“You can’t change the winds but you can adjust your sails.”
Thomas van Thiel
My Name is Thomas – ocean lover – who could sail almost earlier then walk. I have a big love and hunger for new adventures, traveling, nature, film, books, and chess or whatever game there is on the boat available.
Thomas! What’s your story?
I started sailing in and around the lakes of my home town Almere in the Netherlands. When I got older I started working for Amorgos, a sailing school for yachts where I sailed a lot in and around the dutch waters and throughout the Croatian islands. In 2014, I did my first Atlantic crossing and opened my eyes for all the plastic pollution by seeing a plastic bottle 10 days away from the nearest land. Therefore I started By the Ocean we Unite when I came back home. By the Ocean we Unite is an organisation that spreads education and awareness trough organising sailing research expeditions on microplastics in the sea. We do a lot more so check out ByTheOceanWeUnite. Feel free to send me a message or ask me on the boat in Croatia. Last year I bought my beautiful 53ft steel ketch, Windfall, with whom I will leave for a circumnavigation to begin spring next year.
Why are you excited about joining the Ocean Nomads flotilla?
I met Suzanne in 2014 on the internet when we both were on a different ship and island in the Canarian Islands making our way to the Caribbean and we always kept in touch. I’ve been following ocean nomads for some while know and when Suzanne asked me whether I’d like to skipper one of the boats in September I could only say yes.
Connecting with each other on a boat is one of the big powers from sailing. Together with the crew, you make your own small community on the water with the boat and as our home, hopping from island to island. All together with all the small communities on all the other boats, we will be a moving village together. These are the ingredients of an awesome week where you make friends for a lifetime sharing the same experience. We combine this with aiming to keep our footprint as low as it can be and increasing our impact by learning and discussing the challenges and solutions the ocean is facing, I hope to find and share a lot of inspiration and good energy so together we will be the change.
Why are you passionate about sailing?
For me sailing is everything. It’s freedom in the purest of its word. Your compass is 360 degrees and you can go wherever the wind blows, working with the elements to navigate over this wild en tremendous blue dessert. You will get what you get and it comes how it comes. Over there, the here and now the only thing that counts and when you accept that you find freedom. At least I do. For me, that’s the most beautiful thing there is.
What’s your wildest ocean-related dream that you would love to experience in your lifetime?
Drop Anker in Polynesia!
Come and meet Thomas and his excitement about sailing and drive for ocean conservation at the next Ocean Nomads Flotilla in Croatia
And check him out in the trailer of ‘An Ocean Story’ below