11. Oktober 2023 Interview with Captain Arjen

Datum: 11.10.2023
Position: 50° 19,628‘ N; 000° 27,747‘ W
Kurs: NNW 343° (Tackmanöver, Sail Training)
Bisher zurückgelegte Seemeilen: 622,78 nm
Wetter: bewölkt, trocken
Temperatur: 20,8° C, gefühlte 10°C wegen Wind 
Wind: W, 4 Bft
Gesetzte Segel: outer jib, inner jib, upper topsail, lower topsail, fore staysail, main sail,
Geschwindigkeit: 4,5 kt
Stimmung an Bord: doppelt müde, nochmal müde, Energielevel steigend und fröhlich

Interview with Captain Arjen

Captain Arjen

Captain Arjen © Jan

Beitragsbild oben: Arjen erklärt Johannes, Jonathan, Moritz und Lara das Wendemanöver (engl. tacking) © Peggy

My name is Arjen van der Veen. I‘m from the Netherlands, in the northern part, it‘s called Friesland. We have our own language as well, it‘s called „Fries“. It‘s different from „Ostfriesisch“. My occupation on board: I‘m the captain. 
How long have you been on this ship in total?
Not very long I have been here on board. I know this ship for very long time, I know the owners and the builders of this ship and they are my friends and collogues. But recently I am now the captain of the Gulden Leeuw and since monday I‘m the official captain of this ship. I took over the job of captain Captain Robert.
Why are you participating in this project?
The reason is just how wonderful it is to give young adults the opportunity to see the world. And therefore I like to help in that process. It‘s been a dream of mine as well in the future to build a sailing vessel with trainees and cargo. And it all comes a little bit together now with the Gulden Leeuw. This is a process and it‘s wonderful to teach young adults what I‘ve learned in my life and to share information, adventure stories and experiences, so you can take it home and do something with it, or not. And that is my motivation to be on board.
What is your coolest / craziest thing you have experienced?
One of my dreams came true by building my own sailing cargo vessel. The ship is called „Tres Hombres“ and it‘s engineless, so it has no motor, only sails. It has cargo on board and trainees. We have build this ship with lots of volunteers, who helped building the ship between 2007 and 2010. We financed the ship not by a bank, but by private investors. It‘s been sailing now for more than 10 years and I was the first captain on board and now other people have been captain on board, even female captains have been on board. I‘m very proud that that it became reality and that we made something impossible possible. And that is one of my crazy stories.
How many nautical miles have you sailed in your life ?
As a captain I have been crossing the Atlantic 14 times. Could be 200.000 miles.
What is something people have to know about you?
That‘s a question you have to think about. I like to be in the center. I like to be on stage, playing the guitar or speak or giving a presentation. I like to be in the shiny center on stage. Do you know Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones, he‘s almost 80 years old and he gets the power from his audience. It gives him like a really good kick. It‘s a really good feeling. That‘s something people can know about me.
When did you want to be captain?
For my character and person I never wanted to be working for a boss. I always knew things better, even if I didn‘t. I‘m coming from an entrepreneur family, a business owning family. I wanted to rule my own thoughts, I wanted to be making my own decisions. It is a decision to become captain and not everybody wants to become captain, because you need to be very responsible. The overall responsibility is yours. That can be very scary as well, through time it became almost second nature. That‘s okay, I don‘t have to be afraid of that. Some people have that, some people don‘t.
What do you love about sailing?
Departure and arrival. It‘s nice to go away, you know, say good bye, have tears, but also arrival is very magical. You will also experience that and when we arrive in the next port after a while at sea your senses are not used to land. So you will smell the flowers from land, it will do something with you. Your awareness of things are more detailed. Your whole head is overloading with „wow, wow“. And also that dopamine coming through your system, that your very aware of things. And after three days, two days then it will be finished because human beings are very adaptable. But this is something you will recognise. It‘s like when you were on long holidays and then you come back and you smell your home again. Your senses are reset.
What can you tell us about the Tres Hombres?
It‘s very special, because we started something in a time, that when we did it, people said „you are crazy, it‘s so old school, it is never gonna be something“.  We believed in the sources and power of the wind and to make a business out of sailing cargo on a small scale. And now we see the other project like the Avontuur, and all kinds of other sailing vessels are also doing the same thing. But we were the first ones that restarted sail cargo in this century and that’s crazy. The adaptation, the acceptance of something that is unusual became usual. And now it‘s a hot topic, sustainability is a hot topic. We need to burn less fuel and oil. I think that is unstoppable, especially with your generation. You will not accept it anymore, I guess. If there is an alternative: Lets do it!

Do you have anything to add?
I‘m glad you have interviewed me, and that the time on board here is very precious. Also for me but I have to tell for you as well. If you are not gonna have a job on a ship, you will learn so much for your life in the world. And that is so valuable to take. When I was 17 years old I went to America for one year high school in California and I didn‘t know any English, when I arrived, well I thought I didn‘t. I came there and my English was like this. I just started, of course I was scared, cause I was not used to it. And I stayed not one year but three years in the United States. I went to college and got my major in music. In my heart I‘m a musician, singer-songwriter. We can start a band, here on board.


Sonnenuntergang am 10. Oktober © Jan

(Dieses Interview wurde von uns gekürzt.)
Viele Grüße Anni und Mathilda






  • Anna-Lena: Viele Grüße an alle, besonders an meine Mama, außer Christoph.
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