A sailor who has navigated the Northwest Passage, fended off polar bears and survived Hurricane Gonzalo has said he is looking forward to a pint and a rest after entering Irish waters.

Canadian Erkan Gursoy, 67, appears to be making little headway about 483km off the west coast after pushing through the Atlantic storms, prompting concerns.

The boat builder and former teacher was making progress at only three knots in heavy seas in his 11m ocean-going yacht Altan Girl, despite being in 50-knot winds.

Coast Guard officers monitoring his progress from the Malin Head station in Co Donegal called in an Air Corps crew to try to make contact.

"He contacted us when the weather was very poor. We were tracking the storms and passed on the forecasts so he could alter his course," a Coast Guard spokesman said.

"He's not in any difficulty but he went through a rough couple of days."

Mr Gursoy, from Nanaimo, Vancouver, had sailed single-handed over the top of Canada, past Greenland and into the Atlantic before reaching Irish waters.

Authorities said they will continue to track his progress until he reaches shore in Dingle, Co Kerry, where he told the Air Corps crew he is planning to have a rest, enjoy a pint and learn about WB Yeats and James Joyce.

Pilots in a Casa aircraft called off their maritime survey over the Atlantic to search for the yacht and make contact.

"He was in good spirits and looking forward to making land in Dingle for a well-deserved rest," a spokesman said.

"He told the crew he has his storm sail up and is weathering the storm."

It is not the first bit of assistance Mr Gursoy has needed on his voyage - he ran into trouble with sea ice on the Arctic stretch of his adventure.

For ten days in July, he was stuck in Alaskan ice with only a regular supply of curious and hungry polar bears for company.

While he waited for an ice breaker to make its way to him, he banged on a empty barrel to discourage the animals from getting any closer than nine metres.

Mr Gursoy successfully sailed from Canada through the Northwest Passage.

In an interview after the rescue, his wife, Renay, said he would be back home in a few months if he successfully navigated the entire Northwest Passage, but if he went to Europe she said she did not expect him back for years.