Marabu at Martin Yachts

Marabu restoration

On Saturday 28th October 2017, 28 members and friends of the  Marabu Sailing Club met at the Sussex Yacht Club in Shoreham for a lunchtime reunion. Since the club folded 12 years earlier, the reunion is an occasional event and a chance for us all to catch up – and to reminisce about the ‘good old days’ of Marabu and her sister Kestrel. For the first time in a number of years there was also some news of Marabu. 


Back in 2009 Marabu had been purchased by Josef Martin of Martin Yachts, based in Radolfzell, Germany. When she left England that year, she had already spent four years on the hard at Ipswich Marina and was in a poor condition. Marabu arrived at the shipyard on the shores of Lake Constance on a low loader, having been bought ‘as seen’ by Josef from a series of photographs. Despite the deterioration, Josef was hopeful of finding an investor with enough interest and money to work with Martin Yachts while restoring the yacht back to its original condition.

 Josef and his shipwrights started work on Marabu in 2017. His view is that ‘you have to save such a ship’, a straightforward response to her history as a once proud 100 square metre yacht built  in 1935. Josef’s plan is to intensify the search for a buyer, while committing to Marabu’s extensive restoration project. 


Now into 2019 Marabu continues to be worked on by the experienced hands of Josef Martin and his shipwrights in the boatyard. They are working on replacement wooden frames. They have adopted a modern method of gluing veneer layers and steaming solid wood parts, which are glued into position in the hull with the help of precisely aligned wooden blocks.


There is still much to do but Josef looks forward to the day when Marabu will set to sea again as a fine ocean cruiser and is committed to the project.


You can follow the restoration of Marabu as documented by journalist and photographer, Kerstin Schulze using the link at the top of this page. Her blog gives an account of Marabu’s restoration story and is updated regularly. The blog includes many interesting photographs of the progress to date and is a real insight into what is happening with Marabu in Radolfzell, whilst also providing publicity and renewed interest in Marabu for the future.