- Under way, and always at the destination.
Hufvudstadsbladet 12.4.200 by Nina Weckström ©

(Click on any photo for blow up)

Henka and Malla
Photo Leif Weckström


Photo Leif Weckström


Master Cabin
Photo Leif Weckström


Photo Leif Weckström


Photo Leif Weckström


Photo Rontu


At home with Malla and Henka

The couple lives most of the year aboard their sailing vessel. He is a lawyer and has, among other duties been CEO of Julius Tallberg Corporation (editor: A well known Finnish trading house). She is an X-ray nurse. As their kids, Jens and Tomas, grew older, the parents spent more and more time aboard. Today the boys are 30 and 26 years, respectively.

Facts about the home: A Swan 43, rigged as a ketch and constructed by Sparkman & Stephens, built by Nautor in 1979. It is 13 meters long and carries roughly 100 sq-m of sail as standard.

Among other things, there are aboard: 5 laptops, a radar, several GPS-units, VHF and other equipment for radio communication, 22 pumps, 2 autopilots, 77.5 horse powers of engine and an outboard engine, 2 solar panels, a wind generator, fuel-tanks with a capacity of more than 1,000 litres and equally sized fresh water tanks, as well as a 100 litres holding tank. The living area is roughly 40 sq-m. Best things about the home: "That we are constantly on the move, but at the same time we have already arrived", according to Henka. "The uncomplicated existence and the wonderful feeling when you are able to go window shopping without buying. We have no need nor space for bits and pieces", says Malla.

Scorpio is tied to the leeward side of a dock at the far side of the basin at Whangarei on the North Island of New Zealand. The club flag of NJK flaps expectantly in the calm (editor: our yachting club is Nyländska Jaktklubben, and the flag is equal to the "regular" Finnish flag, see story elsewhere on the site). Soon they will be on their way again. The neighbor from Chile has equal plans.

A yellow plastic case on the dock works as the door step. Aboard you will find an apartment consisting of three rooms and a kitchenette. Light flows inside trough ceiling windows, but the port holes are quite small. The book shelves are built in to the interior and well-stocked with hundreds of dvd-movies and books. A cute brass lamp and a net bag full of fruit hang from the ceiling. Putting out bowls groaning with fruit or vases blazing with flowers is not practical. All that is loose may brake.

Sails, ropes, tools, technology, hand books and other necessary equipment take up space, which is limited in places. The carefully crafted woodwork and the beautiful patina of all teak surfaces on the floor boards, shelves, tables and bunks create an intimate and cosy atmosphere. Mild pastel colours give a fine contrast to the red-brown wood.

And the terrace above is unbeatable, with a terrific view in all directions of the compass. Over head, a starry sky or a broiling sun, below The Pacific Sea or the river Potomac. Henka's and Malla's address is aboard and their home is where they happen to be, which is where the sailing vessel Scorpio happens to be sailing, anchored or tied to a dock. It is a big sail boat, but not an excessively luxurious one. A solid boat, built to withstand gales and heavy seas on the seven seas.

"We are, of course, aware that our every day life is out of the ordinary. It's rather cool to be able to have your morning coffee in the cock pit looking at the crowds in downtown Washington D.C.", says Henka. "Or watch the strollers in Amsterdam, Havana or Key West. But at least equally fascinating we find the breakfast procedures at some uninhabited South Sea island."

"The conveniences aboard are like in any other home. Although everything is down-sized. My galley is minimal, but works very well. Everything is within arms-length, well planned and functional", says Malla. The stainless steel glows exquisitely and both the fridge and the freezer are practically designed with a lid on top. Nothing will fall out even if Scorpio would not be moving steady as a train.

On the opposite side of the saloon is Henka's territory: the navigation station with all imaginable technology including the gadgets related to his hobby and leisure activity of editing his video footage and updating their web site, www.scorpiosail.com.

Henka and Malla quit the rushing about of the rat race and re-saddled in stages. They are not enormously wealthy inheritors nor multi millionaires. During his years working for several interesting enterprises Henka invested in the stock market, which has paid off well. In 1992 he bought Scorpio and the couple started sailing in the Caribbean, then in the Mediterranean. In the year 2000 they sold their house in Esbo (editor: a city, part of Metropolitan Helsingfors - Helsinki) and steered back across the Atlantic, transited the Panama Canal and across the Pacific. The log is now showing 70 countries and 50,000 nautical miles.

Scorpio is their home, but they have not abandoned Finland. "We return once a year to experience Midsummer and the crayfish and, of course, to see the children, relatives and friends. We spend our time mostly at the summer cottage in Puumala". During those visits Scorpio is hauled out of the water, at some boat yard. There's been 15 different yards during the past 16 years.

Henka is from Helsingfors (editor: Swedish for Helsinki), Malla from S:t Michel (editor: a small town 250-km NE of Helsingfors) and neither one has been to sea from childhood. "But I have some seafarer genes", says Henka, "my grandmother's father was a Sea Captain and my father had a boat building hobby. I used to devour adventure books as a teenager and Röde Orm is still one of my favourites" (editor: refers to the novel by Frans G. Bengtsson about a viking, English title: The Long Ships). "But it was on a sailing trip to Gotland in the Baltic with my friend Bosse Zilliacus on his father's boat, sometimes in the 1970s, where my appetite was whetted. The dream was to be out on my own terms one day."

"The sailing in itself is not The Thing. It's the lifestyle. We are on our way and have arrived at the same time. We experience the world in our own home. And it feels good to be able to stand up to challenges and successfully handle unexpected situations."

Henka has taken several exams in navigation, and over the years - with many cases of equipment breaking down, leaking or malfunctioning - he has learned also to take care of relatively complicated repairs for a non-technician.

There is a considerable number of tools, spares and hand-books aboard. It's not all that simple, being five days from nearest land, on the way between Tonga and New Zealand, to fool the compass, of a broken down autopilot, to keep the system going until the boat is relatively close to shore. It can be done, with a screwdriver and some creative thinking.

"You have to accept that something is always broken", says Henka and claims that he spends eight hours a day on maintenance and fixing. Malla admits that her greatest fear is that something shall happen to him.

The Lindbloms pay careful attention monitoring weather forecasts and keeping track of cyclone seasons and other patterns of foul weather. At the present time the couple is waiting for the cyclone season in the north to blow away. The next stage will be to the tropical heat and the turquoise, crystal-clear, velvety waters of Fiji, 1200 nautical miles and 10 days away.

However, answering the question where Malla would prefere to sail next year, she answers Alaska, Greenland and Iceland. Henka looks at her with amusement mingled with terror.

Nina Weckström, text
+358-9-1253 210, nina.weckstrom@hbl.fi
Leif Weckström, PHOTO
+358-9-1253 653, leif.weckstrom@hbl.fi

Translation by Henrik Lindblom, editor


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