Klaartje Zuiderbaan and her beloved dog Dorus.
She has sailed around the world as driver and trimmer on-board all-female Amer Sports Too in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2001 – 2002. She coached the Dutch Sonar team to gold medals in the 2010 World Championships, as well as in the 2012 Paralympics. She won the European Match Racing Championships in 2000 and the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in 2005. And she has a number of titles from ISAF Grade 1 match racing events all over the world.
Klaartje Zuiderbaan is the unquestionable grand old lady of women’s match racing in her home country The Netherlands. And within just a few weeks she will also be able to measure her strengths against the best male match racing skippers in the world, as one of the wild cards in the Dutch Match Cup. The event is the only Dutch stop on the male equivalent to the WIM Series, the Alpari World Match Racing Tour. But how on earth did Klaartje Zuiderbaan qualify for a wild card?
– Well, we sailed the J/109 open match racing nationals with a very occasional team. The last few races were sailed in more than 30 knots of wind, with reefed headsail and no spinnaker, just a small jib. But we did really well, and suddenly we’d won the whole thing, Zuiderbaan laughs.
At the prize giving ceremony, Dutch Olympian and sailing celebrity Roy Heiner expressed his sincere respect for Klaartje Zuiderbaan and her crew. A while after the Dutch Championship, Zuiderbaan & Co. received another imprint on their great performance, when the organizers of the Dutch Match Cup offered the crew a wild card to the event.
The Dutch Match Cup will be raced in Maxfun 25:s, a Dutch boat type with asymmetrical spinnaker. It’s a little similar to the French Beneteau 7.5 used in the WIM Series event in Vannes, where Klaartje Zuiderbaan finished runner-up after world #1 Camilla Ulrikkeholm:
– The Maxfun 25 is a nice boat, so I’m really looking forward to it, Klaartje says.
Klaartje Zuiderbaan lives in Dutch capital Amsterdam, where she works with sailing related team building and cooperation activities in her own business:
– I’m an educated civil engineer, but want to add and use my knowledge and skills from high performance sports. I love coaching and sports, she declares.
– We won the dream with the Sonar guys, we gave everything for that gold, but now I think it’s time for new things, for new challenges, she smiles.
One of the tasks this year is to build a competitive and successful new match racing team, and Klaartje Zuiderbaan is definitely on the right way, holding 4th spot on the WIM Series standings as well as on the ISAF World Ranking. Her talent, experience, drive and passion is not to be mistaken.
42 years old
Lives in Dutch capital Amsterdam
Working as coach/team builder in her own business
Member of the Watersportvereniging Braassemermeer
Has no particular favourite boat, but loves to sail different boats