THE MALABAR SCHOONERS
The design for the schooner Evangelyn
was developed from the malabar lines.
The Source for the following is taken
directly from John G. Alden and His
Yacht Designs ,@ 1983 IMDC by Robert
Wcanick and Richard Henderson P40-P60
" Malabar IV and later schooners of the line were intended for
some racing as well as cruising, so they have more sail. The
"four" was given 1,220 square feet, (Yachting, February 1923)"
" Two additionla sisters to Malabars II and III were built in 1922. One was ketch-rigged;
the other, John Parkinson's schooner MARY ANN, finished fifth in the 1923 Bermuda Race.
The next major step in the evolution of this line of schooneers came with MALABAR IV, design
number 205. She was based on quite a different concept, that of a boat that would be sailed
with a crew, including a paid hand, and would be expected to compete seriously in ocean races.
John Alden lost his taste for singlehanding when he fell overboard while sailing alone across
Massachusetts Bay in MALABAR III. He went over the side forward but somehow managed to catch
hole of the boat near hre main shrouds and haul himself back aboard. it was a close call.
Although the designer make light of the experience by saying that his boat had turned around
and picked him up, he reflected seriously on the incident and subsequently staged a number of
man-overboard drills. It is interesting that when he deliberately repeted his fall over the
side with crew aboard, he could never haul himself back aboard unassisted. This exrcise
demonstrated not only the power of the adrenalin gland but also at least one risk in single-
handing a boat of moderate freeboard in open waters. Then too, Alden often wanted to leave his
boat in one port and meet her in another. These considerations convinced him it would be
desirable to carry a paid hand.
Of course, the decision to have a professional living on board affected the size and layout
of Malabar IV. She was given a length on deck of 47feet with a waterline length of 35 feet
6 inches, a beam of 12 feet, and a draft of 6 feet 11 inches according to the Alden records.
She had complete quarters for the hand up forward and a good-size galley just abaft the
fo'c's'le. The saloon with transoms and dining table was placed amidships, while the owners's
stateroom, a head and a quarter berth were aft. Alden was always concerned about the stability
of his boats, for he liked sailing reasonably level, and he felt strongly that his schooners
performed better on their feet. Furthermore, he realized that it takes a lot of extra effort
to sail a boat that is easily overburdened: consequently, he was always experimenting with
ballast changes. By and large, each succeeding MALABAR seemed to have a greater percentage
of her ballast on the keel and/or more total ballast and a higher ballast-displacement ratio.
For instance, the first MALABAR, in her best sailing trim, carried only about a third of her
weight in ballast, but MALABAR IV had a ballast-displacement ratio of approximately 49 percent.
MALABAR IV needed greater stability because she had a lot more sail. Since she was intended
for a fair amount of racing and carried a full crew, she was given a extra-long bowsprit, two
headsails (she was the first MALABAR to carry a forestaysail), and a main topsail. The area of
her four lowers was 1,220 square feet. In addition, of course, she carried a fisherman staysail,
gollywobbler, and spinnaker. All these sails made her somewhat of a workshop, but she handled
easily and balanced well under main, foresail, and forestaysail. This boat proved remarkably
competitive, winning eight races in eight starts in 1923, her first season. One of these victories
was an impressie win oveer a fleet of 22 boats in the first New London-Beermuda Race. Thus,
MALABAR IV became the first boat of that line to gain wide recognition, and she started her
designer down the road to fame as an ocean racer. According to Clifford Swaine, the "Four" was
always Alden's favorite MALABAR.
Because of her success, a number of sailors called MALABAR IV a racing machine and attributed
her speed to light construction. This annoyed Alden, because he took pride in the fact that
his boats had heavy scantlings. MALABAR IV was no exception, although she did have bent oak
frames, which need not be as heavy as sawn frames,and her ballast-displacement ratio indicates
that she was comparatively lighter than her forerunners. Nevertheless, she was exceptionally
strong, and she was no lightweight at 41,000 pounds final displacement. Her white oak keel was
seven inches deep and 14 inches wide for most of its length. Her oak frames were 1-3/8 by 2-3/4
inches, and they were set on 12-inch centers with a 2-1/2 by 9 inch oak floor at every frame.
Floors were through-bolted to the keel and to each frame. Longitudinal support was provided by
a bilge stringer 1-7/8 by 6 inches,a clamp of the same size,and a shelf 2-7/8 by 4 inches.Planking
was 1-3/8-inch yellow pine. The deck was 1-1/2-inch white pine. Deck beams of oak, 1-7/8 by 2-7/8
inches, were spaced on 12-inch centers. The hull was further reinforced with with vertical and
thwartships tie rods. Only one sister was built. Originally named FELISI and now TODDYWAX, she
participated in the 1962 Classic Yacht Regatta at Newport, Rhode Island, but shortly thereafter
was stolen from her mooring.
