Across Three Oceans

Across Three Oceans

- A Voyage in the Yacht Saoirse

It will be of interest to those of us who are fascinated by the history of cruising in small boats and have a passion for adventures at sea, that the book by Conor O Brien about his pioneering circumnavigation of the world in the 42-foot yacht Saoirse that he designed himself and had built in Ireland, has been republished by the Irish Cruising Club together with the Royal Cruising Club.

The new print is now available on Amazon worldwide Amazon GB, Amazon DE and if you do a search you will find that the original prints are collectors items !!

This 6th edition of Conor O Brien’s recounting of his epic journey includes the twelfth chapter from the first edition, later omitted. It also includes his logbook extracts that only appeared in the first edition.

“Mr. 0 Brien's plain seamanlike account is so modestly written that a casual reader might miss its full significance. But anyone who knows anything of the sea, following the course of the vessel day by day on the chart, will realize the good seamanship, vigilance and endurance required to drive this little bluff-bowed vessel, with her foul uncoppered bottom, at speeds of 150 to 170 miles a day, as well as the weight of wind and sea which must sometimes have been encountered.

... however common long ocean voyages in small yachts may become, Mr O Brien will always be remembered for his voyage across the South Pacific and round the Horn.”

Claud Worth
Introduction to the first edition


Edward Conor Marshall O’Brien (1880-1952) was an architect, author, boat builder, and yachtsman. He was best known for his sailing exploits.

As a ship designer and builder, his notable boats include the Kelpie, the Saoirse and the A. K. Ilen built in Baltimore and currently providing some incredible sailing opportunities with Sailing into Wellness.

You may be interested to know that in 1914 Conor used his yacht Kelpie to collect a cargo of arms for the Irish Volunteers from a German tug in the same gun-running operation in which Erskine Childers’ yacht, Asgard, took part.

Saoirse would have been the first pleasure boat flying the tricolour to enter foreign ports and it was the first yacht to circumnavigate the world by way of the three Great Capes. O Brien, who was also a mountaineer known for climbing barefoot, had set out originally to join a climbing expedition in New Zealand but arrived there too late to take part due to a delay with his sea voyage.

Saoirse has been restored in Baltimore and is sailing again.

More on the restoration of Saoirse and the Ilen Project HERE.

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