*Jeroen Wats

Being on the water since I was a little boy, sailing on the Reeuwijkse Plassen (close to Gouda in The Netherlands), I was inspired by Connie van Rietschoten. I pictured myself sailing this little dinghy in windy conditions on this tiny lake as it was the Flyer in the Whitbread round the world race.

Sailing taught me do deal with the elements and being creative, fix my boat when something broke and getting back to the jetty safe when the weather instantly changed from smooth to rough. Warming up near the gas heater at my grandparents house, who waited for me with a steaming hot bowl of soup.

Going from dinghies to keel boats, finally a dream came true. Sailing a transatlantic rally. And so we kicked off on the 11th of January 2003. A race which changed my career, ways of thinking and prioritizing important matters. It changed my life.

Crossing an ocean is being constantly in touch with the elements of nature. Wind, waves, and wildlife. Dimensions are changing. Thinking about time is changing.

Half way between Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro, with an average draft of 12.000ft (3.650m) of water under the keel and being completely isolated from land, the 3 men literally the closest to us where Kenneth Bowersox, Nikolai Budarin and Donald Pettit during the Expedition 6 in the ISS (International Space Station).

Going fast is easy but very fast requires dedication and a clear focus on the goal. Apart from checking weather reports, every 0,5 kts of boat speed counts. An average loss of 0,5 kts per 24 is a loss of 12 nm and on an average size yacht in average conditions is the loss of a day or even more.

Depending on the elements, not being influenced by daily matters on land it makes you realize how precious and beautiful our planet is. Land and sea.

Driven by a sincere concern about the environment I have dedicated my work into making a change. With passion for yachting, the planet, nature and all living creatures it is an amazing experience to be part of a team who are going beyond today’s standards and squeezing out this 0,5 kts speed. That is only possible when the core values and passions are shared. And to those who don’t care about the environment: Then consider the next generations. The future is circular. Our way of thinking has to change. Our way of acting has to change. And there is nothing more scary and exciting at the same time as a change.

*Founder | Chief Innovation Officer at ExoTechnologies

NR: Signed articles are the sole responsibility of their authors

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