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Swede 'sets sail' for US via German autobahn

David Landes · 26 Jul 2011, 12:19

Published: 26 Jul 2011 12:19 GMT+02:00

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"This way it will only take me two or three days to reach Ireland," 72-year-old Sven Yrvind told The Local from the road outside of Cologne.

"The North Sea isn't so safe for a small boat like mine. There are so many large cargo ships around Norway and the straights. A big ship may have run me down."

An experienced inventor and boat builder, Yrvind has spent the last three years building the roughly 5-metre vessel--dubbed Yrvind.com--that will take him from Kinsale, Ireland to Florida in the southern United States.

"It's a very special boat. It has no keel and is very small," he said, adding that "small boats are safer than big boats" for braving the rough Atlantic waters.

"Bigger boats generate larger forces and are more complicated. Small boats are much simpler."

While choosing to forego the congested waters between Sweden and the British Isles, Yrvind insisted he feels more at home on the water than on land.

"I feel safe at sea. I feel more afraid of all the people in a big town," he said.

On Monday, Yrvind left Västervik in western Sweden by car for the first leg of his transatlantic trip.

Yrvind hopes his journey, which he expects to last between two and three months, will help demonstrate the advantages of a small, keelless boat as well as draw attention to the benefits of living simply.

As Yrvind.com has no motor, Yrvind will have to rely on the winds and his own strength to get him across the ocean.

"If there isn't any wind, I'll have to row," he said.

"I'm something of a missionary, I guess," he added, lamenting sailing traditions which have lost sight of the "fundamentals" and the pressures and distractions of modern society.

"When I was born, there were 2 billion people on earth, and now there are nearly 7 billion and that just can't continue," said Yrvind.

"We're using up our resources and with the TV and radio always on, you can't think by yourself."

Story continues below…

Yrvind, who has been sailing for more than 50 years, consciously chose a transatlantic route that would make the journey last longer than the three to four weeks which is typical of Atlantic crossings.

"It takes a month to become one with the sea. It's a good chance to clean out your brain of all the garbage you get from society," he said.

According to Yrvind, life—as well as his voyage to the United States—is very much about the journey, rather than the destination.

"We think happiness is always one step ahead and we have to keep trying to catch up with it, but if you slow down, you often find that it's right there in front of you," he said.

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David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:03 July 26, 2011 by hjoian
Yrvind is well known in small boat sailing circles, and some of his designs are quite unique. Although i dont fancy undertaking the trip in his small 5 metre boat,i have done it in an 7 metre boat. What speaks volumes to me is the solice and peace one can find in the ocean...once you have experienced that....lifes never quite the same again.

Fair winds Yrvind,see you on the other side!
21:17 July 26, 2011 by dizzymoe33
Good luck with your adventure.
21:32 July 26, 2011 by Just_Kidding
I like how he hates the society :)))
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