ABOUT WIPKE IWERSEN



Wipke Iwersen is initiator of the Expedition to the Origin of the Wind and builder of the original Windvinder, the first headwind-driven research vessel of the expedition, which is travelling the world’s seas since its temporary completion in 2008 – on an unmanned voyage to where the wind comes from.

 

 



Born in 1971, Wipke Iwersen spent a great deal of her childhood and youth on the North Sea, on the sailing ship that belonged to her grandfather and then to her parents, and of which she, herself, is now the skipper.

 


"I grew up in the wild and wonderful vastness of the sea, and the best thing about this vastness was our independence from ready-made roads – roads that others had planned, built and traveled before me. Still, the freedom was not limitless:
We could sail practically anywhere we wanted – except that one third of the horizon to windward: that stayed out of reach. To me it seemed as if all the secrets of the world were hidden there. Before I was ten I knew that one day I would sail there – straight there,  mind, not tacking, not waiting for favorable winds to reach the island that had lain to windward the day before – no, I didn’t want the island. I wanted that magical third of the horizon… (which, in the meantime, had shifted to another part of the circle).

 

All children have dreams. Unfortunately most children have parents who teach them that when they grow up they should better forget that and do something serious. For me just one thing was serious enough to spend my life with: make my dreams come true.

 

That’s what I did. I have built a ship that sails further than I could ever sail – across my own horizon - and set it free: to tell others that this is possible. "

 

 



From 1990 she undertook years of travel on dry land, interrupted by her training as an architect (TU Berlin) and carpenter (in Hamburg). Another period of travel culminated in five years of sculpture studies at the Art Academies of Amsterdam (Rietveld) and Barcelona (La Massana).


Ever since childhood Wipke Iwersen has drawn and painted the sea, and her work has frequently been exhibited. In recent years, her Amsterdam harbor workshop in a former oil tanker shipyard turned more and more into a windship construction laboratory - and has moved, as soon as the original Windvinder was seaworthy enough, to the open ocean.

 

“Ships are the eyes of the sea”, writes Alessandro Barrico in OCEANO MARE…