MY FIRST LOVE

By Roel Hachmang, founder of Venandi Yachts ~ It’s no surprise that I ended up working with boats. I grew up on a polder in the Netherlands — a piece of land reclaimed from the sea and totally surrounded by water. 

My-first-love-venandiI was lucky enough to get my first boat when I was just ten. It was a small (3m) boat with a big (20hp) motor. And I loved it. I got into all kinds of scrapes and adventures on the nearby lakes and canals. I’d go out when the weather was really bad to catch the biggest waves, cut a surfboard in half so that me and my friends could be towed behind my boat at silly speeds of up to 60km.  

I always went too fast, made too much noise, and the neighbours weren’t too pleased. Yes … I was a typical annoying, adrenalin-loving kid. 

But my early experiences on the water stayed with me and taught me a lot. I quickly learned that boating gives you a real sense of escape and freedom. It gives you time to think, wind down and get away from your troubles for a few hours.  

And practically speaking, I learned a lot too. I started fixing up and renovating old boats. Buying them cheap and lovingly doing them up. There’s no better way to appreciate how they’re put together, what works and what doesn’t.  

I became intrigued by the design and construction of boats. I even designed an aluminium wakeboard boat when I was 18. My design didn’t make it past the drawing board, but it was ahead of its time … aluminium boats are all the rage now.  

aluminium-wakeboard-boatMy father was an engineer, so I must get my technical expertise from him. He worked for my uncle, who owned a machining factory, and I remember being fascinated by what was going on in the workshop. I was forever tinkering with dirt bike engines, tuning them and getting them just perfect. 

My first job after school was as a metalworker, but that didn’t last long. As soon as I could, I joined a yacht building company and spent five years working during the day and going to school in the evenings completing my shipbuilding qualifications. I was finally up and running (or should that be up and sailing?) , doing what I love best. Qualified/ready to start accomplishing my childhood dream or ready with the tools and knowledge to doing what I love best.