I finally got around to dig through the big box of paperwork that came with the boat. It contains a lot of manuals and receipts etc. that the various owners had collected over the years and especially Frank Weis had been quite meticulous in saving manuals and receipts.

But the coolest things I found was some original correspondence between John R. Lashua who had the K-38 in Kotzebue, Alaska and Paul A. Kettenbrug, the original builder of the boat!


Letter from the actual designer/builder who built the K-38 in 1951. This letter is dated 27NOV1973, almost 21 years after launch "somewhere" in 1951.

John Lashua apparently asked from some plans of the K-38 and wanted some more information about the fuel tank, the latter Paul was unfortunately not able to provide. But I also learned a little tidbit about the deck covering, which apparently had been canvas, which, according to Paul, probably needed to be replaced by now (22 years after launch). Kettenburg Marine had started to use fiberglass with hull #22 and he suggested that John Lashua use fiberglass to cover the deck.

I also found an (empty) envelope from the Kettenburg Boat Works (as they were called then) from Mar 13th, 1952 sent to what I assume is the original owner; a Dr. Russel H. Huff In Seattle Washington. I also found a specification list from Apr 16th, 1952 as it was received by the "Seattle Office" so I am guessing that the specs were the original content of the envelope...Pretty cool!

An envelope from the Kettenburg Boat Works sent on 13MAR2015 to the first owner in Seattle Washington which very likely contained the spec sheet, seen below

I also found some plans that were probably sent to John Lashua in 1973 by Paul Kettenburg since he referenced them in his letter. There are several plans for the interior but I suspect that this first plan here (#375 from 1949) is the closest to what the original layout was. That plan shows the two full berths on either side and the head on the port side. It also shows two ice buckets on starboard and a sink and stove on port side. The sink and ice bucket are now on the starboard side while the port side berth is shorter now and a ice bucket and stove are port side now. The previous owner, Frank Weis had created a beautiful stove, icebox and working area on port side. He had not gotten around on addressing the sink and old rusty icebox, on starboard side, so that task now falls to me.

I actually like plan #376 a little better with the berths sticking into the cockpit so I am considering changing the layout at some time...But we will see....

I did not perform a survey when I bought the boat since I am in impulse buyer and I knew she was in decent shape. Going through the old stuff I did find a Survey from 1976 and the findings from the surveyor then.

From the survey I learned that quite a few ribs (7) had been broken or cracked and that those ribs needed to be "sistered" (another rib put beside it to retain the integrity). Indeed those have been sistered so it is obvious this thing had run into some stuff and I suspect ice since it was in Kotzebue, AK for years.

I also found a more recent letter from when Frank Weis bought the K-38 from an woman named Donna in Seattle, Washington. Mickey (Malcom) Warde bought the K-38 from John Lashua in 1991 and put in a new engine and replaced the rigging. In 1998 the mast was replaced  and it seems that the cockpit deck was replaced somewhere in 2001 as well.

Letter from Donna to Frank about the bought he was about to buy in 2001.

So, with all this it is now probably possible to trace back its history:

  1. "Somewhere in 1951" the K-38 with hull #7 is launched by Kettenburg Boat Works, San Diego
  2. 16MAR1952 : Bought by Dr. Russel H. Huff in Seattle, Washington
  3. ?1973 : Bought by John R. Lashua in Katzebue, Alaska
  4. ?1991 : Bought by Malcom (Mickey) Warde in Seattle, Washington
  5. JUN2001 : Bought by Frank Weis in Arboles, Colorado from Donna (Estate holder)
  6. 06MAY2015 : Bought by Thon de Boer, destination "Somewhere in the CA Bay Area"

Here is a map of all the places this K-38 has been.