Wraith of Odin’s Alden Heritage

The Alden design office was founded by John G. Alden in 1909 and his design office was, by 1932, known worldwide. This was  in part due to his “Malabar” schooner designs’ successes on the offshore racing scene, and in part due to the broad range of exceptional and seaworthy boats he designed. His designs have become true classics as have many of the contemporary designs that bear his name.  His signature yacht name was the Malabar

Alden gave the name Malabar Jr and Malabar Sr to class yacht designs. Records from Alden studio record a number of slightly different designs for the two names used over the years. The design 0691 Malabar Jr had 28 built for class racing and the 0017 design Malabar Sr had 27 built. These Malabar Jr or Malabar Sr vessels were built between 1925 and 1961. Clearly these were popular class racing vessels.They ranged in length from 29′ 6″ to 33′ 3″ depending the design number and year. Sloop, yawl and ketch rigs were produced.

The much more famous Malabar I through Malabar XV named yachts were all designed by, built for, owned by and raced by John G. Alden.  The database of Alden’s designs shows that he owned 20 Yachts of his own design. (excluding dories and dinghies) Of these 15 were the Malabar series Malabar I to Malabar XV. A full list of Alden’s own yachts can be found here.

Alden’s famous Malabar XIII  was built in 1945. Her design number was 0756.  She was a 53 ft 9 inch long ketch rig long keel classic. Five 0756 yachts have been built.   The Malabar XIII design was drawn in 1945. In the same year Alden drew a slightly larger Ketch the 0823 design. His design records  state that this design is a derivation of the 0756 plan.

Wraith of Odin was built from Alden’s 0823 design. As can be seen from the following Table Design 0823  was of a  similar sized vessel to 0756. In fact when compared side by side the drawings of the later 0823 closely match the 0756 with the obvious change of additional  length in the forefoot and stern. The original plans supplied by Alden to Wraith’s builder included plans for the house that were in fact 0756 plans. i.e. the house lines for both designs is identical. Information contained in the Alden letters  and the Original design specifications  helps to explain the complex over lap between the two designs. The archives page contains links to this information and to copies of the line drawings for Wraith of Odin

The parent corporation to John G. Alden of Massachusetts decided in 2008 to close the Alden offices and donate the Alden design collection to MIT’s “Hart Nautical Collection”. The transfer is expected to be completed over the next 12 to 18 months. Niels Helleberg Yacht Design (NHYD, LLC) has, during the transition period, been authorized to provide the yachting community with the services formerly provided by the Alden Design office and has full access to all of John Alden’s yacht designs. The use of the Alden logo is by their permission.

A simplifed list of Alden designs is presented here. It is derived from the  full Alden data file. A copy is available from Niels Helleberg Yacht Design
Link to list of John G Alden’s own Yachts  Link to list of Yachts launched with the Malabar name.

A good deal of the history of negotiations betweenWraith of Odin’s  first owner Dr Brian O’Brien and J.G. Alden has been preserved. This information is presented on the

The Alden letters page

The design certificate  and other details form the original designs are detailed on the

 Original design specifications

 spear original

0756 extract from Alden design data base



0823 extract from Alden design database



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