sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Volvo Ocean Race - They call him Johnny and he's made by sailing
Volvo Ocean Race - They call him Johnny and he's made by sailing

'A serious looking Gerd ’Johnny’ Jan Poortman onboard ABN AMRO TWO during the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006.'    Lucas Brun/TEAM ABN AMRO
Meet Gerd-Jan Poortman – call him Johnny. Aged 38, he has a girlfriend and two young children. He has been sailing since he was a kid, and is now gearing up for the Volvo Ocean Race with Team Brunel. His daily routine is tough, but in a life made by sailing it's just another day at the office.

'I started sailing as soon as I had my swimming license. I must have been six or seven when I got it and my parents bought me an Optimist. It was in a small club in Holland, on a tiny lake. We learned racing from day one there, which was great.

'I was a special kid though – school was difficult for me. I’m dyslexic and it’s hard for me to learn. I needed to get rid of my energy and sailing was just fantastic. I was in the Dutch youth team in Optimist and 420 before moving to an American high school for a year.

'At that point, sailing started to be an expensive hobby and my parents wanted to finally buy a new car. They told me ‘You’re 18 and you have to organise yourself’ so I had to go and sail on big yachts. Luckily I found good boats and went up the ladder a little.

'I’ve been a professional sailor since 1999. I made my first real breakthrough that year, when I was asked to sail for the Dutch entry in the Admiral’s Cup. We won – it was a big win, and a big opportunity. I grew from that.

'I sailed my first Volvo in 2005-06 with the youth team ABN AMRO Two – a major milestone and a big step-up. I sailed another one with Delta Lloyd in 2008-09. We started three weeks before the start with a second-hand boat. It was difficult but we did end up being competitive.

Delta Lloyd bowman Gerd-Jan Poortman trimming the maisail, on leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Boston during the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. -  Pluijm-Team Delta Lloyd-Volvo Ocean Race  
'And now I am in Lanzarote training for the next race with Team Brunel. We’re leaving for the Netherlands on May 7 and the three months here have been great. Every sailing day has been a fruitful day of testing. I literally just go from my house to the gym, from the gym to the boat and from the boat to the team’s dinner. That’s my rhythm and you can almost see my track on the road!

'This time though, I’ve got two lovely sons and a lovely girlfriend back home. This is the first time I’m doing the race with a family and it’s a race in the race. I’m very thankful for my girlfriend – I’m here in the sun doing what I love, and I go to bed in the evening after a day of sailing while she stays with the crying babies. It’s a tough time, but she is giving me this opportunity and I’m very thankful for that. They come over often and they love it too – my older son is three years old and he finds it very interesting.

'I’m away lots, and I’m always sailing. Socially, I have to make big sacrifices but it’s the sailor’s way of life. That’s hard, but there are other ways to be a professional sailor. I’m pretty sure that after this Volvo I’ll look for a job closer from home to be with them more.

'But to me, the Volvo Ocean Race is the best sailing race there is. When I became a pro sailor, I didn’t really think of it yet. It was so far away and these guys were my heroes. I remember going to the stopover in Southampton in 1997. I stood behind the fences thinking ‘wow, these guys are gods.’

'Eight years later, I was there, crossing the start line with ABN AMRO Two. And I recognise myself in the young guys onboard Brunel – they are very keen, and you’ve got to break them a little!



'I’m a bowman onboard. I’m involved with the boat handling side of things, organising and managing sail changes, going to the pointy end to do it. I’m also the onboard sailmaker. This time around, the teams are much smaller and us, the eight sailors, have to embrace more diverse roles. That’s what we train for in Lanzarote.

'And at the end of the day, I look back and I’m proud. We started this campaign one and a half years ago with Bouwe Bekking and Gideon Messink, aiming to bring a Dutch team back in the race. Here we are now.

'This is only the beginning though. Every time I go home, I’m both very proud and very cautious. I think of all the work we’ve got to do and I think – let’s go to bed.'

Volvo Ocean Race


by Volvo Ocean Race


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=122024

3:44 PM Sat 10 May 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2014 -15 Volvo Ocean Race

Related News Stories:

02 May 2014  Volvo Ocean Race: Emirates Team NZ pulls out of Volvo consideration
29 Apr 2014  Volvo Ocean Race: Team SCA - Bound for the USA - Life on board - Day 3
28 Apr 2014  Volvo Ocean Race: Womens crew blasting towards USA - Day 2
26 Apr 2014  Volvo Ocean Race: Why Capey keeps coming back
20 Apr 2014  Cammas on Caudrelier – different styles, same objective
17 Apr 2014  Volvo Ocean Race - Dongfeng Race Team first official qualifier
15 Apr 2014  Volvo Ocean Race: North Sails on outfitting the Volvo 65
12 Apr 2014  Na água! Barco do Team Alvimedica já está pronto para os treinos
12 Apr 2014  Team Alvimedica, listo para navegar tras botar su Volvo Ocean 65
11 Apr 2014  Volvo Ocean Race - It's a family Affair
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World

ISAF Sailing World Championships - Watch medal races live here by Dan Ibsen, Sail-World Europe & UK editor,












ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Strong competition for RS:X fleets by Olga Maslivets, International RS:X Class Assoc.,






































470 Men and Women Worlds - Game on for Olympic Qualification by 470 International Association Class,












A complete recap of the most successful Melges 20 World Championship by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,




ISAF Santander - Upwards path for Austrian women's 470 crew + video
18ft skiffs: Carnage compilation from the glory days of the Grand Prix
ISAF Worlds: Video from the British Sailing Team
Bart's Bash expected to set new records this weekend
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Marcilio Browne wins Super Session
470 Men and Women World Championships - Racing abandoned on day 2
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 4 images from Santander
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander: Emerging Nations Program sailors shine
ISAF Sailing Worlds, Santander - Teasing winds play havoc on day 4
ISAF Sailing World Championships: Hot conditions in Santander on day 4
Santander ISAF Sailing World Championships joins Bart’s Bash
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Grounded fishing boat creates problems
Marseille One Design - GC32 Armin Strom Sailing Team emerge victorious
Rolex Big Boat Series 2014 - Ready for another 50 years
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 4
2014 Rolex Swan Cup - Eleventh-hour victories
Extreme Sailing Series - Kiwis clinch Act win in Istanbul + Video
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Two long races today for the J70 fleet
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Impressive to sail out of the Golden Gate
Extreme Sailing Series - Istanbul delivers four days of great racing
ISAF Sailing Worlds Santander - Day 3 images by Sail-World.com   
Extreme Sailing Series: Emirates Team NZ bounces back for series win   
Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds - Light winds and current test six classes   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Solid Day 3 for US Sailing Team   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 3 images by Jesus Renedo   
Marseille One Design 2014 - GC32 Armin Strom blitzes final day   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Una Etapa 0 complicada para todos   
Santander 49ers: Olympic Gold Medallist says two into 90 does not go!! *Feature   
GBR aiming for first ever Nacra 17 Games berth at Santander Worlds   
Volvo Ocean Race: Man and sail overboard as Leg 0 serves up drama   
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander 2014 – Images by Dan Ibsen   
Santander Worlds – already a spectator success   
ISAF Sailing World Championships Santander 2014 - Day 3 morning report   
Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Tales from the extreme   
Volvo Ocean Race: Latest starter wins opening race   
2014 J/70 World Championship - Healy, Abdullah, Becker and Borges win   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Full-blown, once again   
ISAF Worlds - Americans jump up Laser and Laser Radial leaderboard   
2014 Rolex Big Boat Series - Farr 40 Day 3   
ISAF Sailing World Championships - Day 2 images from Sail-World.com   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT