National sports administration
After several years in other activities such as Sea Scouts and Jiu-Jitsu, Jurgen makes the transition to the sport of sailing at the invitation of a friend in 1996. Like many beginners, he follows a number of sailing courses, both at his sailing club in Antwerp, Belgium and at the facilities of BLOSO (currently Sport Vlaanderen) in Nieuwpoort, Belgium.
Together with a couple of friends, he subsequently explores the BeNeLux dinghy sailing race circuit (mainly in singlehanded classes like Splash, Laser Radial and Laser, occasionally also in doublehanded classes). When he completes high school/secondary school and decides to study in Leuven, Belgium, his racing activity decreases somewhat.
It is then that he decides to get his trainer licenses. In 2001 he obtains his “Dinghy Sailing Instructor” (Initiator) license and in 2006 his “Advanced Dinghy Sailing Instructor” (Instructeur B) license , both from BLOSO. He also completes the general and specific parts of the “Dinghy Sailing Coach” (Trainer B) programme, but never does an internship to actually obtain the related license.
In addition to his activities as a sailing instructor (for youth and adults), Jurgen does some local level race coaching for clubs in Antwerp and Ostend, until he becomes from 2006 onwards more and more involved in the race officials’ side of the sport.
Jurgen’s involvement as race official actually starts much earlier, namely in 1997-1998 when he participates in the national Race Officer’s training and exam to do some volunteering work in his former club. He succeeds but due to his young age he doesn’t get too many opportunities in the local race management team. It will take until 2006 before he really gets busy.
Reason therefore being the decision of the Dinghy Optimist Class Belgium (DOCB) to nominate him as Belgian Official Measurer for the Optimist Class. In 2008 Jurgen will add the certification measurement for the International 420 Class to his list of responsibilities, but due to the rise of In-House-Certification and the demise of the National Class Association those 420 activities have in the meantime ceased.
At the request of the Flemish Yachting Federation (VYF, currently WWSV), Jurgen takes office in 2010 as one of Belgium’s Official Measurers for IRC. Although it is mainly a back-up role, it gives him the possibility of exploring the world of big boat measurements. In the period 2012-2013 he chaired the national sailing federation’s Race Officials and Rules Committee, but due to his international ambitions he handed over this role to one of his fellow committee members.
At this moment, Jurgen is still an Official Measurer for the Optimist Class. When he's not abroad for an event or a meeting, he attends the measurement sessions at the start of the season but during the sailing season he takes up an advisory role and a second measurer performs the day-to-day technical business of the class, giving Jurgen some time off for his international activities.
As Jurgen is committed to giving something back to the grassroots level (and not just focusing on the international and top-level sides of the sport), he yearly assists his current club in the organisation of a number of local races (for Optimist and other dinghy classes).
The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing in life is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.Baron Pierre de Coubertin "The Olympic Idea. Discourses and Essays."
International sports administration
Following his initiation into “event measurement” during the 2006 ABN AMRO Optimist European Championship, he first becomes recognised Equipment Inspector for the Royal Netherlands Yachting Union in 2009 (enabling him to act as Chief Equipment Inspector for the Optimist Class during the annual Dutch Youth Regatta) and subsequently in 2010 - upon successful completion of the International Measurer exam – he becomes ISAF (currently World Sailing) International Measurer for 3 Classes, namely the International Optimist Class, International 420 Class and International 470 Class.
As an International Measurer, one of the functions Jurgen is performing is ‘event measurement’ or ‘equipment inspection’. A list of the events he attended can be found in the "references" section of this website. Another function he performs is prototype measurement.
Do you want more information about the prototype measurement process or the pathway to become International Measurer? Get in touch, Jurgen is more than happy to explain it to you…
In addition to his duties as an International Measurer, Jurgen supports the Classes he is involved in through committee work. A list of the offices held can be found in the "about" section of this website.
Jurgen firstly becomes formally involved in an ISAF event in 2011 when he filled in the ITO spot for the International 470 Class during the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, due to an unavailability of the Class's senior IMs.
Further to his participation to the 2012 ISAF Classes Committee meeting as representative on behalf of the International 420 Class Association, he is requested to act as Representative to the ISAF Equipment Control Sub-Committee on behalf of the ISAF Classes Committee for the period 2013-2016. His role in that Equipment Control Sub-Committee also leads to involvement in the Equipment Rules Working Party, the ERS Q&A Panel and the Standard Class Rules Working Party. Additionally he is asked to take office as member of the ISAF International Measurer Sub-Committee for the same period.
His roles as sub-committee member and International Measurer result in an appointment as Equipment Inspection Chairman for the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships and later on as 470 ITO and Equipment Inspection Vice-Chairman for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. After the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the cooperation between Jurgen and the International 470 Class ends.
As part of World Sailing’s strategy for the period 2017-2020, Jurgen becomes Chairman of the Equipment Rules Sub-Committee (including ERS Working Party and Q & A Panel) and Chairman of the International Measurers Sub-Committee. Consequently he becomes representative member of the Equipment Committee and Race Officials Committee. In terms of World Sailing events, Jurgen has been appointed Chief Equipment Inspector to the Aarhus 2018 Sailing World Championships and Equipment Inspection Vice-Chairman for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition.
In the autumn of 2020, Jurgen is asked by the International Cadet Class Chief Measurer to take over from him. That succession is confirmed during the Class’s Executive Committee meeting and Annual General Assembly later that year.
By the turn-of-the-year, World Sailing's Board and Council decide on the Committees and Commissions for 2021-2024. Keeping his focus on the technical branch of organisation and looking for a good balance with obligations of a more private or work-related nature, Jurgen and the Board come to the agreement of being promoted to the leadership of the Equipment Committee and taking a step back in the International Measurers Sub-Committee. This appointment strategy has later on been approved by the Council.
Building further on the principle that good cohesion within the technical branch of the International Federation (i.e. both committees and the related Executive Office departments) provides the best possible service to the stakeholders, the current quadrennium is characterised by a large number of cross-representations between the International Measurers Sub-Committee on one hand and the Equipment Committee / Equipment Rules Sub-Committee on the other hand.
In the 2021-2024 cycle, Jurgen will act as Chair of the Technical Committee for the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition.
More information about the World Sailing committees and sub-committees can be found on the World Sailing website.