History Page

The Kittiwake 23:
Kenner Boat Company was located at Knoxville, AR near the Dardanelle Reservoir, a part of the Arkansas River Navigation Project. Initially Kenner built the South Coast 23, a typical Alberg design, for South Coast Sea Craft. In about 1965 there was some sort of a falling out and South Coast took the molds and moved to Shreveport, LA. A hull was left behind which Kenner cut up, enlarged by a few inches, and re-faired to make molds for the Kittiwake.

Sometime around 1970 the factory was sold to a conglomerate named AJ Industries. This company continued to produce Kittiwakes, the Privateer 26 and 35, the Skipjack 35, and the line of Suwanee houseboats as well as the Rum Runner and Captain's Gig that Kenner had put into production. During this time, production was still continued under the Kenner name as a division of AJ Industries.

Sometime in 1971, AJ Industries began transferring plant equipment and other assets to other companies in the AJ Industries stable. Once the most desireable assets had been acquired, AJ industries liquidated the remainder of the business. Kenner Boat Company ceased to exist.

The molds for the various boat lines were sold at auction. Ray Greene and Co. of Toledo, OH bought a Kittiwake mold. Ray Greene and Co. produced the Kittiwake Until Mr. Greene retired in 1975. Ray Greene & Co. is out of business. The number produced is unknown. Some people who have Ray Green Kittiwakes are listed in the registry.

At the auction, some people who later formed a company in North Little Rock, AR called River City Sailcraft obtained the rest of the Kittiwake molds. River City Sailcraft built a total of sixty-nine Kittiwakes. Several are listed in the registry. An owner from Ft. Worth, TX has one of these. Some others are sailing on Lake Maumelle in Arkansas. A broker in NC reported that a boat he had listed, a 1978 model, was the last one produced by RCS before the molds were destroyed in a fire at the plant.

There is still a Kenner operation in Knoxville, AR. Gary Kenner and his cousin Bill run the current operation. They produce fishing boats for the coastal flats. Their fathers, who have both passed away, started the original boat building plant and the sailboat construction. Gary and his cousin were just children at the time the sailboats were being built. They do not remember very much about the days of sailboat construction. There are no existing records and they do not know how many were built.








A former Kenner employee reported that Kenner built a full size half model of a Kittiwake to exhibit at boat shows. Years ago, a photo of this half model appeared in "Sailing" magazine. The webmaster of the Pearson Vanguard web site emailed a scan of the page to us.






Kittiwake manufacturers:
The 1975 edition of Sail Magazine's Sailboat and Equipment Directory lists two builders besides Ray Greene & Co. that claimed to be producing Kittiwakes at that time. They were:

Hansa Fleet, Inc.
Rt. 2, P.O. Box 22586
La Plata, MD 20646

and

Yachts America
Ft. Washington Rd.
Ft. Washington, MD 20022

Ray Greene & Co. is the only one of these that is known to have produced any boats.






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