Nicholas Heiner is a professional Dutch sailor whose main sailing highlight is winning the Laser World Championship in Santander, Spain, in 2014.

Nicholas Heiner's passion for sailing came from his father, who is also a sailor. By the age of six, Nicholas used to sail in a canal in front of his house with his Optimist.

The Dutch sailor won the Laser World Championship in Santander, Spain, in 2014, and represented the Netherlands in the 2020 Olympics. Some of his childhood dreams are still to be fulfilled, like winning The Ocean Race.




Date of birth

20 April 1989


Dutch, English and little German.

Sailing career highlights

Winning the Laser World Championship in Santander 2014.


What was your first sailing memory?

There are a few but no idea in which order they were. I just remember always wanting to go out on the coach boat or on the back of the boat that my dad was racing and/or training on. Just looking, observing what the professional sailors were doing back then. And when I turned six I got an old optimist, a spider. After school I used to throw it into the canal in front of our house just countless reaching laps in this canal that wasn’t more than 50meters wide. And of course the boat my dad was on had spinnakers so I made on for my opti...

Who inspires you?

My former olympic team mates and staff! They all pushed so hard in their own ways and programs. And as a team we had some great successes along the way!

What is your favourite quote?

Success is not a coincidence.

What was your childhood sailing dream?

Olympic Gold and winning The Ocean Race.

What items do you always take with you when you go sailing?

My green stone.

What is your favourite food?

In Portugal Pastel de Nata!!

What hobbies do you have when not sailing?

I love being outside doing sports. Mainly riding my bike, surfing, kitesurfing and recently winging.

Give us an example of a sustainable attitude to life - what do you do for a better world?

Do the basics right and build on from there. No single use plastic, pick up rubbish if you see it, also when out sailing, buy sustainable clothing where possible. If you have the option choose for the sustainable option.

What advice would you give to young sailors to protect the planet?

Go outside and enjoy nature as your playground! It doesn’t matter if it’s the sea, mountains or flatlands, I do believe if you enjoy being outside in nature you will see what we need to protect and why.