Lennart the Sailing Racer

February 6, 2015 - single portrait

The wind was so cold this morning I couldn’t hold my camera properly, risking to drop it on the rocks of a wavebreaker. When I walked to the nearby harbor, the Ijsselmeer lake looked very angry, the coast was deserted, the beach café closed till Spring, and I thought my chances to meet someone were narrowed down to the dune rabbits.

But hey, just when I was about to give up to the razor-sharp wind and turn back, I spotted two young guys fixing one of the yachts. “Team Heiner” the name was,  so I came closer to find out.  I have to give it to the boys:  they never stopped doing whatever they were doing, and we had a short conversation while they were fixing something beyond my technical abilities.  During that little chat I took a few distant shots of two really shy young men. Mostly, listening to them, I felt how proud they were.

They were proud like men are proud, of what they do. Guus and Lennart were proud of  their connection to one of the top sailing companies in the Netherlands.  (That I found out when came home and googled it) Still fiddling with their screwdrivers, the young men told me about their yachts, and the races, and about The Sailing Academy, and training, three weekends in a month, and the Games, too. Wow. I mean… I’ve been walking past those yachts for seven years, and it took  two strangers to make it all personal to me.  I felt that kind of excitement and joy I feel every time when I am around passionate people doing what they love to do.  I am very grateful for such moments, because then my own passion starts making more sense.

I am also grateful to Lennart, who agreed to come closer so I could take the shot for 100 Strangers.  I told him I would send the picture to my daughter. No, just kiddin.

Thank you, Lennart.

› tags: 100strangers / blackandwhite / digital / Netherlands / Nikon D3200 / photography / portrait /


  1. Hello here Olga ! happy to see your post on 100strangers and thank you for the story.
    from my small talks with a people here and there i always find myself surprised in how many different hobbies people manage to be busy.

  2. Thank you Victor! I am totally happy to join this blog. I mean, this is both challenging and joyful, to make the portraits and to write about these strangers. I always wanted to do this, so – Trillian, Ijon, thank you very much for letting me be a part of such a great company. And yes, Vic, me too – amazing what one can discover just outside own door, in a first person one meets. For these Dutch guys water is everything, it’s like their life style… life itself, even: you breathe, you sail.. 🙂

  3. Lena Konstantinova says:

    Hey, Olga, so happy to see you here and ti reed the story which totally complements to the cool portrait of this open-faced boy with nice smile. Altogether it gives a feel of being present with you at the shore !

  4. Lena, thank you very much!! As said – I am thrilled to be in such a good company. As for the photo, I am glad it turned up all right, the day was so bright I thought the light would kill the shot. With my own camera I’d be braver to jump on the boat to the guys, but I had a borrowed one with me, so didn’t risk… Next time – with waves and water splashes :))

  5. Robbie says:

    Great story and picture Olga. I think that story is a great example of getting out of your comfort zone and creating a memory. This is something I need to work on 🙂

    • Robbie, thank you very much! You’re so right about “getting out of your comfort zone”, because for me taking pictures of strangers and talking to them is a challenge by itself. Well, without a camera there was never a problem, and the most unforgettable encounters I had during my travels, trains, airports, night stations where I was told most sincere, honest life stories. But a camera… like a third person. It adds an element to deal with, certainly. But the reward is – a photographic memory. That’s special.

  6. IjonTichy says:

    Hi Olga, thanks for the great combination of story and portrait. I think one without the other wouldn’t work for a greater audience … it still does for you since you were there in the moment you’re taking a picture. Yet, here you share the moment perfectly.

    • Thank you, Ijon! Indeed, just a face from a crowd, and like you said, “the greater audience” wouldn’t even pay attention and pass by. This blog makes it special – like in a magic glass, one face is isolated, moved closer, closer, so you can see the details, so just a face becomes a person, and the story gets told. That’s why I embrace the idea. Thanks for letting me in.

  7. Dawn Copley says:

    Olga – I am so HAPPY to have found you here ! I wondered where you ran off too! What a wonderful story and a handsome young stranger for the catch of the day !!! I miss your garden shots and stories from Russia . I hope those puppies are being good for you too ! You should introduce the puppy with a stranger and tell their stories !!! Your photo in itself is lovely to see . Thank you so much for sharing . Trillian and Ijon thank you again for this wonderful site. I am meeting new people and catching up with old friends too !!! You both must be so proud of this endeavor! I am smiling ! Dawn

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