‘In the wave of change, we find our direction’


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Ilse Schuurman


Publication: March 2021

When I heard about the plans to row across the Atlantic, I was immediately triggered. I had never heard of TWAC before, but I was immediately excited and looked up everything there was to find about this race. It soon became apparent that a 4th rower was still being

sought and I thought, why not? This came across my path and I can’t let it slip away. A chance to do something so insane, an experience to take with you forever. It helps that I love rowing and having rowed races in a women’s gig for years; I know what it’s like to be on the water and go for it with your team. Rowing across the Atlantic Ocean is a different story and will be a tough challenge physically as well as mentally. But hey, this is my life and it has to be lived.


Although they thought I was crazy, it is great how my husband, Jeroen and my two daughters, Bibi and Puk, support me in my choice. We live together in beautiful Zwolle, where I was born and raised. Because of Corona, I currently work completely from home but I hope to be able to bike again soon to work at the college where I am a project coordinator. Just like I hope the gym will open again so I can take my favourite

body pump classes. In addition to my work at the college, I give mosaic lessons in my studio at home and enjoy time with friends. When I embark on the greatest adventure of my life in December 2023, I will be 51 years old. If we row at a good pace, I’ll still be 51 when I set foot on land in Antigua. I can’t wait to get started, but I realise… our journey has already begun.

40 years old, born in Emmen and raised in the small village of Valthe. Via Groningen and a few other places I have been completely happy for a number of years and found my place in beautiful Zwolle. Besides my work as an international marketing consultant and a busy social life with family and friends whom I can’t live without, sport has always played a major role in my life. Not exercising has a big impact on my mood. 😉 Many different and fun sports have passed the revue, but when I got to know gig rowing in Zwolle I was completely blown away: how cool! Hooked from the first time I got in the boat…


I had wanted to do this for a long time and the TWAC2020 made the feeling of “I have to do this” even stronger. A “once in a lifetime experience” far outside my comfort zone. An enormous physical and

mental challenge. Be completely dependent on yourself and your teammates. How cool is that! I said to myself: either you let it go forever, or you do it now. So I did it and a few weeks later we did it together: our team was complete and the registration done. What an incredibly good feeling!

Ingrid Voorn


Publication: March 2021

Margot Vries


Publication: March 2021

52 years old, mother of two kids, Cato and Teun. Born in Joure, a small village in Friesland. Raised on and in the water (competitive swimming, windsurfing, sailing and skating). I went to college in Zwolle and after a lot of (read: masses of) wanderings I ended up back in Zwolle. Fairly centrally located for my work as a Store Developer based in Amsterdam; the train takes you everywhere. Normally I have a busy social life with my family and friends, but because of COVID-19 it is all a bit different and I can’t wait to give my parents a hug, go to a concert with friends and play team sports when my age group is allowed to again. Sport is very important to me. It gives me energy, especially outdoor sports. I started rowing 13 years ago, after which I switched to gig rowing two years later. Even after such a long time on the water, I am far from done rowing.


When Ingrid asked if I wanted to row across the Atlantic, I only had to think about it for a moment. What an adventure, far from everything you love, but with friends you trust and with whom I am very happy to take on this challenge. What an amazing experience this is going to be. Will it be hard? Absolutely!

48 years old and born in Utrecht. When I was young, I moved with my parents and brother to Zwolle, where I have been living with

great pleasure. I have a son, Noa and a daughter, Pien, and I am happily married to Vincent. I work as a Team Leader at Windesheim and I also organise the Zwolse Grachtenrace every year, a gig race that is part of the FSN Sloeproei competition. Outdoor sports and water have always attracted me and that is why I started rowing in gigs 17 years ago. A beautiful sport in which strength, endurance and team spirit are central. Delivering a performance together, persevering and pushing your own limits, is wonderful!


I’ve been following the TWAC for a number of years and every time I think: this is amazing. How cool would it be to do this yourself.

Exciting, adventurous and a mental challenge. Now that my children are grown up, I have a chance to really do something for myself. And now the time has come, we have a team and what a great one! The Blue Atlantics, I am so proud!

Marije van de Bor


Publication: March 2021

Lucas Voorn


Publication: May 2021

My name is Lucas Voorn, 60 years young, married and three children. The women’s team “Blue Atlantics” will start a gigantic rowing race across the ocean in December 2023.


Of course, this cannot be done without training. The ladies approached me to guide this process. Rowing is not my background, but last year I sat in a gig for the first time and made a round through the canals of Zwolle. What I do take with me is a lot of experience

from the sports world. I have been working in this field for 40 years. First 15 years as a sports instructor at the Ministry of Defense, then 25 years as a sports instructor in the prison system. My challenge lies in the fact that the ladies have to be fit and in top shape at the start.


My specialty is drawing up training programs. Rowing is new to me, but that makes this project even more interesting. In addition, I have many contacts in the sports world, so I have every confidence that this will turn out all right!


