History of S/Y Desiderata

John Alden racing his Malabar VIII during the 1948 Bermuda race.

John Alden racing his Malabar XIII during the 1948 Bermuda race. Original image from “John G.Alden and His Yacht Designs” by Richard Henderson.

S/Y Desiderata is a sister to Malabar XIII – originally designed by naval architect John G. Alden in 1945. Known romantically as the ‘Last of the Malabars‘, they have a distinguished historical record in ocean racing. John Alden’s last personally owned racing yacht was Malabar XIII.

Ketch-rigged for efficiency and easy handling under sail, 66′ Desiderata is designed for pure speed during regatta racing. The Malabar XIII was a war baby – first constructed when materials were hard to find; but nevertheless, the design excelled in the 1948 Bermuda Race and 1951 Transatlantic Race.

The Malabars have a permanent place in yachting history; Desiderata was one of only five to be built to design number 0756, and one of two ketch designs to be personally raced by Alden. You can find her specifications here.

Desiderata was built in 1975 in the USA, and sailed by her builder around the world – culminating in New Zealand. She was then purchased by an Australian who cruised her throughout the Pacific.

Today, Stuart and Julia are the proud owner-operators; living happily on board, year round. Desi had extensive refits, including the interior, in 1997 and 2013. For photographs of the 2013 refit visit the gallery.