The Final Journey of Anders J. Smedsvik

The 86 year old man who tried to sail around the world alone. In a home-made sailboat with no engine.

THE GRAND TOUR: Anders J. Smedsvik set out to circumnavigate the globe in the summer of 1972. He was 86 years old at the time. He had built the boat himself and spent almost a decade planning the trip. The boat had no engine. Photo: Private
THE GRAND TOUR: Anders J. Smedsvik set out to circumnavigate the globe in the summer of 1972. He was 86 years old at the time. He had built the boat himself and spent almost a decade planning the trip. The boat had no engine. Photo: Private Vis mer
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For three weeks in 1972 and then again in 1974, the sea captain, communist, farmer, prisoner of war, adventurer, local politician and peace activist Anders Jenius Smedsvik was a household name in south-west Norway. Then he disappeared and has been forgotten ever since. This is the first time his story has been told in full.

Anders Jenius Smedsvik built the boat himself, alone, with his own two hands. By the time he hammered the last nail into the hull, it had taken him over five years to complete.

The blueprints were also his own, drawn from memory. Some say he modeled it off an American rescue ship. Others claim Smedsvik said it was a copy of a fishing vessel he’d once seen off the coast of Newfoundland.

«Ava Helen Pauling»—named for the wife of the double Nobel-prize winner Linus Pauling—was 36 feet long and had no engine. The laurel green hull and the white mainsail carried the peace symbol.

The ship was outfitted with a Bermuda rig, intended to make it possible for one person –Smedsvik - to handle her. From the afterdeck he could look through a small, round opening and choose his compass heading by the light of a lone kerosene lamp. There was no electricity onboard. He controlled the rudder using two short lengths of rope, one in each hand.

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