Interview – BOOTE-MAGAZIN, Germany


In 1996 I was the only German participant at the Wellcraft Offshore Boot Camp in Captiva Island, Florida. The course title was not meant in the sense of boats, but alluded to the military significance. But things were not rough there. This was a very exclusive event, which I became aware of through an announcement in BOOTE magazine. I treated myself to the driving training for my thirtieth birthday, the five days costing $5,000. Afterwards I went to Las Vegas, to the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, and in between I spent four days in Jamaica. When I got home, I had a 911 Turbo in the garage. I should never have sold it, they are worth a fortune now. But anyway, I was never a collector and would never buy the same car twice. Life is too short for that, I always prefer something new. So also with the Bootcamp from Wellcraft. Up to that point, I had driven smaller boats on inland waterways.

I started boating in Holland in 1976 at the age of ten. It was a paradise for children, because the authorities were not so strict about the driving license. Besides, my father’s Glastron Carlson could do 50 knots and was much faster than the water police. The racing school sparked my passion for really fast boats. There were six courses a year with 24 participants divided into groups of four on six Scarab 31s. They had Mercury 420 horsepower twice, I remember that quite clearly. The area off Captiva Island was a dream: smooth water on one side and waves on the Gulf. That’s where I learned to race and how to control my boat safely even in big waves. But there were also two hours of theory per day. We learned simple things like how to actively press ourselves into the seat with our legs so that we don’t get catapulted out. There was no Manta position like in the car. Our instructors were all world champions, real legends in the USA like Bill Sirois, who raced with Chuck Norris and Don Johnson.

Two years later I bought my first offshore boat with 1200 hp, and ten years after the offshore course I started selling cigarette racing. Until 2012, I was still managing a meat factory on the side. In 2017, Mangusta in Düsseldorf became aware of me through my Cigarette presence in Hall 6 and approached me. Privately, I currently drive a Cigarette 39. If I had the choice between superyacht and Cigarette, I would always drive the Cigarette. You can also live in a hotel. I am also not a sailing type. Someday, when I retire, it could be a kind of deceleration for me. But as long as I still have a date on the calendar, I want to know when I’m arriving.