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Hotseat - Alain ven de L'isle

785_hotseatTwo sailing schools from St. Maarten will be taking part in the 34th Heineken Regatta this year. Sailing with the Kidz at Sea group is Alain Van De L'isle of Milton Peters College. This will be Alain's second regatta as he serves as a mentor to the new members of the team this year. With eyes set on his goals, Alain is ready to take on any challenge along with the rest of his team.

How would you describe yourself?

I am a very ambitious person; I strive for the best and don't let any obstacles stop me. If I can do better; then good is not enough. I am very determined when I set my mind on achieving something. I'm usually quiet, but I'm always willing to lend a helping hand.

Where were you born? Tell me about where you grew up.

I was born and raised in sunshine city St. Maarten. I've lived in St. Peters, Saunders, Cay Hill, Philipsburg and South Reward. Growing up here on the Dutch side, I've played a lot of sports and I've enjoyed just being outdoors.

What's school like?

Right now, I attend Milton Peters College and I take school seriously. So far, school is going pretty good, I'm currently in my senior year and I will be taking my final exams in May. I've had my ups and downs, nevertheless, I'm keeping my head on and I'll be graduating from HAVO this year.

When did you start sailing?

In January 2013, Sint Maarten Sailing School director, Mr. Garth Steyn, put together a Sailing Team, which consisted of Milton Peters College students, to take part in the 33rd Heineken Regatta and I happened to be one of the lucky students who got to sail that year. He offered a chance to do this again for the 34th Heineken Regatta this year.

Are you excited about being in this year's Regatta?

I'm really excited to be in this year's Regatta again. I will be gaining so much more experience and knowledge. It's also fun to be able to be out at sea and I'm also grateful for such a great opportunity. I'm up for the challenge!

How does it feel working with your team this year?

This year's team consists of a few former sailors and a few new students who are sailors in training. The team is divided in two: one part of the team sails on Vanille and the other part sails on Moondance. It's going very well, we all make mistakes especially when under pressure; and this is completely normal; but practice makes perfect and that's why we practice! Working with my team this year feels great. I got to know most of my teammates better and I have also developed a greater friendship with most of them as well. We've all learned to work with each other even when under pressure. We don't just have one job; everyone learns how to work with all the different parts of the boat and that way we are capable of a lot more. For example, we are all learning how to work the main sail, the jib (the front sail) and how to steer the boat. Thanks to our great coaches, we have learned a lot and we are always alert.

What do you love most about sailing (and racing)?

What I love about sailing in general is that while I'm at sea, I feel so relaxed and I forget all about my troubles for a while and I gain more and more experience every time I go sailing. What I like about racing is that you get an adrenaline rush and you get competitive and you have to make sure you're putting in your best; tensions are high and you can say its "serious fun."

So what else do you do for fun?

In my free time, I hang with my friends and relax. I also love fishing; I enjoy playing soccer and paintball.

How do you balance your schoolwork and extracurricular activities?

I plan and usually finish my homework and assignments before they're due. That way, I know that when I'm out having fun, I don't need to worry about school or homework.

What (other/hidden) skills or talents do you have?

I'm good in soccer and at motivating people.

What are your ambitions for the future?

Right now, my ambitions are to graduate from high school, leave to further my studies in the Netherlands and achieve a bachelor's degree in Sport & Physical Education. I also plan on taking care of the reasons I've made it this far – my parents.

Where would you like to live and work in the future?

After completing my studies in the Netherlands, I would like to come back to my hometown to live and work. However, if I can't work here due to different circumstances, I will either stay in the Netherlands or move to Suriname or elsewhere in the Caribbean. Whatever the future brings, I would like to move back to the Caribbean to live and work.

If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) together for dinner, who would they be? What would you serve them to eat?

Mahatma Ghandhi, because he inspired movements for civil rights and freedom across the world; Bob Marley – he's a legend whose songs advocate social change; and Muhammad Ali, because he's an inspiration to me. I'd serve them a Caribbean dish.