Director's Blog : Talking engineering and sustainability with chief engineer Jelmer

During our last management team meeting our chief engineer Jelmer had us glued to his presentation when he shared his enthusiasm for marine engineering on board the Clipper. Not only in the technical department, also the sustainability side there is a lot happening one doesn’t realise at first when thinking about engineering. It really makes all the difference though! This blog has a slightly different set up from the ones I wrote before because we’d love to tell you more about this too!

The Tech Team

Erik Pinkster and Jelmer Vleghaar are chief engineers on the Clipper. Erik and Jelmer, and also the other technicians who are part of the team, all work in rotation. On a daily basis the technical department on board is run by a chief engineer, a 2nd and 3rd engineer (technician) on board. At the moment the other technical stars are Shanti Wassink and Wybout de Leeuw, and we have a vacancy for a technician (second engineer).


Marine engineering on board the Clipper is a real multi-skilled and multitasking job and the engine room is the main domain of the technical team. Also called the Clipper's nerve center and unlimited source of energy. Jelmer explained it to us as follows: ‘Marine engineering is a tactical use of our senses, simultaneously, which makes it really multitasking. Next to keeping an eye on our control and monitoring screens and systems, we listen to deviations in sounds of machinery we are so used to, we see fluctuations in levels, pressures and temperatures which are obvious or remarkable, we feel (un)expected vibrations and differences in temperatures, we instantly recognise the smell of many kinds of oil and the origin of water by tasting it. To become a marine engineer, you need more than just a fascination for engineering.’


‘On board the Clipper we work with the latest technologies and modern marine equipment. Such as a new propulsion engine with SCR after treatment and a renewed CPP remote control system. As well as new generators and lithium battery packages for hybrid load sharing and a stabilised voltage and frequency on the grid. Sustainability and reliability are an important part of our work on board. It is much improved with the installation of a new sewage treatment plant and chilled water system, that comply with the latest IMO requirements on waste water treatment and energy efficiency. To work with this modern equipment is very unique for seagoing sailing vessels making worldwide voyages.’ 


‘Another part of the job as engineers is our involvement in the whole operation of the ship. In addition to the engine room, we work with deck crew to keep all technical equipment in- and outside the ship in good condition, and now and then we also assist in the hands on part of setting sails. Engineers are also in contact with guests on board. Sometimes for technical questions, but there are a lot of social occasions as well. Not to forget are the beautiful voyages and best places in ports that we as engineers really enjoy too.’


‘As we mentioned before, Jelmer is also looking for new colleagues to share his passion for engineering and sustainability with. On our jobs page at our website we published a job profile for the position of technician. Feel free to share this with your network and help Jelmer to find a second engineer to join him before the Clipper is out to sea again at the end of August!

The person who links us with the next best engineer to join Jelmer and his team, will be invited for an engineering tour on board the Clipper in Amsterdam.

Blog by Evert van Dischoek, director Clipper Stad Amsterdam