Becalmed by a quiet market, this Swedish stalwart aims to put the wind back in its sails with a revamped 37. Chris Beeson puts a wet finger in the air
What’s she like to sail?
When I was growing up, Malö was a name I associated with the best of the best in cruising boats. It meant a serious cruiser, the sort you expected to encounter anywhere exotic, from the Arctic to South Pacific anchorages. This was my first sail aboard the famous Swedish brand so my expectations were high, perhaps unfairly so. As it turned out, the very full-cut sails meant the upwind sailing experience proved rather a disappointment. With no backstay adjustment there was only so much we could do about the main and we had to come down to 45° apparent wind angle to get the inner telltale to stream so unsurprisingly she wasn’t the boat of my dreams upwind. Off the wind, she bowled along very nicely, delivering a feeling of power and making decent passage-making speeds. The wheel felt good, light and responsive in the hand,and the deep, enclosed cockpit and windscreen engendered a feeling of great comfort and security, but overall I was left with my expectations, much like the boat’s undoubted potential, somewhat unfulfilled. A backstay tensioner should not be optional.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
In contrast to the rather ordinary sailing experience, comfort levels down below in the exquisite mahogany coccoon are everything you’d expect of a premium brand like Malö. The quality of materials and workmanship is uncompromising throughout, near flawless. With grabrails everywhere you might reach and lighting everywhere you might need it, design is thoughtful and reflects decades of experience and the tweaks – the extra hatch, the larger coachroof windows and the aft-raked arch (not shown in our graphic) gild this highly finessed lily. The only slight beef is the squeeze a portly chap might encounter when closing the forward cabin door from within. Stowage is prodigious and ingenious touches like forward-hinged seats make me wonder why I have to scatter cushions and bits of plywood to get at under-seat stowage on other boats. At anchor, the cockpit tent stowed against the targa arch doubles your living space as well as bringing the outside in, and those benefits can’t be overstated. Access to the bathing platform is not as straightforward as it might be on twin-wheel boats with drop-down and walk-through transoms but it’s not exactly arduous and you’re better protected at sea.
Would she suit you and your crew?
Retirement beckons and you’ve got the money, plus a head full of ideas about getting away from the pitiful interest rates and relentless financial gloom and doing some proper cruising where every day brings something genuinely new. If that’s you, read on.
Properly kitted out with decent sails and top-spec deck gear, the Malö 37 is more than able to take you anywhere in the world in enviable comfort and with the minimum of fuss – and she’ll brush off experiences that would scar other, less sturdy boats.
I feel she’s best suited to northern latitudes but once you’ve been round the Arctic Circle, you might fancy a bit of sun and she’ll get you there too. You could use her for coastal pottering but there are boats better suited to port-hopping and they’re cheaper too. Still, as Malö agent Dan pointed out, some people go shopping in Range Rovers and that makes no sense either. Sails aside, Malö has delivered a boat that earns its blue stripe and lives up to its brand name. Will she reinvigorate Malö’s fortunes? I hope so.