Malö North America's newest offering from the island of Orust, on Sweden's western coast, is the Malö 40. During a fall sail, it exhibited many attributes of a passagemaker: a stable, easy motion; a dry, efficient, untemperamental work platform on deck; and sturdy, soft-edged joinery below.
At the aftermost extremity of the Malö 40's windscreen, a substantial fiberglass-covered stainless-steel "Targa" arch is through-bolted to the hull. It provides a strongpoint for the after edge of the dodger and the forward edge of the cockpit canopy, serves as a mount for the traveler, and keeps the mainsheet out of the way when tacking.
When a boat is ordered, the buyer meets with Dan Rundblom, a carpenter, to help him or her select a mahogany log with the preferred shade and grain for the interior joinery. All the wood below is solid mahogany, except for the door panels and bulkheads, which have veneers chosen so the grains match. Then CAD drawings of the model are delivered to Dan, who builds the interior separate from the hull, which is molded off island. Six coats of varnish are applied to the joinery, and cabinets are lined with foam to reduce rattling in a seaway.
Meanwhile, hull and deck construction begins on the mainland. The centerline of the 40 is solid fiberglass, as are the cabin sides, but the rest of the hull has vacuum-bagged sheet-balsa coring. The hull and Divinycell-cored deck are bonded together, and the entire assembly is delivered to Malö for finishing.
During our test sail in lumpy conditions, we appreciated the wide, clear, laid-teak decks, with chainplates and genoa track snugged close to the cabin sides. Footing is excellent everywhere on the deck, with low bulwarks and handholds where needed. The deep cockpit is very dry thanks to the windshield and canopy.
Cruising speed under power, at 2,400 rpm, is 7.7 to 7.9 knots. Halyards are coiled in the traditional manner at the mast, on which two Andersen self-tailing winches are mounted. Sailing with a full-battened main and 135-percent genoa, we logged 6.5 to 7 knots close-reaching in 12 knots, and the helm was light. A removable inner forestay for a storm jib is standard.
Below, the joiner work is stout, and all edges are chamfered to present soft landings should the crew be thrown into them. Forward of the nav station and galley (lockers have pegs and holes for configuring china storage, and drawers are self-closing with a dip in the track) is the dinette, with a standard butterfly table that turns and folds out. This Malö had twin easy chairs to starboard, but a settee is standard. The sole is teak and holly, with all edges sealed. The shelves aren't locked in place and could fly out in a knockdown, but the builder says this would be easy to fix.
The forward cabin has a V-berth with drawers and lockers under and cabinets, bookshelves to port and starboard, and a hanging locker. The bow thruster is beneath the berth, in a watertight compartment. A full head is optional forward; an island queen and a writing desk can replace the space taken by the shower.
The standard aft cabin has a queen surrounded by bookshelves and cabinets and a head with shower; the 40 we sailed had a double berth to port and room for a second fuel tank under. A large locker is sized for a European washer/dryer. The genset is stored here as is the starter battery, which allows some electrical capacity to be retained in the event of house-bank failure.
Malö North America is starting its fifth year importing its various cruising boats. It has ordered 18 for North Americans in that time. At $384,000, they're expensive boats because of the weak dollar, but so much is standard-a full complement of cockpit instruments, a chart plotter with GPS, a VHF, carbon dioxide detectors, jackline eyebolts, a boat hook and a first-aid kit, ground tackle and dock lines-that you get a boat that's truly sailaway.
The Malö 40 was named Import Boat of the Year and Best Midsize Cruiser for 2007
The judges' decision to crown the Malö 40 as Import Boat of the Year came after lengthy discussions that involved a number of high-quality boats. However, the Malö 40 prevailed because of, in the words of one of the judges, "a superb job of meeting the needs of long-distance cruising couples in terms of sailing ability, safety, and price."
The Malö 40's systems stood out, earning an A rating from judge Ed Sherman, a stickler for detail. He said, "It's a sweet-sailing boat. Everything on the boat that we tested was of maximum quality." The Malö 40 was also judged as Best Midsize Cruiser.
Nim Marsh is a Cruising World contributing editor.
LOA 40' 6" (12.34 m.)
LWL 33' 8" (10.26 m.)
Beam 12' 3" (3.73 m.)
Draft 6' 1" (1.85 m.)
Sail Area 937 sq. ft. (87 sq. m.)
Displacement 18,595 lb. (8,435 kg.)
Water 120 gal. (455 l.)
Fuel 69 gal. (260 l.)
Engine 56-hp. Yanmar
Designer Leif Ängermark
Sailaway Price (incl. sails and electronics) $384,000
Contact Malö Yachts North America, (800) 682-9260, www.maloyachts.com