Sailing according to Björn Larsson: confessions of a writer-sailor

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Björn Larsson, born in Jönköping in 1953, a professor of French literature at Lund University, is one of Sweden’s best-known authors even in Italy.
But what matters most to us is the fact that he is an avid sailor. After the success of “The True Story of the Pirate Long John Silver” and the numerous awards received for “The Celtic Circle” and “The Wisdom of the Sea,” Iperborea published the novel “Eight Characters in Search (with author)” where the protagonists sail on the ocean of knowledge, “united by the same spirit of adventure ready to take nothing for granted.” Most of his output is set, in one way or another, at sea.

SAILING ACCORDING TO BJORN LARSSON
To whom would you recommend a sailing vacation?
I would recommend it to my real friends, as long as they are with me because I don’t see them enough.

To whom and why would you advise against a sailing vacation?
To all those who would like to sail because they believe it is necessary in order to “be in the wind,” to strut falsely inside the “sea bosses,” or to stay in port to see the beautiful world from the dock. I would also not recommend it to anyone who suffers from seasickness. It is not pleasant, in the most absolute way.

What do you like most about life on a boat?
Arrive at a roadstead in Scotland after a somewhat challenging crossing, drop the sails, have a malt whiskey in the cockpit before taking the tender and going to explore the surroundings. But also simply staying in the cockpit at sea or in port, doing nothing but looking at the stars, drinking coffee and talking with friends on board. Or again, reading and writing in solitude, on the boat, in torrential rain.

What do you like least (hate!) about life on a boat?
When you arrive at an overcrowded port, full of people whose first occupation seems to be to show off, even making noise. Or, at sea, when you are five miles from your destination, after hours of sailing with the wind against you and the tide changes and you have to fight the wind and the current.

What is your most exciting memory-feeling related to the boat?
Different feelings prevail. But undoubtedly the departure from Copenhagen with years of sailing north ahead with no predefined destination. Also my arrivals in Brittany and Scotland, after days and days at sea on my second boat, a 7.60m IF and 2.20 wide, with no engine on board, a small “very marine” boat.

What does the sea and the possibility of sailing represent to you?
Question that is impossible to answer in a few words without falling into misunderstanding or triviality. Two books had to be written to explain it, “The Celtic Circle” and “The Wisdom of the Sea.” And I still haven’t been able to explain everything.

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