The ORS Int. is the official adjudicator of ocean rowing records for Guinness World Records

 


March 3, 1969

LONE ROWER SEEKING REAL TEST


The lone sailor attempting to row across the Tasman Sea to Australia had planned to be about 100 miles out from New Zealand yesterday. he has been identified as Mr. Anders Svedlund, aged 40, a Swede, living in Grey Lynn.
As reported in the Herald on Saturday, Mr. Svedlund set off from Onehunga Beach on Wednesday afternoon on hazardous voyage in a 20-foot fibreglass boat he built himself. The boat is largely covered and he sits in the middle and rows.
Few people knew of the voyage and those who did had vowed to keep it secret.
However, one of the two men closely associated with Mr. Svedlund in the preparation for the trip yesterday gave the Herald an exclusive interview in order to "put Andy's venture in perspective".
Mr Svedlund put the finishing touches to his boat in the backyard of the man, who preferred to be unnamed.
Asked by a reporter why Mr Svedlund was undertaking the dangerous voyage, the man said: "Trough the ages men have tried to do impossible things - things that other people call impossible. This is Andy (Mr Svedlund)."

"Not Seeking Fame"

Mr Svedlund was not seeking any fame, publicity or gain, he said. "He is doing this for himself. We tried for a time to discourage him from going, but now we know
he will do it.
"Andy is an exceptional man. More than once when I saw him working on the boat at my place i said to him 'You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.' "
Mr Svedlund, he said, had taken nothing with him to help pass the time except a book of songs.

"There are definitely no sails on the boat. All Andy has is two pairs of oars so that if he loses one pair he can still use the other.

"Andy knows the odds are stacked against him and that he is taking a calculated risk, especially if the weather gets rough," said the man.
Obviously reluctant to talk of the voyage, the man said that, although he had known Mr Svedlund for only about a month, he held a deep respect for him.
"People will say he is mad but Andy is a better man than most," he said. "We share his confidence in his ability to make it to Australia."

"This is Andy's trip. When he gets there, then it is time to tell the story. He can tell it."

He said he and the other friend had had to persuade Mr Svedlund to paint the boat a bright colour known as rescue orange. Before this it had been painted light blue and this, he said, would have made the boat almost impossible to spot in the sea.
 

"Quiet Bloke"

Another acquaintance of Mr Svedlund, who also did not want to be identifies, said he had met the sailor some 18 months ago near Coromandel.
"His ambition was to row the Tasman," he said. "I think he wanted to do something really hard that no one had done before and also to satisfy himself.
"He was a very quiet bloke. He did not brag but when you got him talking he was very interesting. He is not a bloke to go looking for fame - he wants to prove himself to himself."
Although a marine warning has been broadcast to ships asking them to look out for the lone rower, the Marine Department is not taking any further action. It is understood Mr Svedlund has said that if he is stopped from completing his trip he will try again.

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