with any of this information( rhetorical question!) I feel SO much closer to having her seaworthy, just having this info. THANKS AGAIN, Jeff Miller.

Response:     Hi Jeff, I am attaching a picture of the bottom end of a Kittiwake mast with half of the old style hinged mast step attached. Do you see the band of very dull gray, rough looking metal between the end of the mast tube and the plate of the hinge half? That is an aluminum casting that is the mast step casting. The Rig-Rite site does not show a picture of the one for the "E" section, but if you go back to their site and click on the next section in the table and scroll down to the bottom of that page, there is a picture of the mast step casting for that section. As you can see, this casting extends up into the mast a little bit. In the case of the mast in the picture, the two screws at the base of the mast thread into the casting. A couple of screws also hold the hinge plate onto the casting. I expect that your boat also has one of these mast step castings. It should be screwed to the teakwood block on the deck that the mast is stepped onto. That was the standard arrangement for boats that did not have the optional hinged mast step.

You are right, the K111EH will add length to your mast. I can't say exactly, but I think it will be about 3/4" to 1". The people at Rig-Rite should be able to tell you more precisely. You might be able to compensate for the extra length with your turnbuckles if they are pretty well closed up with your rig in its present state. If that doesn't work out, there are three options.
1. Try to find longer turnbuckles of the same sizes.
2. Plane down some of the thickness of the wood block the mast steps on, or change it out for a block that is not as thick.
3. Add toggles to all of the turnbuckles. The problem with this option is that the available toggles are probably longer between holes than the K111EH is thick, thereby possibly making your turnbuckles too long.

Jeff Miller wrote again:
There is a race on Tampa Bay on Dec. 8th involving three clubs ( I'm in the St. Petersburg Sailing Assn.) This will be my first race BUT... I need the PHRF rating to enter and have NO clue what my rating is. If you know how to find this out, (I think I have to have a certificate) would you pass this on, PLEASE.

I have sailed fairly regularly lately and I feel closer to this boat every time. I even have my fiancée starting to feel the helm and talk about weekending. Thanks a million, Jeff Miller

Response:     Go to the link: http://www.phrfne.org/
and scroll down to the page list. Click on "Base Handicaps". When the page comes up, scroll down until you find Kenner Kittiwake 23. There are three columns of boats and the list is in sort of alphabetical order. The Kittiwake is in the third column. The base handicap is shown as 270. I think that this is the handicap that you start out with and it gets adjusted for your boat, up or down, according to your performance in the races in which you participate. I hope the PHRF info helps.

Good luck with your racing. It can be a lot of fun and is a good way to learn a lot about sailing in a fairly short period of time. I'm glad your fiancee is enjoying sailing too.

Pat Conner writes:
The one problem I've had so far is replacing the port lights. I've not found suitable replacements, but I've noticed several sailors have had similar problems. Has anyone come up with a suitable solution? I am curious how different sailors have rigged their boats to accommodate ventilation and cooling. Are bimini's practical? What about fans for circulation? If you do week-end cruising, I assume an air conditioner is not practical, but has anyone tried it? I am also curious about the different ways to lay out the deck-rigging, and would really like to see some pictures of that.

Brent Lambert writes that he has dug up the original factory color promotional brochure and price list if anyone's interested in a scan of same. Contact Brent at: Brentdlambert@cs.com

Pat Piper writes:
I am going to have to replace all four portals (windows) on my 1977 Kittiwake. Can anyone provide me with the dimensions that I need to use? And if you have any tips regarding this do-it-yourself project, it would be appreciated. Thank you.
Pat Piper, ppipere@aol.com
Raison D'etre
Deale, Maryland

Phil Tucker writes:
Just wanted to let you know that after losing two (2) motor well plugs on Studbuzzard, I was able to borrow one from another Kittiwake owner and make a mold. From this mold, I have made several fiberglass plugs....which fit Studbuzzard (Kittiwake #95...a production boat). I am certainly willing to make fiberglass plugs for other Kittiwake owners for $125.00. If you think this a benefit to the fleet, please post this information along with our e-mail address.....so those interested can contact me.

