517 days left on the table for the Ocean Globe Race before it kicks off in 2023. Bertrand Delhomme doesn’t count it. but approx. The 58-year-old from Finistere, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, was able to find a place in the crew to get acquainted with the open sea. He wants to show that in the face of this neurodegenerative disease, whose international day falls on April 11, boldness is the best compass.
The power of daring. This is what distinguishes Bertrand Delhomme. Despite (or because of) her seemingly incurable Parkinson’s disease when she was diagnosed last summer. However, the 58-year-old Venetian is preparing to circumnavigate the world.
Not a short ride in the wind, but a real race with crew and stops: the Ocean Globe Race. 27,000 miles, three main heads “Without GPS, the only tools: paper maps and sextants” Determines. In the spirit of the legendary 1973 Whitbread. Old fashioned. In the footsteps of Tabarli, Blythe, Bagot or Blake.
It was with the nerve that went there. He contacts the race organization, collects the names of the French skippers who have entered and emails everyone to express his desire for the open sea. Hi, I am 58 years old and I have Parkinson’s disease. Thus begins his message. Direct style. Like the man who confirms “I don’t have much to lose”.
In the blue of his eyes, the joy of reply signed by Captain Tan Raffray still gleamed. “No problem, go with me.”. Fortunately, Bertrand is well seated when he reads these few words. He, who took his first spike among the rocks of Aber Wrac’h at the age of eight and participated in two small nets, is still like two rounds of pie. And the smile that has not left him since then reveals his state of mind at the time. Happy man!
He’s definitely not a newbie to seafaring but he didn’t offer much of his health. “Above all I’ve had essential tremors since adolescence, he explains, That I suffer from intermittent torticollis, that I have had back and neck surgery and that I have a disabled foot. Suffice it to say that my medical notebook is well supplied”. Not counting that Parkinson’s disease that distracts him and that finally pushes him toward adventure.
Bertrand Delhomme will begin the journey of Neptune. Classified as a boat of heritage significance, this sailboat is part of Whitbread’s history that lined up at its start in 1977. Led by Bernard Degge, he finished the race in eighth place.
Since the 1980s, Neptune has been in the hands of an association in Guadeloupe and participates in regattas in the Antilles. The owners agreed to commission Tan Raffray and his crew for a three-year term.
The 60-foot-tall man left the warm waters of the Caribbean last February and sailed to the port of Bono in Morbihan. The sailboats will be fully configured there for the Ocean Globe Race. But not only. It will also be adapted to Bertrand. “There will be definite safety on the deck, in the cockpit, Refers to Finistere. And I’ll have a private berth too.”
Aside from a simple race, the Morbihan crew also wants it to be “The Voice of Fighting Neurodegenerative Diseases”. Bertrand Delhomme’s presence adds a new dimension to Tan Raffray’s project.
The sea acts as a balm on this body that is not always in control. “When I set sail, my vibrations diminish, Bertrand trusts. calms me down”. The story is beautiful for this grandson of a submarine working with a life force.
When he learned of his illness, he immediately joined the Brest Handivoile Association, assuming that “Parkinson’s, that doesn’t stop me from living”.
Physical activity is a valuable ally against disease
Bertrand knows that he has seven years of relative peace ahead of him. Parkinson’s disease has several stages of development. wants to postpone “as far as possible” This progress. There are, of course, the medications he takes on a daily basis. But there is also a desire for it “To prove that physical activity is a valuable ally. Just like my psychic, he adds, It is very important to maintain a social life and go out. I’m sure about that “.
Not giving up is a truism. North inner compass. He fights the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease day in and day out. When the writing gets too small on paper, he corrects himself. “I pick myself up right away. I write more slowly but each letter will have its normal size at the end”. Microscopic imaging is one manifestation of the disease.
For the Ocean Globe Race, he’ll benefit from a highly supervised setup. On one side is the Neuroscience Center at the University Hospital Rennes, and on the other side is the Kerpape Rehabilitation Center. “What bothers me the most is my leg, Bertrand notes. I can’t stay very still. If I don’t exercise my muscles they melt.”.
On board Neptune, a corner will be created so that he can strictly follow the exercise program that will be given to him. For now, “Before the exercises escalate”He swims with fins and runs sailing trips off Brest.
After 517 days, it will be the big day. The one for whom this fondness for sailing has been waiting for a long time. From that moment on commentary at the 1985 boat show where he met Eric Tabarli. “I see a crowd and in the middle there is a moaning sail, He remembers. I asked him if there was still a place in his crew for the next release of Whitbread. “We are perfect,” he told me. He who tries something has nothing, after all.” Bertrand smiled. on the nerve. his trademark.