Where from: Zeist, Netherlands
Nautical Miles logged: 70,000nm
49 year-old Ineke van der Weijden quit her International Consulting job in 2018 to pursue a career as a professional sailor after competing on the 2017-28 edition of the Clipper Race. With over 70,000nm under her belt, including two North Pacific crossings, Ineke brings a wealth of offshore racing experience, alongside exceptional people management and coaching skills that she has gained both on and off the water.
Ineke has been a sailor most of her life, growing up sailing dinghies and racing competitively until age 18 at home in the Netherlands, before going on to build a highly-successful career in international consulting firms and NGOs in countries such as Botswana, providing mentorship to entrepreneurs. In 2017, Ineke took the leap to switch course from corporate life to embarking on the adventure of a lifetime- the Clipper Race. No stranger to huge challenges, Ineke has hiked in Nepal and through the jungle in Columbia, as well as ticking off Kilimanjaro, so sailing around the world naturally fell in line with her adventurous personality.
After completing seven legs of the Clipper 2017-18 Race, Ineke got her Yachtmaster qualifications and after a couple of months of reflecting on the race, decided to shelve the desk job and take on a career as a Professional Sailor, starting as an Assistant Mate working on board a Farr 65 for a racing season in the Caribbean, adding further racing miles to her log book. After a successful season, Ineke trialled as, and was successfully selected as an AQP for the Clipper 2019-20 Race, however, she opted to take on the role as a reserve AQP, racing on Leg 1 on Seattle.
Fast forward a couple of years, in 2022, following two years of lockdown, Ineke stepped on board for the second half of the postponed 2019-20 edition as a First Mate for Legs 6,7 and 8 on board WTC Logistics. Ineke clocked another 20,000 nautical miles, as well as gaining several strong race results alongside Skipper Dan Jones, notably a 4th place overall in the Clipper 2019-20 Race. Following the race, it was clear to Ineke that her next natural step was to take on the role of Skipper in the next edition.
Citing the creation of a safe and happy team environment, and the ethos that everyone crosses each ocean knowing that they gave it their all as her key motivations, Ineke is focussed on strong teamwork and gaining some great race placements as a natural result of this.
Outside of the Clipper Race, Ineke has sailed around the Mediterranean and Balearics on various trips as a Skipper, as well as a number of yacht deliveries. Ineke also worked as a Mate on board for the 2021 Our Isles and Oceans programme, introducing young people affected by the pandemic to sailing in beautiful waters of the Scottish Western Isles.