The fourth Malö Muster took place in the lee of the recently opened Harbour Hotel bathed, for the most part, inglorious sunshine. There were 12 boats represented with nine making the trip up Southampton Water and on into the Itchin River. Surrounded by bars and apartments, it has a city-centre atmosphere and there is no question that the beautifully turned-out Malös added to the scene.
Once all the Malös had gathered, the competitive part of the weekend began in earnest. A few weeks before, William Philpot of Nu had invited entries to a paper boat race, governed by a reasonably loose set of rules. An eclectic regatta formed on the pontoon, including catamarans, clinker-built monohulls, elegant bent pole designs and traditional folded paper entries. They were all launched on a down-wind course but it proved to be a treacherous crossing for some. One or two capsized almost immediately but the trimaran entry from John Partridge, after a shaky start, sped to an impressive victory.
Dan Hills of Malö Yachts UK, as at previous Musters, very generously sponsored the pontoon party which provided a great opportunity to catch-up with friends and to meet those attending for the first time. Before the dinner at the Maritimo Lounge, a restaurant located within Ocean Village, time was set aside for a discussion about future events.
The consensus was for the next Malö Muster to be held at Portsmouth over the weekend of Saturday 2nd to Sunday 3rd May 2020, the precise location to be determined. There was also support for future sailing plans to be shared or for an informal gathering involving a sail to the West Country, France or the Chanel Islands.
Following a good meal, William Philpot awarded a prize to John Partridge as the winner of the paper boat race, with line honours going to Andy Croft of Adastra and the discretionary award for most attractive paper boat entry going to Daniel and Elsa Clancy of Siskin. There then followed the award of the coveted Malö Chalice which this year was presented to Richard and Caroline Welch on behalf of Truffle, a cocker spaniel from Amaris, for the most sea legs at Malö Musters in recent years, with runner-up ‘doggy-bags’ going to Paddy and Stanley of Bugsy, Remy from Adastra and Alfie from Nu. After a busy day racing off Cowes, Dan Hills joined the party and was able to provide an update on activities at the Malö boat yard on Orust and the encouraging news that Sweden Yachts Group was busy building new models.
Andrew Sabourin of Blue Belle, as last year, talked through the likely course for the Malö Flotilla on Sunday morning, with his experienced eye on the likelihood of light winds suggesting a need to keep an open mind on the exact course. As matters transpired the flotilla took the form of an elegant parade of Malös circling each other, a display almost certainly never before encountered on Southampton Water.