Baptizing and launching 'Maria'

This Saturday, surrounded by family, friends, sponsors, media and volunteers who helped along the way, we baptized 'Maria', my self built ocean rowing boat, by spraying champagne over her bow. With the words "We're not throwing this bottle at it, because it'll probably be right inside" and "to making many safe miles" the baptism was a fact.

A few minutes later Maria was launched and we were able to test her for the first time. It was amazing! She felt light but stable. All the hard work payed off! Although we are not completely finished yet (we still need to built in some equipment) and the weight and stability will increase even more when all the required supplies are on board, this first encounter with Maria on the water is fantastic!

In the past period, Kai and I trained separately, partly due to Corona. From now on, the moment has come that they will cover the necessary nautical miles through a meticulous training schedule to be able to appear at the start in La Gomera like a well-oiled machine. There is a nice strong foundation, but there is always room for improvement. The outspoken ambition to set a world record again (I rowed a solo world record in the 2017-2018 edition) demands the utmost from both of us and we are both willing to do everything they can to make this ambition reality.

I have an extra motivation in this ambition. Last March, my most loyal fan and biggest motivator, my mom Maria, passed away after years of battling cancer. To honor her, I named my boat after her and dedicate this race to her. Days before her passing I told her I was going to name his boat after her. She couldn't be more proud and told all the hospital staff and visiting family and friends about this wonderful gesture of her son. So, she will be there with us in spirit.

It took a long time and hard work to finally get to this milestone. I calculated that it took between 1.300 and 1.400h of hard labour. Just to give you an idea: the average number of working hours per person per year is 1,500 hours. And we did this besides our regular fulltime jobs. So yes, this is a moment we have been eagerly anticipating and celebrating.

This boat built wouldn't have been possible without the skilled knowledge and effort of everyone who helped me during this built. So a heartfelt thanks to you all!

Below you find an impression of this day.

Foto credits: Paul Dijkstra, Wilma Gordijn and Harry van Wijk

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