Preview: Single Handed Sailing MALABAR II with Jim Lobdell

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Whether it’s a 42′ Alden Schooner or a Herreshoff 12 1/2 – single handed sailing is all about knowing your boat and simplicity.

MALABAR II was designed by John G. Alden and built originally in 1922 by Charles A. Morse & Son in Thomaston, Maine. She’s 41’6” on deck with a beam of 11’3” and a draft of a little over six feet.

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30 Responses So Far to “Single Handed Sailing MALABAR II with Jim Lobdell

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    Antony Keyes says:

    I just learned (from WB #295) of Jim’s passing in July. Living on the other side of the planet, I never knew him, but from many viewings of these two videos, he seems like an old friend. He comes through as an excellent seaman, a warm, humble teacher and a fine human being. RIP, Jim.

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      Loch Phillipps says:

      Just to weigh in a little on Jim, he was both my drafting teacher in high school and my schooner mentor as I gradually took over my father’s Alden schooner, Voyager. What a great sailor and friend he was, calm and competent to the core. I miss him.

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    Burke Horner says:

    Fantastic video, made to look so simplistic, by a veteran yachtsman!

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    William Mittendorf says:

    The aesthetic of the Malabar is simply wonderful and can be a compelling reason to own and sail one in and of itself. However, to call it simple denies comparison to modern systems and the existence of modern materials. There is an argument to be made for ease of repair in the event of system failure.

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    Ants Uiga says:

    I like the idea of the sail ties on the gaff. I have an 84 sf balanced lug on a 14 foot boat that may benefit from the idea.

  • David Tew

    David Tew says:

    I wish the Carrick and Henderson book, replete with detail and anecdotes as it is, had an index. There’s a story in it (somewhere) about John Alden singlehanding one of his own Malabars and falling overboard from the bow. He was able to grab a chainplate or something stout as the boat sailed past and haul himself aboard. Although he made light of the incident over the years by yarning that the boat sailed back to get him, it scared him into practicing man overboard drills with future crews. Apparently he was never again able to reboard without help, signifying the power of adrenal glands when challenged by emergency!

    Personal note:
    A Malabar II (the name applied to thirteen of his successive designs, all schooners, except a few ketches) MARY ANN was built in 1922 in Thomaston at the Morse boatyard and was the first big sailboat I remember being on. I believe I was at least four when my family chartered her and sailed in tandem with one of my father’s friends’ family on their separate 50’ schooner. It must have been 1956 or 1957 when there were four of us children. I recall sailing beyond Mt. Desert into Frenchman Bay. I remember my oldest brother and dad setting a gollywobbler (so big, so far up in the sky!) and my mom talking on a radio telephone through the ‘Marine Operator’ of those days., which seemed like magic to me. MAY ANN may also have been the Malabar II that finished fifth the 1923 Bermuda Race in the fleet of twenty two starters and finishers in a hard slog. The race was won by the first of the Malabar IVs and the raised Alden’s reputation to racing fame in schooners of his own design :

  • Jonathan Bryant

    Jonathan Bryant says:

    Great video, well done. I noticed Jim added mast hoops since your last video on the boat, but uses two different methods of attaching the fore and main sails to the hoops. It looks like the upper hoops are directly lashed to grommets on the sail, while the lower hoops are laced. I was curious to know if there was any particular reason why, or if it’s just because of the positioning of the grommets. Any words of wisdom?

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    David Brown says:

    Older video eternally comtemporary, informative and entertaining as well. OCH has a wealth of timeless sailing videos IMHO.

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    John Swansey says:

    First, that is an exquisitely beautiful and significant historic vessel in perfect condition, shown in detail from every angle.

    Second, this guy is my new hero. Has a stout windlass, but yanks a rope and chain anchor rode up from the bottom by hand, on a 17-ton boat with the motor off. I lack the words to describe my astonishment and admiration. I singlehand my boats 90% of the time, and I’m always looking for ideas and inspiration. Jim has reset the bar.