It is clear that there is still a lot of work to be done. Not only by me, but especially by the ladies!

Before my retirement, I worked as a physical education teacher in primary education and MBO. A second career followed as a project leader and manager at Deltion College.


Sailing is one of my passions. First on inland waterways, then later at sea. My dream was to go solo ocean sailing for a longer period of time. I succeeded. I did a long solo trip twice. Once to Stockholm and Helsinki and once to Vigo at the Spanish-Portuguese border.


I have been rowing for many years now, but since the sailboat was sold, it has become even more intense. I row three times a week in a double scull with Bert. In addition, I train once a week with Aidan who will row the TWAC’21 this year, together with Tristan.


I followed TWAC’20 from start to finish with intense interest. I commiserated with the experiences of the Dutch men 2x and the two women’s boats 4x. This year, that personal involvement will

become even more intense as Aidan and Tristan start in December. In this way I have been drawn more and more into the great story of the Atlantic crossing. Not as a participant, but as a supporter to familiarise fixed-seat rowers with sliding-seat rowing. I am looking forward to working with Margot, Ilse, Ingrid and Marije, the Blue Atlantics team.

Jan Kolthof

Publication: July 2021

Bart de Jong

Publication: July 2021

How nice of you to read this! I am Bart, a 33-year-old creative photographer/videographer with a positive mindset, living in Zwolle and raised in the flower village of Lisse (Keukenhof, the flower bulb

region). Ilse told me about the Blue Atlantics and asked me if I would like to capture their journey/adventure. I immediately thought: I want to do this. Of course, I first met the team, and what a great team the ladies are together!


At the beginning of this year 2021 I started my own company: Bartjong. Bartjong is specialized in photography and videography

( I quit my current job in order to pursue my passion,

and I am very happy with this choice.


You are going to see many cool images of these power ladies; they have gained a supporter in me!

When Ingrid called me on Monday morning, February 1, it had to be about something special. Bubbling with enthusiasm, she announced that she had decided to row across the Atlantic! You’re doing what?!…… Wow! That’s really heavy, but what an adventure! We’ve known each other since kindergarten and have shared many joys and sorrows. I knew right away, I want to experience this, but neither love nor money would get me into that boat. As a mother of two young children, this is really not an option for me. I am not nearly as athletic as Ingrid and the three other power women

with whom she takes on this enormous challenge.


I love outdoor sports, galloping with my horse through the woods in the Veluwe and recently I became attached to my SUP with which I brave the Zwarte Water in Zwolle. I find myself viewing the water differently since I SUP. But my preference is more a tight billiard cloth than the raging waves of the Atlantic.


For my work at the KNHS (the equestrian association), one of the larger sports associations and certainly the nicest, I am busy every day keeping the KNHS social media channels up to date and writing articles for the website and newsletters. Managing content and coming up with fun communication concepts, that’s my strength. I want people to enjoy the super cool adventure of these tough ladies. In the run-up to the TWAC, and of course during the race, we will try to keep everyone as informed

as possible about what the ladies experience during their ocean crossing. I am proud to be able to support the Blue Atlantics on this amazing adventure that has only just begun. Let’s do this!

Ingeborg Fortgens

Publication: July 2021

Tessa Jonker

Publication: July 2021

When you hear that your former rowing buddies are going for the biggest challenge of their lives, that news is like throwing petrol on the rowing fire that every (former) rower has in them!


I was completely keyed up when Margot told me that she and Marije (along with the two other ladies) will participate in TWAC2023! I rowed for years with these two companions in d’Isela; a beautiful, slender gig with which we have achieved quite a few victories. And apart from the (sometimes quite ugly) cups, I especially have warm memories of the team, the spirit and the friendship we shared.


That’s why I didn’t have to think for a second when Margot asked me if I would like to support Blue Atlantics in the field of social media! How cool is it that I get to follow the four ladies up close on their journey to this incredible, unique, exciting and challenging race: the world toughest row!? And who wouldn’t want to work for Jeugdfonds Sport & Cultuur and Het Vergeten Kind?


Thanks to my work as an online marketer at Advice Creëert mpact! I know my way around the social media, SEO, and SEA worlds and I will do my best to put Blue Atlantics on the digital map! (And maybe go to La Gomera in 2023 ;))

As a beginner rowing coach at rowing club ZRZV, I was asked if I, together with experienced rowing trainer and coach Jan Kolthof, would guide and train the Blue Atlantics ladies, Marije, Ingrid, Margot and Ilse, underway to their great adventure.


I was/am impressed by what the ladies are planning and grabbed this opportunity with both hands. I likewise gain new experience during the training sessions. Unique that I can be a member of the Blue Atlantics in this way.


The first meters (kilometres by now) have already been completed and progress is going well. I foresee that the ladies with their attitude and stamina will certainly make it across the ocean. They haven’t caught up with me on the water yet, but it won’t take long…

Johan Meidam

Publication: July 2022