To Holland’s most incorrigible mariner East-West, Sea’s Best
AMSTERDAM _ Henk de Velde never was much of a homebody. And the Dutch author-sailor (7 books, 6 circumnavigations, 2 documentaries) reinforced that reputation at the 2012 HISWA Amsterdam In-water boat show where he announced he’ll be off again in 2013. JUst one year earlier, he had ended a “never-ending” round-the-world in a 52-ft trimaran after only 4 years. “I never understood people can miss you,” he said at the time. “I saw Stefan (his son) standing there with a face I’d never seen … I paid that boy not enough attention.”
De Velde, 63, (photo) is Holland’s most incorrigible, most incurable voyager who relishes the vast emptiness of the ocean. He plans to leave again in July, 2013, in a multihull and sail north, well past Spitsbergen. He’ll take 2 cameramen along to film the permanent ice. In a 2011 interview with www.smalltrimarandesign.com De Velde spoke of the beauty of ocean sailing, pirates and money and what boat works best.
“Ideal size or ideal boat, finally depends on the money you can spend,” he said. “A nice size is 40 ft, but I know many who are happy with their 35-footers. The older one gets, the smaller the boat needs to be. As you get older, you lose strength to handle the craft … unless, of course, you have money. Then you buy a big boat with power and buttons to do the work, and/or take a crew to do it.” If you are careful $12,000 can cover a year and that includes “food, maintenance, harbor dues, clearing fees and repairs. Typically, I’ve earned this from my books, plus articles for sailing magazines and selling my art work. The only insurance I have is liability insurance plus a very basic health/accidents insurance.”
Pirates? De Velde carries “no firearms because this would become a major nuisance when clearing customs and also when you need to make an emergency anchorage without official clearance (and) you can get boarded by coast guards or customs! As far as dealing with serious pirates, there’s really nothing one person could do against heavily armed gang. But in case of some petty thief, I always have a baseball bat handy.”