I have located in my stuff two (2) #1 W&C winches and winch handles, as well as two (2) #2 winches and winch handles. I have no idea what they are worth....but suspect if someone is seeking to restore their boat with original equipment, they may like to know some exist.
Phil & Noel Tucker, pntucker@juno.com

Phil Tucker wrote:
I am the owner/keeper of Kittiwake #95, Studbuzzard. She was built in 1968. Her bronze tiller head is cracked...and needs repair/replacement. Does anyone in the Registry have an extra tiller head for sale or any ideas on the best place to obtain repairs or custom fabrication? I need some input on this question.

Next, I think I have winch handles for the original W&C winches -- both the #1 and #2 sizes. We had #1 winches at the mast and #2 winches for the genoa. They were long ago replaced with Barient winches (which are no longer made). If anyone needs them for their boat....or would want them for patterns to make replacements, please advise. We'll be glad to sell, share, etc.

Lastly regarding sails, we acquired a new main and 120% genoa for Studbuzzard. The Hanna sails lasted 32 years....so they didn't owe us anything. We did the measuring and gave the specs to Quantum (the West Marine sail loft). They did an excellent job. The only problem was they did not have the Kittiwake emblem for the mail sail.
Sincerely, Phillip J. Tucker

Mike Brown asks:
I'm restoring Kittiwake 692367 and my port lights are shot. The plexiglass is cracked and crazed. The aluminum frame is corroded. The previous owner told me that he had removed the frames for painting and that he wasn't sure they were up to being removed again without replacement. He painted them to look like bronze and they show pretty good from a distance. I'd like to replace them. I've considered bronze but (1) they're very expensive and (2) the one's I've seen aren't really meant for a thick fiberglass section. I'd like to know if anyone has replaced theirs, what they used, and where they found the replacements.
Thanks in advance!
Mike Brown,

Marctardif@aol.com wrote:
When I got my Kittiwake, it did not have a mast. I found a mast from a MacGregor 25'. I'm not sure if it will fit ... Can anyone out there address this?
Marc, hull #232369

Brent Lambert asks:
Having just returned from a less-than-summerlike week in the San Juans, it has been brought to my attention by the crew that self-contained heat would be a good thing to add to our Kittiwake. I am looking at the Force 10 propane heater and have been in contact with their technical department regarding fitting one of their units. However, I'm wondering if other Kittiwake owners have come up with better and/or more economical options.

Doug McDonald wrote:
I just finished overhauling most of my Kittiwake and being a sailor I never gave any thought to what type of motor to put in it. I can't seem to find one that fits into the compartment. And how is it designed to operate? What do my fellow KW owners use for a motor? Thanks for any help.

Response from Fred Hastings:
I bought my 1969 Kittiwake two years ago and there was a 1970 Evenrude 6 HP in the motor well. It does fit nicely, but the only problem now would be to find one that age. I took it to an Evenrude dealer to check out the motor and he told me he wished that they still made like this one. He said that if I took care of it would last forever. The motor space is a little tight, but I can maneuver it in and out with no problem. I take it out and store in inside the boat when not in use. The wood (Teak) access door on the transom is located directly in line with the motor controls and pull start. It does work fairly well.

Response from Alan Deal:
The Kittiwake owner asked about advice on what model outboard to purchase for his Kittywake. I previously had a 4 hp Johnson, which I personally felt was not enough power. I currently have a 9.9 Johnson (1986), which has a low profile in comparison with other manufacturers, and fits perfectly in my well. It also gives the boat ample power.

Response from John McBeth:
Doug, I am the proud owner of hull #1, Windancer, and I purchased it with a 1997 4hp Mariner which works well. It is a tight fit, but I am able to install/remove it solo. I use a remote throttle/shifter mounted on the starboard cockpit. Unfortunately the engine is designed for the remote controls to mount from the fore side of the engine which is not possible in the tight engine well. I was able to make it work by mounting a piece of plywood on the aft edge of the engine well and mounting the control cables to that.

