Dave, the Self-Made Sailor

Summary: About Dave Malar's boat history and interests: Sandpiper 565 trailor-sailor sloop, Hughes 27' pocket cruiser sloop, Dickerson 32' aft cockpit ketch, Petit Prince steel-hulled ketch, Amateur (HAM) radio - VA3MLR, founder/instructor at the Kakure Judo Club, SCUBA.



My name is David Malar. Statistics: born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

I’ve been in and around water my whole life. I grew up canoeing on small northern Ontario lakes in the Honey Harbour area of Georgian Bay.

My Aunt and Uncle, Zina and Bob, have a power cruiser based out of Honey Harbour, and spend their summers aboard, mostly at Beausoleil Island, and we had many summer trips to the island to visit, camp, and fish.

My first sailing experience was aboard my Uncle’s dinghy which is convertible into a sailing dinghy. After figuring out how to sail it, and roaming around the area in it, I realized that sailing might be the way to go for me for two reasons: I enjoyed the challenge of getting from A to B just as much as the destination itself, and the price was right for travel costs – wind is way cheaper then gasoline, and it’s getting more and more true all the time.

I’m an entirely self-taught sailor, starting with my Uncle’s dinghy, then reading every book on sailing the local library had available, buying my first boat and using it to put my reading into practice, making my mistakes, and figuring out what worked for me and what didn’t.

Over the years, owning older boats, never having a lot of extra money to spend, and being generally handy and interested in learning how everything works has lead me to have had my hands on just about every boat system. I’ve repaired, rebuilt, or maintained everything from sails (machine and hand repairs as well as building a main sail for my 27’ boat out of a discarded, much larger jib from another boat) to diesel and small engine repairs, to electrical, to marlinspike, and everything in between.

I certainly don’t consider myself an expert in any particular field. But I do know enough about just about everything on my boats to be able to figure out and fix whatever goes wrong – sometimes with a lot of frustration. It always seems that by the time a more complicated job is finished, you’ve spent 4 times the amount of time on it as would have been necessary if you knew how to do it to begin with, and now that you’ve figured it out and could whip it off quickly should you ever have to do it again, you’ll likely never need to since it’s now Fixed! :)

I bought my first boat, “At Last”, a Sandpiper 565, in 1994.























It was an 18.5’ fiberglass trailer-sailor sloop with retractable fin keel ballasted with about 300lbs. of lead and a rudder  that would kick up to allow for beaching the boat. I sailed it largely out of Hamilton’s MacDonald Marine Services, but also had it for a summer on Lake Wanapitei, a large northern lake,  just North of Sudbury, Ontario, and lived aboard for 3 months in 1999 in Georgian Bay, cruising from the Honey Harbour area to Tobermory, to Parry Sound, and back.

I bought my second boat, “Here Be Dragons”, a Hughes 27, in 1997.  It was a derelict at the time, and lots of work was required to get the interior cleaned out, electrical system made non-dangerous, engine running, sails that fit, etc.

It was a fiberglass full-keeled pocket cruiser sloop with an outboard engine that lived in an inboard well at the stern of the boat. I had lots of fun and adventures aboard her, sailing out of Hamilton, on Lake Ontario.

In 1999, I bought my third boat, “Belle Argo”, a Dickerson 32 aft cockpit ketch.

Click to go to the Dickerson Owners' Association website.

She was a classic wooden ketch with a self-tending jib, full keel, and inboard Volvo MD2B diesel engine. She was built in Chesapeake Bay and used as a liveaboard by her previous owner.

When I bought her, she didn't have a rudder - it had been lost the previous season when it was lifted out of it's gudgeons by a wave.  So my first job with her was to design and build a new rudder - with a stop so it couldn't be lost again!

I cruised with her for several seasons all over Lake Ontario and the 1000 Islands, and really enjoyed the attention that she garnered from passing boats – it’s getting to be an unusual sight to see a wooden boat sailing on the lake these days.

In 2004, I bought Al Hoceima, a 41’ LOD steel-hulled ketch with a removable staysail stay and Perkins 4.108 diesel engine.

In August of 2004, I started moving myself aboard, and on Halloween, 2004, we sailed her through an ideal gale (40 - 45 kts of NW wind, but no waves as we were sailing along the NW shore of the lake, and hardly any healing to the beam/broad reach, and making a steady 8 kts) to our current home in Port Credit, Ontario, where we've been living aboard ever since. 

We’ve made a number of trips up and down the lake, have used her as a scuba diving platform, and have just survived our fourth winter aboard (this past winter was the coldest and snowiest in the last 40 years!). Perhaps we’ll be able to take her to warmer climes one day; she was built in France, has crossed the Atlantic and has been up and down to the West Indies a number of times – all without us so far, unfortunately.

Other interests of mine include Judo (black belt and founder/instructor of the Kakure Judo Club at the Hamilton School of Martial Arts), Ham Radio - VA3MLR, Scuba diving, tootling on the Pennywhistle, Recorder, and Harmonica (much easier to have aboard than a piano!), and watching weather of the stormy sort - as part of my Ham radio involvement, I'm a volunteer weather spotter with Environment Canada's CANWARN system.




© Copyright 2008 David S. Malar and Angelika Jardine. All rights reserved.
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