Maritime Museum of San Diego

Oral Interview with

Paul Kettenburg

November 21, 2003

Maritime Museum of San Diego


Interviewed by: Mark Allen

Interview conducted at Mr. Kettenburg's home

3225 Kellogg Sreet

San Diego, California 92106


Transcribed by Mark Allen



This is Mark Allen and this interview is with Paul Kettenburg, with the assistance of Tom Kettenburg. The date is the 21st of November, 2003. And Paul, I wanted to ask you just a general question first, and that is why do you think that you have such a loyal following in San Diego for Kettenburg boats? eople are passionate about their boats. What’s your opinion about why you’ve got such a huge following?

Paul Kettenburg: Well, these boats were designed, basically, for the San Diego conditions. Which covers pretty much most of Southern California, and carries on up into Seattle and that area. But basically, the boats that we produced were produced specifically for the San Diego conditions.

MA: Can you describe those conditions a little bit?

PK: Well, wind velocity is anywhere from 5 knots to 15 knots. That’s kind of the typical wind conditions that we encountered here in this area. It also worked out pretty good for Newport Harbor, but, of course, San Francisco was a whole different ball game, and L.A. Harbor was kind of in between.

MA: I think there’s a lot more that’s made people passionate about their boats than that—so that’s obviously one of the things, but are there other factors that you can put your finger on, that have gotten such a devoted following for Kettenburg boats?

PK: The only thing I can say in that regard is, we designed ‘em as something that we would like to sail. And it turned out that a lot of other people liked the same thing we did. That was the basic thought of the thing. Of course, George and I were very active in the yacht club so we were close to the people that were sailing, and we spent a lot of time discussing the different aspects of boats, and we kinda came up with the kind of thing that people really wanted.

MA: Now the people who bought Kettenburg boats, in the writing that I’m going to be doing about Kettenburg Boat Works, one thing I’d like to spend a lot of time on, is writing about how people in San Diego—there was kind of a network of people that owned Kettenburg boats, and they included a lot of important people both politically and socially. And were connected with each other through owning Kettenburg boats. I know the name Hartley comes to mind, but can you talk about anyone else that was a big Kettenburg fan, besides Hartley and Jessop that you might say was sort of significant in San Diego’s history?

PK: Offhand, I have a little problem remembering names these days.

Tom Kettenburg: I could probably supply a couple of names: I know the Trepte family