Stockholm winter cruise

Stockholm 59.33242°N, 18.07707°E - I purchased the plane tickets in a hurry, those WOW air sales are very short lived, and didn’t realize that in March attractions in Stockholm are still under the winter schedule or are simply closed for the season. It was a real disappointment when we realized we wouldn’t be able to explore all those islands we were hoping to see.

We, in Montreal, were stuck under half a meter of snow but Sweden was already showing off green grass, flowering daffodils and blooming hyacinths. How could it possibly be winter? It seemed odd, but somehow cars were still driving around with studded winter tires. There would be no boat tours of the archipelago for us!

However, we were not going to let something as mundane as a bit of winter get in the way of spending time on the water so… we found a winter cruise!

That’s how we ended up boarding a small vessel with an upper deck lined with park chairs and reindeer hides. Boy was I excited to get going comfortably seated on warm insulating fur with the sun shining on my face! For a little over an hour we got to sail around the two main bays and made it as far as Fjäderholmarna island before turning around straight into the wind and coming back to the dock in Östermalm. That western leg made me miss my foul weather gear so very much – it was still winter in Sweden and I was wearing a light rain coat on a boat going upwind. So much for smart choices and limited baggage allowance.

On that leg back, Michel eventually emerged from the lower deck where he had been keeping warm – we now know who the smart one is – and pointed to an aluminum sailboat moored in a marina. Could it be? I got the camera out, zoomed in and… it was. There was an Ovni 445 in Stockholm! First time we had seen one in the flesh (aluminum actually)… and it was even sexier than on video.

We somehow walked by that exact marina the next day and Michel got a glimpse of the vessel’s name and contacted the owners through their blog. After a few years back in the daily grind I had almost forgotten how friendly cruisers are and before knowing it, we were invited onboard.

We were greeted by Valérie, François and their friendly cat Pirate who shared their story and told us all about the 445 and cruising Scandinavia. As if that wasn’t enough, we found out that there was not one Ovni 445 in Stockholm but two; and it was just over on the next dock. What a day! I won’t repeat what we’ve learned, it’ll be best if you simply go straight to their blog and read it for yourself. Need I say we left the marina with even more ideas and extra motivation to figure out how to make this possible?

Anyone thinking at this point that we’re a little weird, please understand that aluminum sailboats with lifting keels are a very rare sight in our part of the world (apart from Léane of course!). Alubat, the builder, doesn’t bother to show up at the Annapolis or Toronto boat show, we’re not their target market; so all we have is digital content. Workmanship, comfort and nifty details can’t be conveyed in a picture. Hence the excitement of having access to the actual boat.

Here’s the blog:

Ladies, Valérie suggested interesting Facebook groups, please have a look: (Worldwide) (Worldwide in French) (Northern Europe)

M/S Angantyr

Upper deck. The reindeer hides do shed quite a bit, but they are perfect to keep warm.

Beckholmen: Shipyard with the coolest crane paint ever!


Djugarden, Skeppsholmen and Kastellholmen

Did we sail home? This looks just like Québec, minus the snow.
Gamla Stan
Can that be? Yep, that's an Ovni 445 in the hearth of Stockholm!
and a second one!

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