When saving a Kettenburg hits the mid six figures,
cutting her up for parts makes more sense.

by Steve Barber
Posted: March 15, 2006

1.There seems to be a “renaissance” of sorts in the renovation of wooden classics, but sometimes difficult choices must be made.

2.Too often wooden vessels are left to deteriorate in their slips by well meaning owners who intend to take care of them, but real life intervenes.

3.We saved the bow, amongst many of the parts we purposefully removed for use on other K-38s, with the intent of refinishing it as a wall hanging. We will be fastening the many regatta and other plaques acquired by NUMPH during her history to this refinished bow.

4.What we have discovered is that as people age or become ill, they realize too late that they won’t be renovating their woodie. By the time they are emotionally able to say goodbye to it, the deterioration is beyond easy renovation and into serious restoration. At the end of the day the market value of the boats is less than 10% of the renovation costs, and less than 5% of the restoration costs.

5.These choices are not easy to make. But finding a new owner willing to tackle the renovation or restoration while the storage fees rack up places even more pressure to “solve the problem”. This is especially true when the four people involved in this effort already own K-38s and are paying berth fees and maintenance costs on them. NYMPH came to us for dismantling rather than going as a donation to Sea Scouts and enduring an even slower death by deterioration or losing her as an asset to help other K-38s survive by sinking while underway through the bottom falling out.

6.We had intended to save the transom in order to create another wall hanging, but it disintegrated into a thousand pieces of dust due to rot.

7.We saved the mast, boom, fittings, chain plates, head, fuel tank, engine, prop shaft, shaft/rudder bronze housing, a variety of bulkhead and interior pieces etc. Most people lay the boat on the ground and drive over it with a bulldozer.

We agonized a long time over whether or not to save the house intact (leaving the roof attached to the cabin sides), but eventually decided that for ease of handling and storage the roof would have to be cut off. We left strips of roof plywood attached to the cabin sides in order to help them retain their shape. We cut off each of the hand rails and navigation lights as individual units with pieces of the roof attached for the same purpose.


10.So, part of the calculation is whether the cost to save the boat is one that someone can bear. Experience with three other K-38s which each presented some of the accumulated total of deterioration seen in NYMPH told me that the renovation would be a number in the low six figures, more if it was done by a yard.


12.We saved many, many pieces for use in other K-38s. No, we won’t give them away. This dismantling cost a lot of money to accomplish: storage, saw blades, three weeks work, two people on the job, haul out, transport etc. Here, you can see the copper, yes copper, water tank that is positioned under the V berth o the K-38.




16.We cut out large section of planking rather than taking the planks off one at a time due to the time saved. Everything was mapped before cutting up. We just hope we can figure out what’s what if we aver need to use some of the planks again.

17.Rot, rot, rot. There wasn’t one single rib that wasn’t completely crapped out at the bilge. It Was sickening to see.

18.Years of water accumulation in the bilge took its toll on the rib ends and the floors.



21.Only pictures do an adequate job of describing the damage.

22.Having taken the time to accomplish repairs to damage only slightly less dramatic than this on BANANAS the cost of renovating NYMPH was well known to me.

23.Not only was the wood shot, but the fasteners were dust. What was holding this boat together below the water line was simply “memory”.

24.Even after she’s cut up we have the ballast to deal with. No body wants the 3500 lbs. of lead as recyclable metal. So we are going to store it in case someone’s keel bolts break and they lose their ballast to the sea.

25.Just leaving the ballast in the yard costs storage fees each month.

26.Just leaving the ballast in the yard costs storage fees each month.

27.The floors might make decent patterns, but we don’t want to have them around as the rot spores spread to other wood.