In Humans of the OWee we talk to people who have a special role on that day. Today, Jeroen Overman (27, Master Embedded Systems) drives student rowing club Proteus-Eretes’ boat trailer in the Parade. He has to manoeuvre the 22 metre long vehicle between the dining first-years.
“I love to drive big cars. I became a member of Proteus because I wanted to do a lot of commissioners’ work. During my year as Treasurer of the Board, I had more contact with the drivers of the boat trailer and it looked like fun. After my year on the Board, I learned to drive the trailer.
“Officially, you can drive the vehicle if you have a trailer driver licence. You can get a licence for a six metre trailer within a day. Our trailer is 19 metres without boat, and 22 with boat. A regular truck is 16.5 metre. That’s why you need to do our training of two to four months before you are allowed to drive our trailer. For example, you have to look way further forward than with a regular car, because you can’t quickly make corrections. You have to know now what action you want to do in 50 metres.”
“Most of our trips are to Amsterdam and Zevenhuizen, but we do a lot of trips abroad as well, to Seville, Venice, Paris and Basel. As driver, you get a free holiday, because your trip and lodgings are paid for. Once we were in Turin, where people honk more than they use their indicators. At an intersection, we almost hit the same person three times in a row!”
“We do all the repairs ourselves. A trailer manufacturer built our trailer especially for us according to our drawings. We can drive with 43 boats in total. It takes a whole day to puzzle out how to fit them in the trailer, but it is possible.”
“During the Parade, it’s a bit hard to drive, because there are decorations and people on the trailer. Also, the oars can hit the trees. On the other hand, you are driving fairly slowly and other people watch out for you, as they clear the route for you. The hardest part is to drive the trailer backwards because it has a double joint. That works counter-intuitively – when your steering wheel goes to the right, the trailer goes left.”
“When I was Treasurer of the Board, we had a limousine which I could drive as well. I took that car through the MacDrive, that was fun. Something that will never be possible with this long trailer!”
Tomorrow in Humans of the OWee: the panda of the Outsite.