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Marionette is #6 of 22 K-50s built in San Diego. She was commissioned in 1964. Kettenburg Boatworks was famous for building lightweight and very fast wooden racing sailboats and the K-50s are of that model. She is light for her size, weighing just 28,000 lbs. She has a 13.5′ beam, 7′ draft, and carries a sail area of 1,000 square feet. Her hull is planked with 1-1/4″ Honduras Mahogany shaped over 1″x 1.5″ steam-bent oak frames on 10″ centers and fastened to an oak keel. Her trunk cabin and cabin top are made of two layers of 3/4″plywood laminated together. Her deck is of 3/4″ plywood, covered with fiberglass cloth. The fasteners are made of Monel rather than the traditional bronze, contributing to her sound structure and long life.

K-50s designed and built to compete in the 2,250 mile Trans-Pac race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. She participated in two of them, placing sixth and 4th in her class. She was then retired from offshore racing and competed in local and coastwise races to Mexico, and cruised the California Coast between events.

In 2006, Marionette was sailed north from Redondo Beach California, a trip of 1,100 miles to windward, arriving very wet, the day before her first showing at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival. It took three days for the cockpit floor to dry. It was an eventful trip, but she held up well, showing off her strength and offshore capabilities, even after hitting a sleeping whale off Oregon in the dead of night and cracking three port side ribs in the way of the mast.
I often hear that it must take a lot of time, work, and money to keep up a wooden boat. But, it really doesn’t take any more time, money, or effort than it would to keep any 60 year old boat going. But, you do have to really like to sand, glue, cut, and paint…