And we’ve made it. After a year and a half of looking for our dreamboat and traveling to see candidates for our future home, today we’ve become official owners of Malo 39. Although this boat was the first we’ve seen of that design, we felt at home instantly.

After throughout inspection of Malo 39 two months back we were convinced that this is the boat fulfilling our requirements the most.

Henan, Orust Island, Sweden

So here we are now, in rainy and snowy Henan on Orust Island in Sweden with our new home which needs to be sailed to Poland soon.

Transferring the ownership of the boat went smoothly. Our yacht broker, with whom we still work, was one of the most professional agents we’ve ever met. And believe me- we’ve met many. Unfortunately we need to admit that the services provided and integrity presented by the majority of them are far below the expectations.

We were also very happy to meet previous owners of the boat. They explained to us some details about it and we’ve finally learnt the story behind its previous name – Zarzura.

It turned out that it’s named after a mythological oasis in the Sahara desert – the city of Zarzura, as they considered the boat to be their own oasis.

Thanks to meeting them and exchanging contacts we are still in touch to this day.

one day before departure

It’s Friday and we plan to leave the dock on Sunday so we don’t have much time. We need to do some provisioning, buy safety equipment, utensils, fire extinguishers and a heater – the last being the most important item. Next day starts very early with shopping and preparing the boat. We also need to drop our rental car in a town nearby and catch the bus back to the marina. Once everything looks ready and we are about to drive the car back to the car rental company, we realize that the gas stove is not working. It was perfectly fine the day before and obviously we cannot leave without the possibility of boling water! After quick troubleshooting and brainstorming we found that we were defeated by a hidden child protection device… Because of the delay Tomek nearly misses car rental opening hours and a last bus back to the marina. 

It’s evening already so it’s time to celebrate our first dinner and night in our new home.

departure day, 26.03.2023

Waking up the next morning we quickly realize that we forgot to buy one more important thing – a snow shovel. Boat is covered in snow and a snowstorm is passing by. I am questioning myself what am I doing here? In the past, when I imagined sailing on my own yacht I rather pictured tropical beaches in my head. But come on, snow covering your boat is normal in Scandinavia and actually it’s quite beautiful. We delay our departure, but forecasts are promising. Once we finally leave, we enjoy smooth sailing along rocky coastline, in winter scenery. We try to capture every moment (and stay warm), as this is what we’ll always remember as the very first sail of our lives’ journey. Late afternoon we arrive at Kallo Knippla, where, to our surprise, we find warm showers, open and available in the middle of winter. 

Usually, facilities in the marinas are closed off-season, especially in places where temperatures drop below freezing. Even in the Mediterranean it is difficult to find open fresh water taps or electricity in winter. This is why we appreciated that warm shower so much! In contrast to the open facilities in Kallo Knippla, the next day in Glommens we are not even able to put our feet on the solid ground. Jetty which we tied up to is detached from land for winter!

The way

It’s something magical about sunrises and sunsets up North. Soft light combined with pink and purple skies are the perfect background for colorful, tidy Scandinavian architecture. Apart from good photo opportunities, the next morning brings another new experience – a thin layer of ice in the water in the marina.

Sailing Oresund Strait

In the next couple of days we sail further south on Oresund Strait. In its most narrow part (0.2 NM/370 m) we are squeezed between shallows and TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme – which is a highway for big ships), which we cannot sail on. We slowly move giving way to big cargo and passenger vessels. Watches are busy and binoculars are constantly in use. At that time we didn’t have AIS, a transponder that would display other traffic on the chartplotter. Having it, navigation and traffic avoidance would be easier. 

Docking in Raa marina, I accidentally check the water temperature. Jumping off the boat to tie up the lines I miscalculated the distance which together with the slippery dock leads me to taking an unplanned bath. Luckily in the very last moment I manage to catch the jetty with my arms and I end up with my legs in the freezing water only, could be worse. Are there any saunas nearby? This situation taught me to never jump off the boat if you’re not sure about reaching the solid ground.