The "Four" had such winning ways that few changes were made to MALABAR V. Her ends were
lengthened slightly and she was given a bit more freeboard for dryness, while a larger percentage
of her ballast was assigned to the keel. ( Cliff Swaine says that Alden figured he made a mistake
drawing out the bow of the "FIVE" without sufficiently lengthening the stern.) Otherwise, the two
schooners were much alike, even in their accommodations. There was little difference in rig, except
that the"FIVE" was given slightly more sail area, but with a smaller topsail.A departure from
Alden's previous thinking is evidenced by the fact that MALABAR V was the first of the series to
be built with an engine, a Scripps F-4 driving a feathering propeller.This schooner's design number
is 215. She measures 49 feet, by 36 feet 9 inches, by 12 feet, by 7feet 3 inches.One sister was
buuilt for a Swedish owner. Like her immediate predecessor, the "FIVE" did very well racing, winning
eight out of eight starts in 1924, but her record is somewhat less impressive because she did not
sail in the prestigious Bermuda Race that year.
MALABAR VI, design number 248 was the first of the series to be built by a yard other than C.A.
Morse and Son. She and the next four Malabars were built in the Boothbay (Maine) area,and all were
constructed by Hodgdon Brothers except MALABAR VII, which was built by Reed-Cook, Measuring
52 feet 3 inches, by 38 feet, by 12 feet, by 7 feet 4 inches, MALABAR VI is no beamier than the
"Five," but she has longer and finer ends. She was given a higher percentage of outside ballast
and a slightly loftier rig with a bit more sail. This boat was not really campaigned, but she proved
fast and did well in occasional races. Eight sisters were built. One, named BLACK GOOSE and owned
by W.Findlay Downs, won Class B in the 1926 Bermuda Race. MALABAR VI was given more length
than the "Five", primarily to make more room for accommodations, and her layout below as well as the
break in the cabin trunk well abaft the mainmast is a departure from the previous MALABARS. The trunk's
break permits a decklevel companionway not far abaft amidships, leaving space for a sizable owners
stateroom aft. This aspect of the layout proved most successful, and it was used quite often on Alden
boats. Not so successfully arranged was the area forward of the saloon. The extra-small stateroom that
was squeezed in alongside the galley not only stole room from the galley and fo'c's'le, but also
proved cramped, hot, and stuffy. This forward stateroom was torn out before Alden sold the boat.
In his series of articles about the MALABARS, Dwight Simpson called MALABAR VII "the black sheep of
family,"and he wrote that Alden always considered her an unsuccessful boat. This is a surprising for
she gave her designer his second fleet victory in the 1926 Bermuda Race. However, according to a 1926
YACHTING article and the label on the lines drawing of the "Seven," her hull was designed for a knock-
about-ketch rig. With little time for designing and building, Alden wanted a new MALABAR for the 1926
race, and he choose this hull from available designs. Her good showing was attributed by Alden to luck,
and he felt that the "Seven" was a very ordinary performer except when reaching with well started sheets.
Simpson wrote that she needed a deeper forefoot, more freeboard, and fuller lines forward to improve her
perpormance and make her less wet. A lesser problem was that originally she had only a 10 horsepower
engine, which proved far from adequate. Alden soon replaced it with a more powerful Scripps F-4.
Built to the lines of design number 280, MALABAR VII's demensions are 53 feet 9 inches, by 37 feet
11inches, by 12feet 5 inches, by 7 feet 3 inches. Her layout is basically like that of her predecessor,
except that the newer boat was given an L-shaped cabin trunk aft (as opposed toa complete break in the
trunk). This arrangement retained the forward position of the companionway while providing more headroom
at the entrance to the after stateroom. Also, the forward gally and fo'c's'le were somewhat improved.
Alden gave the "Seven" a triple-headsail rig, primarily because a jib topsail was not penalized in the
Bermuda Race. This MALABAR had six sisters among which two with good racing records were
FEARLESS and TEAL, originally owned by A.T.Baker, Jr., and R. Graham Bigelow. TEAL differed from the
"Seven" in having a marconi main. Another sister Demarest Lloyd's ANGELICA, was ketch-rigged, and she
was reced hard and succesfully in on-soundings events. MALABAR VII is lighter than the "SIX," butt she
carries about 70 square feet more sail. For the first time in the MALABAR series three headsails are carried.
