Lands’ End has been doing business for 50 years. Malcolm Scollay Low has been shopping with us for 49.
That makes him the longest-serving Lands’ End customer we know of. Remarkable, but less remarkable than the man himself, as we realized when he told us his story.
“The first thing I bought from you was a Barient halyard winch for my new Bermuda 40 sailboat in the spring of 1964,” says Malcolm. “I had seen a terrible accident at sea – a man’s hand had slipped when he was raising a sail with a winch, and it had smashed him in the face. I didn’t want that to happen to me, or anyone on my crew, so I bought the best winch there was.”
Who sold it to him? An affable, crewcut young man named Gary Comer, who had started Lands’ End a year earlier.
“Gary was a wonderful fellow,” says Malcolm. “We got to be friends. A few years later, he was coming out to Boston near where I lived for a Star Boat race, and I invited him and his wife to stay with us. He arrived in an enormous Cadillac towing his Star Boat. He opened the trunk, and there was a large commercial sewing machine inside. He was prepared to recut his sails if he needed to.”
Malcolm doesn’t remember how Gary did in his race – he was frantically preparing for one of his own. It was a race from Bermuda to Copenhagen, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Royal Danish Yacht Club.
“Mine was one of the two smallest boats in the race, with a crew of seven,” recalls Malcolm. “I was unprepared for the rigors of the race. It took us 27 days to reach Copenhagen! We had to go all the way up to 60 north looking for wind, into Arctic waters – it blew and snowed, terrible weather. But even so, at one point or another, every one of my crew came up to me individually and asked if once the race was over, we could re-provision and sail all the way back to Bermuda!
Malcolm’s boat ended up finishing the race dead last, but only because it spent 20 hours waiting with another boat whose rudder had broken, until someone could rescue them.
“I had promised my crew that I’d get them all to the party that the king was throwing, once we reached Copenhagen,” says Malcolm, “but we were all too seaspun to attend.”
Malcolm never saw Gary Comer again, but they corresponded off and on over the years, and called each other from time to time.
“Gary did a wonderful thing,” says Malcolm. “He went into the clothing business, and made clothes that were very seaman-like – very well-made, very well-priced. As only Gary could have done. So I’ve continued to shop with Lands’ End.”
Malcolm, we’re honored to have you as our customer, and hope your voyage with us continues for many more years.
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