SoCal Classics: Roon II

Boat Name:Roon II

Length: 38.5 ft.

Beam:  11 ft. and 4 in.

Draft:  5 ft. and 4 in.

Year Built: 1934

The Back Story: Roon II is a 1934 Sparkman Stephens Ketch and was built at Kretzer Boat Works on City Island in New York City.

April Salem is the vessel’s fifth owner and apparently saved the boat from being chopped apart.

“She sat for many years,” Salem said. “I found her in sad shape at a Wooden Boat Festival. No one wanted her. She was soon to be chopped up.” 

The wooden boat was originally built for Royal Shaw Kellogg, who helped President Theodore Roosevelt develop a national forestry policy. He specifically helped establish a forest fire control program and authored several books.

Several mentions of Roon II were made in a Kellogg biography published by North Carolina State University.

“The best little cruising craft of the kind we ever saw,” Kellogg said of Roon II when she was built, according to the biography.

Kellogg traveled to Florida aboard Roon II in the winter of 1940. One year later, he planned to spend another winter aboard the vessel in Florida. The United States’ participation in World War II altered his plans.

“Auto trip to Mexico,” Kellogg wrote, according to the North Carolina State biographical document, “interrupted by Pearl Harbor and came home as quickly as possible. War prevented winter living aboard Roon II in Florida.”

Kellogg finally parted ways with Roon II in July 1947.

“Sold Roon II (with many regrets and fond memories) for enough to buy 1,200 feet of salt water frontage and 6 acres at Hooker Point,” Kellogg reportedly wrote.

What’s Inside: Salem bought Roon II in 2010. When she bought her, Roon II came with original charts, lanterns and sails. The lanterns are still functioning; neither Salem nor any of the previous owners installed DC running lights. Salem spent five years maintaining Roon II, caulking seams above and below the water, creating her own paint mixtures and doing other craft work.

A Slice of History: Roon II can be full of surprises, as Salem discovered during a routine bout of maintenance.

“While cleaning out the bilge I found a furry thing. It was an old pocket knife and had some engraving. It was Roy Kellogg’s,” Salem said. “It was made in 1939, one year only.”

Salem explained how Roon II changed hands prior to her purchase of the 1934 wooden boat in 2010.

“The fact her previous owners did not change her is remarkable. I have 300 original charts that came with her showing where she has been,” Salem explained. “Roy and Janet Kellogg took her from New York to Cuba each winter. Her second owners kept her off of St John’s for 15 years.

“The third owners took her to Maine every year. There was a divorce and complications. The fourth owners were crew for the third owner. They are in their 80s and did not have time or money for her.”

Notes: Roon II is currently docked at Dana West Marina.

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