OBITUARY | Össur Kristinsson, founder of Rafnar

Össur Kristinsson, founder of Rafnar (Photo: Rafnar)

Icelandic boatbuilder Rafnar has confirmed the passing of company founder Össur Kristinsson on Tuesday, February 6.

Kristinsson was born a congenital below-knee amputee and studied to become a certified prosthetist orthotist in Sweden. In 1971, he founded an O&P Clinic in Iceland, a facility that was still operating as late as 2023. As a prosthetist, he had developed a special type of silicone liner to protect amputees’ limbs, and this product received its first global patent in 1986.

Kristinsson had also harboured an interest in boats and boat design from a young age. In 2005, he left the prosthetics company he founded and then established Rafnar, partly to develop a unique hull-and-keel boat design capable of significantly reducing wave slamming and providing better seakeeping performance. Development of the patented hull took 10 years and involved extensive cooperation with the Icelandic Coast Guard and Icelandic Search and Rescue Association.

The hull design specially developed by Kristinsson to be resilient enough for harsh environments has been incorporated on all of Rafnar’s boats, which are being manufactured for customers in the leisure, professional, emergency service, and maritime security sectors. The company itself has also expanded globally with offices established in Greece and the UK.

Kristinsson was married to Björg Rafnar, a virologist, until her passing in 2017. He leaves behind two children, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

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