Snowed in on a Himalayan mountain with time to reflect.

Former Marine in the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, Sjoerd, is on a mission to start a career in yacht delivery worldwide; and started a Professional Yachtmaster Offshore course.

35 year-old, Dutch born Sjoerd, with 17 years of active military service, latterly as a Royal Marine Mountain Leader, tells his story: “I was on an expedition in the Himalayas in 2016 and got snowed in for a week up the Manaslu Mountain – the eighth highest mountain in the world at 8,163m above sea level. I had a time to reflect on what I wanted to do next.  I was looking for something completely different outside being in the military. I wanted to broaden my horizons and become independent setting up as being self-employed. As I like blue waters, working in yachting, crossing great oceans is very appealing.

How I made it happen

I saved up all my spare annual leave over several years to be able to embark on a career change which would be a new life style for me. After doing some research, I heard about a good course in yachting in the UK which would give me the right training to get a commercial endorsement. I attended the open day at UKSA and quickly took the decision to sign up for the Professional Yachtmaster Offshore. I rented out my house and packed my bags ready to go.

My passion for sailing started when I was young

My love of sailing started as a youth when my father bought a small sailing yacht – a 27ft Kievit. We explored Dutch waters and in 2010 we took the bold step to make our first canal passage – Ijmuiden, NL to Lowestoft, Suffolk. I enjoyed the night passage as it was challenging and totally different to sailing during the day, requiring me to be constantly checking charts, buoyancy and changes in the weather.

In 2014, I started skippering our boat on my own or with a friend, during the holidays and at weekends. And in 2017, I volunteered as a deckhand on the Royal Dutch Navy Cadets’ sea voyage; a two-week trip on a 27m classic yacht sailing from Honfleur, France to Den Helder, the Netherlands.  We experienced wind speeds of up to 55 knots on this trip – all great experience!

So why UKSA?

My first impressions of being at UKSA are that the course is very professional, the instructors are experienced and highly motivated and everyone is friendly and keen to help you succeed.  The key reason I joined UKSA is to get my yachting ticket from an organisation which is well respected in the yachting industry. I also wanted to benefit from the careers support from the Industry Guidance team here to be able to break into a career in professional yachting.

What next?

After working in yacht deliveries once I graduate with my Professional Yachtmaster Offshore, I plan to come back to UKSA in the future to train to work on superyachts (over 24m). I like it here at UKSA, it has a good feeling to the campus and being here is helping me change my life”.

To find out more visit: https://uksa.org/professional-training/deck/professional-yachtmaster/