This shallow draft cutter was designed for the personal use of the most ornery, knitpicking, demanding, hypercritical client I’ve ever had — me. Jim Krogen
In the early 1970’s, Art Kadey started a yacht brokerage in Coconut Grove, FL. Here, he ran into Jim Krogen, a local yacht designer. They used to hang out with other locals, drink beer and talk about their problems and their dreams. Eventually, Kadey came to Krogen with ideas for a trawler. Kadey dreamed of retiring and cruising the Caribbean on a full displacement trawler. Kadey was serious and gave some crude drawings of what his dream trawler would look like. The drawings intrigued Krogen, and he decided to fine out the lines and add in the missing pieces for what would become the 42 Krogen. There also are wood motorsailer 42 Krogens with 12 hulls produced. In 1976, they joined with a Taiwanese yard to produce these 42′ Krogen trawlers. The design caught on, the company grew, and before they knew it, they were boat builders, Kadey Krogen Yachts.
But, the Jim Krogen was more of a sailor at heart. While he designed trawlers, his dream boat was a sailboat. Kadey agreed that they should next build Krogen’s dream boat. He went and designed a unusual gunkholer, the 38′ Kadey Krogen. As Bob Perry writes, “James S. Krogen designed this yacht for himself and is presently having it built in Taiwan… you can be sure that all the features of this design have been honed to near perfection over the years.” Production started in 1981. From 1981 to 1992, they would build eighty five of these 38′ sailboats.
The 38 Kadey Krogen is a gunkholer, a centerboard gunkholer. Living and working on Biscayne Bay, FL had shaped Jim Krogen’s idea of the perfect boat. In fact, she has tandem centerboards drawling 3’2″ centerboard up, 6’8″ down. Tadem centerboards is an unusual feature on a boat. As one broker notes, “A real person whose going to buy one just about has to be somebody looking for a Kadey Krogen 38.” It is not a generic production design. They also produced a keel version with 5′ draft. She has the classic clipper bow, pirate stern look with trailboards and above average in beam. It’s quite an unusual mix.
With the sailboat design, Kadey Krogen started production in 1980. The Taiwanese yard, Chien Hwa Boat Builders, were going fast. Word is their earliest hulls were not as well built, but they were always improving their techniques. Most 38’s came out later with a quality layup. According to company brochures, the layup was closed-cell PVC with heavy hand lay-up using mat and roving. The interior is teak veneer with teak and holly soles. She has encapsulated lead ballast of 7,000 pounds in the tandem centerboard version and iron ballast in the deep keel version. The fuel tanks are stainless steel. The rudder is fiberglass, skeg hung.
By February 1981, they had built three Krogen 38 sailboats. Then, tragedy stuck. Art Kadey came to the rescue of a couple being robbed in a yacht club parking lot after dinner. One of the thugs pulled out a gun and shot Kadey dead. A friend of Krogen’s emotionally told me, “You know what happened to Art Kadey? He was shot – shot by a bunch of thugs because he was doing the right thing. One time I was talking to Jim and casually mentioned the 38 as a Krogen. Jim corrected me saying, ‘It’s a Kadey-Krogen.’ He was right. That’s why I always make sure to call them Kadey-Krogens.” Quickly, Jim’s son, Kurt, assumed Art’s work in Taiwan building Kadey Krogen yachts. They kept going. What else could they do?
What To Look For
Like most boat builders the quality at the yard improved as they become more experienced. Early build problems are the common leaky teaky issues. And any Taiwanese boats built in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s can have shoddy stainless steel. Look for whether the hull has the 5′ fixed keel or tandem centerboards. She was originally underpowered which is odd for a mainly powerboat manufacturer. The original engine was a small 30HP diesel which thankfully soon was replaced by mostly the ubiquitous Perkins 4-108. While passable you might want a bit more than the Perkins 4-108 to really power through that Bahamas chop.
On Deck and Down Below
She has an unusual athwartship berth aft portside. Otherwise the layout is standard with the V-berth forward and head with saloon amidships. Galley is aft starboardside. The joinery below is a symphony of beautiful teak with warm solid teak hatches above. One of the Kadey Krogen’s has a different build, the owner’s personal boat named Pelican. Built in 1987, he modified the design in a couple ways. First, he made her a ketch. Second, he increased the cockpit length by removing the aft berth.
Engine and Underway
Originally, the Krogen was underpowered with a 30 HP Pathfinder diesel. They switched to the 4-108 Perkins 50 HP and the Westebeke W46 which still were underpowered a bit. Look for ones with the Perkins which is easy to find parts for or repowered with a Yanmar. With her tandem centerboards and long shoal keel, she must have some sailing faults though I have not heard what. Krogen says, “She’s fun to sail. Quick to respond. Stiff in a stiff wind. Still, she can sneak over about three feet of water. Two people can handle her with no trouble. In fact, with tandem centerboards, she practically sails herself.” Krogen raced his Pelican and loved the design.
They continued production of the 38 until 1991. Jim Jr. had joined the company as well and was doing design like his father. Kurt continued to head production. In 1994, Jim Krogen died young at 66 of a heart attack. Now, the maker legacy lay with the sons Kurt and Jim. Kurt became president, and Jim took over design. They continued Kadey’s dreams of trawlers. In the late 1990’s, the sons moved the company to Stuart. In 2007, Kurt sold his shares to two investors. Jim still runs his father’s design studio. As of 2009, of the 85 built 38 Kadey Krogen yachts, many are still treasured for great gunkholers for Florida and the Caribbean. Brokerage prices range around $100,000. Go to SV Elsa’s excellent website for detailed information, for sale listings, and much more.