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

 


March 5, 1969

ROWER STILL UNDAUNTED


  Resting at home of Port Waikato fisherman last night after a prolonged battle with wind and waves, the would-be transtasman rower, Mr A.J.Svedlund, said:
"I could have another go but not at the moment."

" I've decided to stay here and do some fishing for a few days," he said. "I'll make it a sort of working holiday. Maybe I'll do a bit of rowing. I still think that it can be done, and
given the right conditions, I'll do it. I think if I had gone a month ago I would have been all right."
Mr Svedlund, a 42-year-old married man who has two children living abroad, recounted the events leading up to his being washed ashore at port Waikato on Sunday.

 Little Trouble

I left Onehunga about 6.30 on Wednesday night and reached the Mnukau Bar with very little trouble about midnight.
Once or twice I got stuck on mudbanks, but I managed to push the boat off.
It was terribly hot on Thursday, but quite calm and I managed to get a couple of hours' sleep.
When I woke up the following morning the Manukau Heads looked pretty small. I must have been 30 or 40 miles out that day. There was very little to see apart from a couple of fish.
About 9p.m. the wind went round to the north-east, which was no good from my point of view. I wanted to keep as far north as I could where I knew I would get more chance of an easterly wind to help me.
As the wind got up I put out two small canvas buckets on a line to act as a sea anchor and hold the bow into the wind.
On Friday it was quite rough. I was not feeling 100 per cent, in fact I was a bit sick.
"I don't believe in taking things like seasick tablets because they make you feel sleepy and on a thing like this it pays to keep your wits about you.

 Mixed Up

It was obvious that I should have stowed my things better. Some of the gear was rolling all over the place and getting terribly mixed up.
By Saturday I was feeling a bit better but the winds were still strong from the south-west and heavy seas were breaking over the boat. A fair bit of water was coming in. I
spent that night in the forecabin, which is simply a part of the boat that has been decked over.
I was woken by a crash and felt the boat being tipped right over.
My only thought was to get out and remember hoping that I could manage to kick the hatch, which is only a tiny thing about sixteen by nine inches, clear.
I think I must have got out of there in about one second flat. You get out pretty quickly in a situation like that.
There were some ropes hanging over the side and I managed to make harness out of them and strap myself to the boat.

Slippery

t was upside down and the bottom, being fibreglassed, is pretty slippery.
I was pretty pessimistic about my chances of survival. The waves were breaking over me and the boat was rocking all over the place.
I have no idea how long I was like that. But eventually i managed to pull the boat over and clear the gear out.
This raised the water level and the boat rose a bit. I had lost my buckets, but I managed to shift quite a few hundred gallons of water with baler made from a cut-down gallon
jar. The sea was pretty warm and the hard work caused by baling kept me from getting cold. I managed to get a couple of hours sleep during that night.
In the morning (Sunday) I improvised a tunic from my blanket sleeping bag and started rowing back toward the east.

 Saw Land

I saw land later that day and guessed it was Port Waikato. I rowed like blazes toward the bar because I wanted to get through before dark.
One of the troubles was I didn't know where the southern bar at the mouth of the river was. I was too far to the north and there was water coming into the boat.
Then a big breaker bounced me clean out into the sea and it seamed to take a long time for me to come up.
The boat was near by and I managed to climb back. But almost immediately I was thrown back out again. There was a strong surge of the tide and I had no show of getting
the boat into the channel. I managed to get some of my iron rations, including dried fruit and honey - simple but sustaining fare - out of the rear cabin. I found I was on an
island and it was quite difficult to shift the boat off into the river. There was no need to repair the boat. I just had to sort things out. Later I rowed up the river and reached Port
Waikato about 6p.m. on Monday.
I knew I had to go somewhere. I had to ring my friends in Auckland who had helped me and tell them that I was safe and sound. I went up to a house which turned out to be
Mr and Mrs Hart's place and they gave me a meal and bed for the night. I was feeling pretty OK although I was a bit sore from the rope burns."
Mr Svedlund said that while he was rowing away toward Australia he knew that the very winds which were making conditions difficult would ensure his return to some part
of the New Zealand coast should he have to give up.

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