Medal-winning veteran Swede departed Kinsale Harbour yesterday

Seventy-two year old Swedish sailor Sven Yrvind departed County Cork yesterday, 11 August, on his self-designed and built sailing boat Bris, at the start of an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

The 4.6m (15ft) boat was escorted out of Kinsale Harbour by a party that included the former master of the brigantine Asgard II, the Irish National training vessel which sank three years ago in Biscay.

Sven, who has been building small boats and sailing them since returning from a year spent on a big boat in 1963, believes, ‘A bigger boat does not make you happy,’ citing the greater costs not only of building but of upkeep.

Bright yellow and bristling with solar panels, Bris had been towed by trailer to Ireland from Sweden, behind Sven’s car. She has had only 10 hours of on-water testing in the Stockholm Archipelago, but he has a remarkable track record.

The tiny vessel is the latest in a long line of largely electronics-free boats he has been constructing in the nearly five decades since then, when his first attempt took shape in his mother’s cellar. The original boat’s size was constrained by planning regulations insisting it could not be made outdoors, so he had to build it to fit through the small cellar exit door.

Since then his adventures have taken him across several oceans, often solo. His was the first yacht to land at the remote South Atlantic island Tristan da Cunha, and he set a record rounding Cape Horn on a 20-footer in winter. In 1980, under the name Sven Lundin, he was awarded the Royal Cruising Club medal for seamanship.

At an expected average boat speed of 2.5 knots Sven hopes Bris will reach Madeira in less than 30 days.

Read more about Sven and Bris on

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