Cliff Gates wrote:
When attempting to put my boat back in the water, the yard where it is stored found that the hull separated from the area around the outboard well. I ground out as much as I could and filled it with Marine-Tex. So far it seems sound even though I haven't put it back in the water. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

While working on that patch, I found that the bulkhead between the outboard area and the far, aft area of the cabin (I hope that makes sense) needs to be repaired/replaced. The gel coat is cracked over most of it and the plywood core is saturated with water. Same for the floor of the outboard compartment. I'm not sure this is a doable repair without removing the deck. Any advice or experiences would be helpful. I'm in the process of repairing simple "dings" and gouges to the hull and am going to paint it this year. Plan on using Interlux 2 part poly paint.

David Anderson wrote:
1. Is there any way to flush out the water tank - I filled it but the water comes out looking blue. I assume it had some chemical added to it at one time.
2. I have discovered a very small leak - the water ends up seeping out (a couple of tablespoons) of the portside bulkhead near the sink. I have not located the origins of the water, but it is wet (slightly) in the storage berth - port side of the v-berth where my electrical panel is. Also any ideas you might have as to where the water might be coming from and how to fix?
3. Do you all have Dodgers and/or Bimini or screened enclosures? If so where did you get them? Do they have to be specially made?
4. What marine catalogs do you typically order from - West Marine?
5. What do you put on the no slip areas of the deck to protect from the elements?&nrsp;&nrsp;&nrsp;&nrsp;Wax?

Larry Franklin wrote:
There has been a report of a manufacturer somewhere on the east coast, perhaps Virginia, That built some Kittiwakes. Does anyone know anything about this manufacturer, who they were, where they were located and how long they built Kittiwakes?

Q.     What can you tell me about the Kittiwake's heavy weather sailing abilities?

A.     My experience with the Kittiwake was on Lake Hefner in Okla. City. That lake is blessed with an abundance of wind. We were always very comfortable with the high wind capabilities of the Kittiwake. I have talked to a couple of people who sail them on the great lakes and they have always said that the Kittiwake was a good vessel for the conditions there, both high winds and large waves. I have never talked to anyone who indicated any reservations about their heavy weather abilities.

Q.     I have a South Coast 23 and have always thought the two boats were near twin Alden 23's. I'm looking for old slot winch handles, mine having been tossed into Lake Erie. I'm also looking to replace the toe rails becuse they've split. Do you have any insight on these parts on your boats that should work on my boat? Beautiful and fun boats, Vince

A.     Yes, the boats are nearly twins. Actually, the designer of the South Coast 23 was Carl Alberg of Marblehead, MA. The Kittiwake 23 is a slight modification of that South Coast 23 design.

The slot winches were manufactured by Wilcox-Crittenden. They are still in business, but no longer make winches and some of the other old hardware items. I also am in need of some replacement winch handles. I think our only hope is to contact some of the consignment shops that handle used boat equipment. See one of the other questions for sources of used boat equipment.

The toe rails are made of teak. The cross section of the toe rail is a trapezoid in shape. The base is 1 3/8", the top is 1 1/8" and the height of the trapezoid is 3/4".

Q.     I am considering buying a Kittiwake and have been corresponding by e-mail with some of the owners in the registry. One owner who keeps his Kwake on the Chesapeake finds that he takes on water through the engine well on a port tack ( I presume in heavier seas) that gets into the stern cabinet weighing the stern down. Any similar experiences? He also is having water seepage into the main cabin through the hull that is keeping the carpet wet and contributing to deterioration of the interior in general. Not good! Any ideas on causes/cures. By the way this owner loves his boat and strongly recommends it as a buy/keep for the long haul.

A.     Taking on water thru the outboard well is typical. My current K-23 had been sailed on Lake Michigan. That owner had the motor well fiberglassed over to prevent taking on water. He added an outboard bracket to the transom. It looks hideous. I plan to reopen the original outboard well and remove the OB bracket. Originally, Kittiwakes came with a fiberglass plug that could be installed in the outboard well if you wanted to sail without a motor installed.

One possible source for water seepage into the main cabin is at the chainplates. Look closely at how they are installed. Each set of chainplates consists of three vertical metal straps and two horizontal metal straps welded together. This assembly is fiberglassed to the inside of the hull. The upper ends of the vertical straps extend through slotted holes in the hull flange to which the deck is bolted. The slotted holes were originally sealed with bedding compound. Over the years, as the hull and the chainplates flex with load, and the bedding compound dries out and hardens, water can come in around the chainplates and seep through the fiberglass that bonds them to the hull.