Under Oresund Bridge

Next day is the last day spent on the Danish Straits before we enter the Baltic Sea. We pass under Oresund Bridge, an 8 km structure which connects Copenhagen in Denmark with Malmo in Sweden. It is the second longest bridge in Europe with both roadway and railway combined in a single structure. What is also interesting is that in the middle the bridge goes down to become an underwater tunnel. Sailing under the bridge we monitor the webcam located on one of the pillars to have a photo souvenir from the trip!

entering the baltic

We spend night docked next to the Falstebro Bridge, which is considered to be a getaway to the Baltic Sea. Bridge opens only twice a day during winter, so we need to be ready for a 6am opening. It’s still dark when we enter the Baltic Sea. We are welcomed with rainy weather and headwind, so we decide to head to Ystad. In the marina we are greeted by a harbormaster surprised to see the first boat of the season as early as March.

ystad, sweden

Next morning we depart for Bornholm, another full day of sailing is in front of us. Just after we leave the marina, visibility starts dropping. We know that there is a fast ferry line to and from Ystad. Soon, we can hear a foghorn of the vessel leaving Ystad harbor which is likely to be crossing our route. We can be sure that this big guy won’t hear our tiny foghorn so the only way he notices our presence is a small dot on his radar screen. Not taking a chance, we establish radio contact with him to work out our separation, as we used to do in the air. We safely pass the ferry by less than a half a mile, not having a visual contact with it. Having in mind that we have a busy TSS in front to cross, without neither visual reference nor AIS (so we can see the ships on our display) it would be very risky to cross it. 

TSS, a highway for big ships which I mentioned before, cannot be used or occupied for a prolonged period of time by pleasure crafts. If we need to cross it, we do it 90 degrees to the route, giving way to all vessels in TSS. Sometimes it means waiting on its border for a very long time, until we have space to cross. Moreover, we are way slower than big ships so timing the crossing can also be challenging. Doing all of this in one of the busiest TSS in the Baltic Sea without seeing potential traffic was definitely not a good idea, so the decision was easy – we go back to Ystad.

In Ystad we’ve spend two days in an empty marina waiting for the weather to improve. We do refueling, change gas bottle and wander around the city and on empty beach. We find out that it’s a really beautiful town with very frequent ferry connections with Poland.

ystad – christianso

After two days the weather improves and instead of heading to Bornholm, we decide to set sail to Christianso, a small archipelago northeast of Bornholm. 

Before planning this trip, we didn’t even know that these remote, rugged islands existed. Apparently they do and they’ve been a shelter for fishermen since the Middle Ages. Then, in the 17th century, thanks to its strategic location, it served as a naval base for the Danish Navy. Docked in a tiny port, we could admire an impressive fortress. Port can get very busy in summer months and rafting with other boats is a must. In march however, we had an island to ourselves. 

While exploring, we are preparing for the last stretch of the trip – to Gdańsk in Poland. It’s a long one, 160 NM (300 km), so it’s gonna be an overnight passage. 

We leave Christianso at 7am and motor sailing upwind for the entire day we make our way home. Night is relatively calm and the moment we see the first lighthouse on the Polish coast, it feels like home. After a quick check on the map, it turns out that this is the first lighthouse on the Polish coast I have visited as a kid! First, because later on I visited all of them. It becomes busy in the morning once we are getting closer to popular shipping routes. Wind die and we slowly progress towards Gdańsk, crossing another two TSS’es and tons of fishermen boats. Then we entered the Vistula river, as we have a marina booked there. 

Arrival Day, 05.04.2023

On the 5th of April, at 2pm we have a touchdown! Tired, but very happy, we tie up the lines in Przełom Marina. Whole trip took us 11 days and we covered 440 NM (815 km). This is not a bad result, having in mind that it was still winter. We stayed in Gdańsk for about a month finishing all upgrades we planned to do before we set sail around Europe, moving on board and equipping our new home. 

What’s next?

In the next module we will briefly describe boat work we did in Poland and we’ll take you with us sailing along the Polish coastline to Szczecin!

We expect docking of the next Module… soon!


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