The jib topsail was not taxed under the CCA rule. (The RUDDER, July 1934)
True to form, Alden had his eighth MALABAR, design number 331, built in 1927, but he did not
keep her the entire season. After winning the 270-mile Gibson Island Race (Cape May, New Jersey
to Gibson island) soon after the boat was built, the designer was offered a price for the "Eight"
that he couldn't refuse; he sold her and spent the rest of the summer living on another Alden
schooner, MONOMOY. In rig and hull form there are no great differences between MALABAR VII
and MALABAR VIII, except that the latter was given double rather than triple headsails for easier
handling when cruising, and she was made slightly larger, with dimensions of 54 feet, by 39 feet,
by 12 feet 8-3/4 inches, by 7 feet 4 inches. The greatest change was made to the layout,for Alden
returned to the after-companionway arrangement. This put the saloon aft and the owner's private
stateroom amidships, while keeping the galley and crew's quarters forward. Such a plan makes it
easier to go below from the cockpit,and it is a better arrangement for the navigator, but the
owner's quarters are not as grand and the galley is quite a long way from the dining table.
MALABAR IX, design number 362,came out in 1928. She is the largest of the series in terms of
designed waterline length, measuring 57 feet 11 inches, by 44 feet 3 inches, by 14feet 2 inches,
by 7 feet 9 inches. This shooner was given a sharper curve-- almost a knuckle-- in her stem
profile. She also has more beam and a firmer bilge amidships, giving her greater power even
thoough the bow is exceedingly fine. She was said to be a good sail carrier, but like the "Seven,"
she proved somewhat wet in head seas.Her working sail area was 1,620 square feet, a significant
increase over the earlier MALABARS (to go with her larger dimensions), Although her mainsail
was proportionally smaller. The main reason for her larger size is that she was intended to
carry two paid hands rather than one. Evidently, Alden had become spoiled by the professional
cook carried on MALABAR VIII because the "Nine" was given adequate quarters for a cook as
well as a captain forward of her midships saloon. Also, the L-shaped after end of the cabin trunk
reappeared in order to move the companionway farther forward and allow a roomier, completely
private stateroom aft. As in all the MALABARS, Alden desired first and foremost a comfortable
and able cruising boat. MALABAR IX took a class third and was fourth in fleet in the 1928 Bermuda
Race, though she was beaten by TEAL, a sister ot MALABAR VII. At any rate, MALABAR IX was
the first schooner of the series that Alden kept for more than one season.
Dwight Simpson and anumber of regular crew members such as Hank Meneely considered
MALABAR X, built in 1930, to be the finest schooner of the series. In a sense she is the
culmination of the evolution of John Alden's schooners. This boat's design number is 453,
and her measurements from the Alden records are 58 feet 3 inches, by 44 feet 2 inches,
by 14 feet 2 inches, 8 feet 1 inch. One sister was built. Although very close to the "NINE"
in size and with a similar semi-knuckle bow, MALABAR X has different lines. She is fulleer
in the ends, with a higher prismatic coefficient, and this gives her a more powerful hull
with greater speed potential. Her sections amidships are rounder, which somewhat reduces
the wetted surface while providing a very seakindly form. Her frames, unlike the "Nine's"
and like the "Four's" were bent. Her ballast, about 44 percent of the designed displacement
with more thantwo-thirds of it on the keel, seems just about ideal (considering the generous
beam) as a compromise between easy motion and sail-carring ability. Below decks she almost
duplicates the "NINE," but an extra head was added forward, and she was provided with a
more powerful engine, a 40 h.p. Falcon driving a large propeller through a reduction gear.In
her rig and sail area, the "Ten" differs little from her immediate forerunneer.Both schooners
carry three headsails. It is worth noting that, beginning with the early MALABARS,each
boat had a comparatively smaller mainsail and larger foresail than the preceding. It is
also interesting that even though the staysail rig had been introduced about five years
earlier, Alden retained the gaff rig for his own MALABAR schooners. He particularly liked
the power of a gaff foresail and apparently felt that this sail is almost as close-winded
as a mainstaysail when it is fitted with a vang. Alden kept MALABAR X until 1933 and her
record is replete with fine showings in top races. These include a class win over 27
competitors and a fleet second in the 1930 Bermuda Race, second in a class of 21 boats in
the 1931 Cape May Race. Indeed, the "Ten's" early years were the pinnacle of Alden's
designing and ocean racing career. The top three boats in Class A in the 1930 Bermuda Race
were Alden design's while the top four in fleet were Alden schooneres in the 1932 race.
The "Ten" was the end of the MALABAR schooner line, for the next three boats of that
name were Yawl-or Ketch-rigged
UP DATED 01-01-2005
Built By: TOM MORSE