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How long have you been sailing for? How did you get started?
I was born in Whangarei, New Zealand while my parents were sailing around the world. So I was basically born into sailing. I started sailing solo when I was 6 years old. First in an optimist (a very small single person sailboat) but I started upgrading to other boats very fast from then on.
Tell us about you:
Starting at the age of 14, I set off on a journey to sail solo around the world, with the blessing of my parents but not of the Dutch government. I completed the journey when I was 16 years old which made me the youngest person to ever sail around the world single-handed.
I was born on the 20th of September, 1995 in Whangarei, New Zealand during a seven year sailing trip that my parents had taken. During these years my father worked as a boatbuilder and my mother as a street performer. As a family, we travelled for another 5 years before returning to Holland.
After my parents divorced in 2002, I stayed with my father, living in various places around Holland while he was building a new boat, a 60ft Norwegian cutter named ”Havorn”. Starting sailing alone at the age of 6 and upgrading my boats as I got older, I sailed in competitive dinghy races as well as offshore later on. At the age of 10 I had upgraded to a Hurley 700. This is a 7m seaworthy boat I bought myself from money earned by doing all kinds of different jobs. I sailed this boat solo all around Holland and the North Sea. In May 2009 I sailed the Hurley 700 solo across to England. After that trip I was determined to achieve and realize my biggest dream. To sail around the world.
In 2009, I started seriously preparing for my dream. The Dutch government though differently about my plans and a 10 month court battle began in which they were trying to prevent me from following my dream. In July 2010, custody over me was given back to my parents and my journey began on the 21st of August 2010. I successfully completed my solo circumnavigation in ‘’Guppy”, my 38ft Ketch arriving in Saint Maarten on the 21st of January, 2012.
After I finished my round-the-world trip, I kept sailing. Instead of going back to Holland I followed my previous route through the Panama Canal and the Pacific heading towards New Zealand, where I arrived in Whangarei on the 2nd of September, 2012. I worked for Dive! Tutukaka, a dive charter operator for a while and then decided to explore my new home country a bit more traveling by car. Since then I have been traveling over land a lot, but I have also been doing deliveries and some small adventures on Guppy around New Zealand.
I love how you can use nature to get to places you want to go to, in this case, the ocean – places where you normally wouldn’t get to so easily. Also, there is so much out there, it’s not just ocean. It’s the sea-life, the waves and the winds all working together. I love the harmony in sailing, the untouched world of the ocean.
When I’m not sailing, I am . . .
Traveling over land, backpacking, driving, exploring, working.
Sailing around the world, pulling trough the one thing I really wanted, and enjoying it, even if it was difficult at times. I am very happy I managed to get trough the tough parts to be able to enjoy the good moments even more.
What do you have planned in sailing for the next few years?
I’m not so big on planning that far ahead.. Hoping to go on some other great adventure’s that come on my path, whatever they may be.
What do you love about LA ISLA?
I love the fact that they are socially conscious and eco-friendly, more brands should be like that!
What is/are the last thing(s) you read?
A whole lot of information about celestial navigation and weather patterns. Always trying to learn new things 🙂
Hmm, I don’t think the world needs to know a whole lot about me. But there is something that I would like the world to know, something I learned from my own experiences and love to share.
If you have a dream, go for it! No matter how big or small. Don’t let fear or other people’s doubts stop you. Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Life is beautiful, live it 😉
What are the three most important things in life to you?
My family and close friends, the ocean, and most off all, remembering to do the things that I love, to work towards them, even if that means going trough some difficult stuff first.
Who are your other sponsors?
I had some sponsors during my trip who helped me getting my boat ready. But at the moment I don’t have any except for now, LA ISLA.