Conor OBrien, born 1880, grandson of Young Irelander William Smith O'Brien, acquired his first yacht, Kelpie, in 1910, funded by the sale of his share in a house. In this boat he learned to sail, and in 1914 imported arms for the Irish Volunteers, in conjunction with Erskine Childers in Asgard. When Kelpie sank in 1921, he designed a new yacht Saoirse, which he had built at Baltimore Fisheries School in Baltimore, West Cork, Ireland. On 20th June 1923 he set out in Saoirse to sail around the world. He sailed eastwards and south of Cape of Good Hope, Australia and Cape Horn, the route of the Clipers, Southern Ocean all the way, the first small private craft to circumnavigate via this route. For his groundbreaking voyage, The Royal Cruising Club awarded him the prestigeous Challenge Cup in 1923, 1924 and 1925. He returned 20th June 1925 to a rapturous welcome, fully 10,000 people turned out to welcome him back to Dun Laoghaire. During his circumnavigation, he spent 3 months in Falkland Islands / Islas Malvinas and on his return he was awarded a contract to build and deliver a boat for inter-island trading. Thus was AK Ilen conceived and built in the Fisheries School in Baltimore. In 1926 he sailed AK Ilen to the Falklands with two men from Cape Clear, off Baltimore, as crew.
- Publication Date
- Mar 23, 2023
- Biographies & Memoirs
- Creative Commons ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)
- By (author): Conor OBrien, Foreword by: Vincent Murphy