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    Tim Leary says:

    Lovely looking boat well handled – Nice work Jim and well presented as usual OCH.

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    Chris Noto says:

    Beautiful, and for me, hopeful, as I begin to learn a new, much larger boat. After mostly sailing a self-built, twelve foot, ninety pound Bolger Teal since completing her in 1982, I bought a Sea Pearl 21 this spring. I love her, but at twice the length and sail area, and almost six times the hull weight, she has me somewhat intimidated. Jim’s competent and confident handling of Malabar II, as seen in your, as usual, very well made video, made me smile many times, and helps me see a future in which I will be more confident on my own little yacht. Many thanks, once again, to all at OCH.

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    John Gallagher says:

    Loved it! Brought me back to the 20+ plus years that I sailed aboard a later, 1929 I think, version of Malabar on the Great Lakes. Allegro had been complicated, a genoa, wire halyards, and her true identity lost by using a marconi main.

    In spite of all, a great boat!

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    david Hemi says:

    I love this boat, I live in New Zealand, I have a dream of building a boat just like it. Would it be suitable to cruise around the pacific on.

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      Dude, perfect for the S. Pacific. Circumnavigate while you’re at it! Jim Lobdell may chime in too.

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      Adrian Baker says:

      I am a sail maker in Tasmania Ive built a full set of sail for a malabar x a few years ago i think the malabar 2 hull would go anywhere but the rig is more set up for inshore work not to say its unsuitable it would just be easier if the sail were smaller and maybe a staysail and jib and main sails with topsails would traditional be veiwed as handier for off shore work

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    John Sassone says:

    A graceful boat. When I fist saw the pictures I couldn’t believe she could be single handed. Wish Jim had on a PFD though.

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    William Boulden says:

    I believe that Malabar II is one of those rare gems that inspire us to believe in the grace of simplicity.

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    Kyle Stroomer says:

    Beautiful boat, thanks so much for showing us around!

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    John C. Fox says:

    Beautiful boat obviously in great condition (I have a model of it in my living room). I wish I were half as accomplished as Jim but having nearly always single handed my Islander 28 and having nearly learned the hard way, I’d recommend to anyone single-handling to slide the companionway hatch closed whenever raising or lowering or flaking sails and climbing around on the cabin top. Thanks to all with classic boats! Thanks for another great video!

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    Richard Haddock says:

    Boy, he makes it look so easy. Pretty lady, really enjoyed the video this Sunday morning.

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    John Littlefield says:

    Thank you, Jim, for a wonderful window into this magnificent boat. A dream boat which takes me back to sailing Dark Harbor 12’s and Manchester 17’s on Penobscot Bay. Thank you for sharing not only the boat with your expertise but also a glimpse of some of the best sailing waters and landscape in the world.

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    Terry Smith says:

    What a lovely vessel is Malabar II. Wow — a nifty sail on a beautiful afternoon and an opportunity to see a skipper who knows his stuff. Seventeen tons, three sails, and an anchor. Those are pretty good single-handing drills.

    Thanks for the nice sail, Jim and OCH. These 10 minutes made my day. Covered my dues for the year. Everything from here on will be gravy!

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    Beth Haskell says:

    In the other video, the main doesn’t have mast hoops but here it does. Did he find that in the end he needed them in order to single hand?

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    Chad Brown says:

    Thanks Jim for a very relaxing video. It’s always nice when someone else does all the work!

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    Weaver Lilley says:

    Single handing is a worthy art. Thanks for letting us go sailing with Jim on the Malabar.

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    David Hubbard says:

    Great stuff. I liked the comments about the self tending jib. It really does make life nicer when out with non-sailing friends. Malabar certainly has good manners! Especially when dropping back from the mooring. A really thoughtful design all around. I can see they deserve the reputation.

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    Hank Kennedy says:

    Wonderful video. Thanks for sharing. It reminds me of my Cal 36, ( not a wooden classic, but a great boat anyway) which I singled twice.


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