A solution for this is to drill some small holes (probably 4 to 6, 3/16" to 1/4" diameter) in the fiberglass that bonds the chainplates to the hull, being careful to only drill into the void space near the chainplate straps and not clear through the hull. These holes should be near the lower horizontal strap. Then using a high pressure caulking gun, inject caulking compound into the holes to fill the open areas around the chainplates from the bottom up. I would suggest using one of the new high adhesive, flexible polyurethane compounds such as 3M 5200 or Sikaflex.

Another source of water ingress could be through the hull to deck joint itself. This joint is under the teak toe rail. After thirty years the bedding compound in this joint may have dried out and lost its sealing capacity.

The solution for this is doable, but not easy. I am just about to do this one on my K-23. You have to remove all of the toe rail and the bolts that hold the hull and deck together. Then raise the deck enough to get access to clean out all of the old joint compound. Then apply new caulking and re-secure the deck. Again I would use 3M 5200 or the slow curing Sikaflex. Be sure to carefully seal all of the deck bolts and caulk generously under the toe rail as you reinstall it taking care to seal all of the toe rail bolts as well.

Q.     Is rewiring a viable do-it-yourself project?

A.     Rewiring should be a viable do-it-yourself project. The main things to remember are that you have to run a positive and ground for every device and be sure that you do not do anything that would set up stray currents to any metal thru-hull fittings. You do not want to set up any electrolysis corrosion problems.

Q.     What is your feeling on using a roller furling headsail on the Kittiwake?

A.     Choosing to use roller furling or not is a personal choice. I personally prefer to do without it.

Q.     I am considering the purchase of a Kittiwake. What is the value of a used Kittiwake?

A.     The value of a boat could range from $1500 or less to $7000 or more depending on condition and equipment. I paid $4000 for mine last Sept. It had a nearly new 5HP four-cycle outboard, but no trailer. The surveyor valued it at $4500.

Q.     I am interested in purchasing a '70 Kittiwake that is in good condition. I hope to bring it back to like new but am concerned that finding hardware, rigging, even sails that fit properly will be difficult. Can any of you share with me your experiences in 'renewing' your boats, including sources for equipment?

A.     Bringing a Kittiwake back to like new condition with presently available hardware will not be much of a problem. However, to make it "as original" will be difficult. The original winches, Herreshoff cleats and Skeene chocks were made by Wilcox Crittenden and the turnbuckles and blocks were made by Merriman. I have not been able to locate Wilcox Crittenden in recent years. Merriman no longer makes the micarta blocks, but Defender carries the Merriman turnbuckles. Ref. Defender Marine Buyers Guide, 42 Great Neck Rd., Waterford, CT, 06385, Ph. 800-628-8225, website: http://www.DefenderUS.com.

The genoa and jib sheets track was 3/4" "T" track made of bronze and the track cars, stem head and the rudder post fittings were bronze castings made to order for Kenner.

There was a nice casting of an eagle mounted on the transom. A replacement for the eagle can be purchased from Renovator's, Renovators Old Mill, Millers Falls, Ma 01349. Phone, 1-800-659-2211. It is Catalog No. 18904.

Sails should not be a problem. The sail plan dimensions are listed in the answer to another question, as well as being posted on the pyacht.com web site. North, Hood and other old line sailmakers may still have the sail plans in their files. If sails were purchased with the boat, Kenner furnished sails made by Hanna. I don't think Hanna is still in business. However many people preferred to purchase sails from other sail lofts so there should be several who can still make sails for a Kittiwake. See one of the other questions for sources for used sails also.

Q.     We bought this old Kittiwake, cannnot find number, suspect it is a kit. We would like to register.

A.     I guess I'm going to have to develop a whole new group for the Kittiwakes whose hull #'s have been lost. You are the second of three this week. Please forgive the following questions, but I'm hoping that we can determine your hull # by some other means. Does your main sail have a number stitched on it about half way up the sail? Did you get a title or registration papers with the boat that might have a number on it that would include the hull #? Do you know the year that the boat was manufactured?

