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Richard van der Veen Yachtmaster Instructor and sailing coach

About Me.

From the early days of sailing with his granddad and crewing on the family yacht to becoming an RYA Yachtmaster Instructor, Richard has spent a lifetime gathering invaluable experience on the water. With an accumulated distance of approximately 120,000 nautical miles, he possesses a deep understanding of the ocean, seamanship, and the art of sailing. 

Some 60 years ago, at the age of 2, I started sailing with my grandparents. My grandfather, one of the last “Skutsje” skippers, passed on all his experience and skills every summer to an eager young student. 

Then in my teens I started to race a Laser competitively, while spending summer holidays on our family yacht.

My other passion was, and still is music.  After getting a degree in Business Administration I had a career in the music industry, initially working for global record companies in marketing and management,  finishing with running my own business for 10 years.

After a sailing pause I bought my first yacht while in my early thirties,  a UFO 34,  not only bringing beautiful lines, but also endless work to do and money to spend.

Since then I’ve been a happy serial yacht owner, racing, cruising,  crossing the Bay of Biscaye 12 times, the Atlantic twice, while loving all that sailing and boat ownership can bring.


Before turning 50 I sold my business with the objective to become a professional sailor. The first step was becoming a commercial endorsed Yachtmaster, followed by starting “Algarve Ocean” in Portugal, offering “educational” day charter on a J120, a fast and exciting to sail racer/cruiser. 

Since then (2008) I have mainly worked as sailing coach and instructor. Main employers were Club Yachting in Tenerife, where I was responsible for the Yachtmaster program, and Clipperarountheworld in the UK, where I worked and developed myself for 3 years as training skipper, getting mainly novice sailors ready for a race around the world on 72 ft racing yachts. 


While recognizing the RYA training scheme as the best one in the world it is mainly based on sailing on small yachts, with a competent crew, in relatively sheltered waters. Many of us will end up sailing with a limited crew, both in numbers and competence, where dedicated shorthanded techniques become useful. And as we venture offshore in tough weather conditions a different level of safety management will be required. As a skipper of 72 ft racing boats I learned that not all small boat handling techniques will translate to larger yachts.


In 2007 I started “Atlantic Sailing”, a successful RYA training center in Lanzarote. Running my own school enabled me to add my own experience to the already outstanding RYA syllabus. Teaching methods applicable to boats up to 72 ft,  creating a safety policy and culture based on offshore big boat sailing, and introducing shorthanded techniques, have given the school an unique edge, and a solid following of happy and returning clients. 


I am fortunate to be able to combine the running of training weeks with own boat tuition on bigger yachts, where I train and coach the owner to successfully manage their boat and crew, based on producing formalized operating procedures of all the manoeuvres and sail handling. 

When I am not working you will likely find me sailing.

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