Windsurfer Ron Kleverlaan uit Bergen is dinsdag 22 oktober met succes de Noordzee overgestoken van Engeland naar Bergen. Het record van 7 uur en 56 minuten wist hij echter niet te breken. Kleverlaan, van het P7 Black Team Benelux, kwam daarvoor zo’n veertig minuten te laat aan. In het pikkedonker kwam hij na een loodzware tocht van aan in Bergen aan Zee. Na een afstand van zo’n 105 nautische mijlen, wat ongeveer 195 kilometer is, stond de windsurfer een heldenonthaal te wachten op het strand van Bergen. Vele media hadden zich verzameld, Ron heeft bijvoorbeeld zijn verhaal uitvoerig vertelt in Vandaag de Dag en RTL Late Night van Humberto Tan.
Ron Kleverlaan had in 1990 al eerder een poging gedaan de Noordzee over te steken. Deze poging strandde omdat het weer tijdens de overtocht sterk veranderde. Nadat de wind naar het Oosten was gedraaid kon de Bergenaar wel opgeven. Zijn tweede poging heeft dus geen wereldrecord opgeleverd maar was desondanks een groot succes. Hieronder kan je beelden van de North Sea Crossing bekijken, voor nog veel meer details over deze intense tocht van Ron Kleverlaan verwijzen we je naar een artikel op de website van Point 7. Hier is bijvoorbeeld ook een uitgebreid interview met Kleverlaan te vinden. Hieronder vertelt hij alvast hoe hij op het idee is gekomen om de Noordzee over te steken.
How did you get this idea?
The idea for crossing the North Sea started 23(!) years ago when I was 23 years old and windsurfing was already my great passion in these days. I had been running some windsurfschools and watersport centers in Greece and Holland as seasonal jobs which allowed me to spent much time on the water. Windsurfing on the North Sea is challenging and when you spent lot’s of hours in the waves you start wondering how it would be to cross that sea, knowing that England is ‘only’ 195km away….after some thoughts it became clear for me that it had to be done! With the help of some friends from the windsurfscene we managed to arrange the boards (BIC) and sails (Gun Sails) and an old pilotboat as supportvessel and in October 1990 we set off to Lowestoft. The weather forecasting in these days was a lot less sophisticated than today. (although the results do not differ too much we know now!) On the 15th of October 1990 we started from the beach in Lowestoft witnessed by the major, who had to get up early as we started at 05.00 in the morning….
The conditions looked initially good with southerly winds, I started on a course race board, and a 8.5m2 racesail. I believe we had 15 knots increasing to 20 or so, but after a few hours the wind decided to turn east which meant I had to sail straight into the wind to arrrive in Holland. The guys in the support boat had to pull me off my board because I was determined to finish but it was deemed to fail as I was heading for Greenland, not exactly where we wanted to finish. After this attempt we did not had a chance to do another one that year and in the following years I was occupied trying to find out if I had other talents that I would be able to use to make a decent living. I married my lovely wife Saskia, who is, amazingly, still with me and still supporting my crazy adventures. We started a family and we have now 3 great kids in the age between 8 and 15 years old. I became a marine surveyor and yacht manager and together with my wife we run our small business which provide a decent living and which allows me to spent time on the water again, windsurfing.
The main reason I wanted to complete the crossing after 23 years, I think, is because I still had that feeling of something unfinished in the back of my mind. Something uncompleted, something that I failed to do successfully. When we moved back to Holland in 2011 after living in France for 14 years and found our perfect place to live in Bergen aan Zee,only a few hundred meters from the beach, I realized that I wanted to finish the project which started 23 years ago. I wanted to proof myself that I was physically and mentally able to do it, I wanted above all to show my kids that if you really want to achieve something you dream of, you need to just do it and hold on to it until it has been completed (even if it takes a while..), I hope they have learned a bit from this event. Of course I also wanted to set a new record because I was (and still am) convinced that the crossing can be done in between 5 and 6 hours if conditions are favorable. The North Sea however is famous for its ever changing conditions, which we now know very well so it will not be easy to set a good time.