Your boat may very well be a kit. I do not know if Kenner included a hull number plate with all the kits they sold. My first Kittiwake was a kit. It was manufactured in 1969 and it did have a brass plate with it that indicated that it was hull #219. That plate is visible in the photo of the boat interior that is included in the web site. The earlier factory finished boats had a plain brass plate that was mounted on the v-berth side of that deck support beam.

One way that you can tell that a boat was a kit is by how the interior of the hull is finished. Notice the off white coating that has the blue flecks in it that is on the interior of the deck. That coating pretty well hides the weave of the fiberglass laminate. Factory finished boats have this coating on the interior of the hull also. The kits (at least those that did not have the interior sub-assemblies pre-installed) did not have this coating.

Q.     My boat does not have the genoa winch stands or genoa tracks that are needed for a full genoa. I have purchased the winches, and built nice stands for the winches to stand on to raise them above the height of the coaming. I have two questions, however:
1.) Does anyone know the exact positioning of the winches? How far from the stern of the boat, or from the end of the coaming, should they go? Also, does the original plan include a cleat on the coaming itself or on the deck outside of the coaming?
2.) Any suggestions for the track? I need to know their positioning as well, that is, how far from stern, measuring down the toerail, they should be placed. But more importantly, I need to find some tracks! I'd much rather use the narrow tracks that originally came with the boat, but I can't find any except for the ones that are on the top of my cabin for the working jib! If I can't find the narrow ones, however, I would love to hear how someone with the same problem tackled the issue...

A.     The location of the genoa winch pedestals is 28 3/4" aft of the forward corner of the coaming to the center line of the winch pedestal. The aft end of the genoa track is located 75" forward of the aft corner of the toe rail. The original plan utilized cleats mounted on the outside of the coaming. However, many owners have removed the cleats and built a seperate pedestal to mount their own favorite type of sheet holder such as cam cleats.

With regard to obtaining the tracks, I thought that Kenner purchased them from a hardware manufacturer. I was wrong. I recently went to Knoxville, AR to visit with Mr. John Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler was the Production Manager for Kenner Boat Company when they were building the sailboats. John told me that they machined the track in house. They used 3/4" by 3/8" by four foot bronze bar stock and milled a rabbet down each side and drilled and counter sunk the mounting holes.

You might try some of the used equipment brokers. The Jan./Feb. 2000 issue of GOODOLDBOAT published an article which listed several. Also, Check the articles by Sue & Larry on the sailnet web site. one of them is called "Marine Surplus & Consignment Shopping". The sidebar to that article lists several such shops.

Mr. Wheeler also corrected an erroneous idea that I had concerning the serial No. plate on the early Kittiwakes. He said that the serial No. is in the form of nnn23yy, where the nnn is the hull number, 23 identifies it as a Kittiwake, and yy designates the year of construction.

Q.     I just bought a 1966 K-23 that needs to be restored and my main problem now is that boat did not have a mast. I'm trying to find some details on what kind of mast I should get or if there is some place I can get a used original one. I need some sails and one of the 3" sheet winchs.

A.     Check the Rig-Rite web site. They carry a good selection of spars. The Kenyon "E" section or the Spartan "CD-3" section will work for your Kittiwake.

There are a couple of brokers that handle used sails. You can probably find suitable sails to get you going with them. One such is: Bacon & Associates, Inc., 116 Legion Ave., Annapolis, MD 21401-4014, Ph. 410/263-4880, http://www.bacon-sails.com/. Check the following web site for another used sail broker: http://www.usedsail.com/.

I don't know if you can luck into a used K-23 mast or not. You might try some of the used equipment brokers. The same is true for the winch you need. I'm guessing that it is the type that Kenner supplied that has a rectangular slot in the rim of the top of the winch. That slot is to insert the winch handle into for operating the winch. If that is the case, it is a Wilcox-Crittenden winch. That company is apparently no longer in business. At least, I cannot find them. See one of the other questions for sources for used boat equipment.

Q.     I got my kittiwake at the end of last summer and so far I'm having a great time redoing just about everything wood, electrical, rigging and lines. I'm hoping some of my fellow Kittiwake oweners can help me. I'm making all new lines and halyards. What I need to know is:
1.   the length of the main halyard
2.   length of the jib/genoa halyards
3.   length of the main sheets
4.   length of jib/genoa sheets
5.   I've got a spinnaker for the boat and will need to set the boat up for sailing that. It didn't come with spinnaker gear and I have no old ones to go by so I'm having a little problem. Also what type of motor do I need for it and should It be a long shaft or short?
This is just a start I'll get to electrical and the rig of the main sheet next time.

A.     For starters, Kenner Mfg. Co. is operating in Knoxville, AR. This co. is run by the sons of the Kenner brothers who started Kenner Boat Company and began the production of the Kittiwakes. I spoke to Gary Kenner some time back. They still have some copies of the construction manuals for the kit built Kittiwakes. They will sell you a manual for $25.00 if you would like one. They do not have any other information or materials for the Kittiwakes. Gary and his cousin Bill were just children when the Kittiwakes were being built. As a result, they do not remember very much in the way of details regarding the Kittiwakes. You can contact them at:
Kenner Manufacturing Co.
P.O. Box 100
Knoxville, AR 72845
Ph 501-885-3171

I recommend getting the manual. It would be helpful for reference in doing a restoration job. It has sketches with dimensions for many of the teak pieces. It also includes a sail plan that you could make copies of to send to sail makers when you request quotes for sails. It also has a proportionally correct pattern for the Kittiwake logo that goes on the mainsail. See other questions for companies that broker used sails and the sail plan and sail dimensions. The manual also has basic wiring information for the 12 volt electrical system.

The main halyard and jib halyard are each 55' long. The jib/genoa sheet is 60' long before doubling. The Main Sheet is 70' long.

A four to six HP outboard is adequate to power a Kittiwake although I know of some that have utilized up to 9.9 HP outboards. The outboard well situated in the lazarette is designed so that the use of a long shaft outboard is unnecessary. You should carefully check the dimensions of the motor you are considering to insure that it will go into the lazarette and fit into the outboard well without any interferances and that all the motor's controls are accessable.

Q.     How can I tell what my hull number is?

A.     If your boat was built by Kenner, the hull # of your boat is included in the serial # on that brass plate in the center of the mast support beam incorporated into the main bulkhead, or on the starboard side of the main bulkhead in the main cabin. The earlier Kenner boats had a plain brass plate with a number like 1412368. This plate was located on the V-berth side of the beam. The numbers preceding the "23" are the hull #. The numbers following the "23" Denote the year of production. At some point they changed to a slightly larger plate that was silk screened with:

"Kenner Kittiwake 23
Hull No.
Built by
Kenner Boat Co. Knoxville, Ark."
A three digit number was stamped into the plate just to the right of the words Hull No. This plate was located in the main cabin on the starboard side of the main bulkhead. The numbers on the sails are supposed to correspond with the hull number of the boat. That doesn't always happen however. There are two boats that in the registry whose sail numbers are different from their hull numbers. Boats built by Ray Greene and by River City SailCraft may have different systems for identifying the hull number.

Q.     What was the arrangement for genoa sheeting on the Kittiwake?

A.     If your boat was purchased originally with only a working jib, the genoa kit may not have been purchased with it. Winches mounted on the cabin top were an optional extra for the working jib. The boats built prior to about #200 did not have the genoa winch pedestals molded into the deck. The genoa winch pedestals for those boats was a separate fiberglass casting that bolted to the coaming boards and the deck. The later boats had the genoa winch pedestals molded in as an integral part of the fiberglass deck. The standard genoa winches that came with the genoa kit were Wilcox-Crittenden. The genoa sheet track was an item that Kenner had made especially for them. It is 3/4" wide across the top part of the "T", and is the same size as the working jib track mounted on the cabin top. It is a small and unusual size. It was very hard to find track cars for it if you didn't buy them from Kenner. And that was thirty years ago. The smallest track and cars that I have seen in the hardware catalogs recently has been 1". The sheet blocks that came with the genoa kit were made by Merriman and had micarta cheeks and sheaves.

End of Q & A Page
Select from the links in the left margin to view a different page

© 2008