You won’t find a lot high-performance powerboats in the harbor at Viggbyholms Båtklubb, a picturesque marina tucked away in the countryside 20 to 25 minutes outside Stockholm, Sweden. The docks there are mostly filled with sailboats and power cruisers that ply the waters of the Sweden Archipelago, a group of 33,000 islands that extends all the way to the Baltic Sea, in the summer.
Despite Modern Betong’s arrival in Sweden just four weeks ago, Carl-fredrik Söderberg and Åsa Wahlström have made the most out their boating season (click image to enlarge). Photos copyright speedonthewater.com.
But for the past four weeks, the marina has been home to a 2014 Outerlimits SL 44 sportboat powered by Mercury Racing 1350 engines and owned by Carl-fredrik Söderberg. A Swedish businessman who specializes in industrial concrete surfaces and a lifelong performance-boat enthusiast—his previous rides included a Cigarette 39’ Top Gun powered by Mercury Racing 1075s engines and a locally built Arrow 30—the 49-year-old Söderberg took possession of his dreamboat he named Modern Betong (which translates to “Modern Concrete”) just in time to finish out the 12-week Swedish boating season.
Yesterday, Söderberg and Åsa Wahlström, his delightful partner for the past 10 years, treated me to a five-hour tour, including a lunch stop at one of the island restaurants, of the Stockholm Archipelago, in the boat. And even after covering what I have to imagine was 200-plus miles, we barely scratched its surface.
But here’s what does scratch the archipelago’s surface—in addition to 33,000 bits of land that some poor soul had to actually count—and I mean everywhere: exposed rocks and reefs. But forget the above-water hazards to navigation, the ones that are well marked with buoys and such. There are countless more below surface.
In short, there are more ways to get it wrong in the Stockholm Archipelago than there are to get it right. From driving and navigational skills to local knowledge, Söderberg has it dialed in—his first trip to his family’s tiny summer getaway home on one of the small islands. happened when he was just two months old.
For more images from yesterday’s journey, check out the slideshow above.
And still, he proceeds with absolute caution and precision.
It was one of those days when topping out at roughly approximately 60 mph in a boat capable of 140 mph was the only way to go. Söderberg, Wahlström and I spent much of our time laughing and teasing one another. It’s amazing how people who’ve just met can bond so quickly on the water. But when things became even remotely tricky Söderberg’s focus, much as you’d expect from an offshore endurance racer, was absolute.
A feature in the upcoming July/August issue of Speed On The Water digital magazine, as well as the few pictures here, will tell the rest of the story. Exploring a miniscule portion of the Stockholm Archipelago was one of the highlights of my go-fast boating writer life, as was spending time with my new friends.
And the rock-star treatment of getting dropped off in an Outerlimits SL 44 at marina surrounded by jam-packed outdoor restaurants in the heart of Stockholm? That wasn’t too bad either.
As beautiful as it is treacherous, the Stockholm Archipelago is among the world’s greatest boating destinations.