Sailing is wonderful. Sailing can also be an opportunity for a new life or a return to a taste of happiness, as in the story we are about to tell you. We had been very impressed by Andrea Carloni ‘s photographs of the Dis-Equality project, a sailing tour of Italy, from Trieste to San Remo, for people who are differently equal. We had been particularly struck by a passage in his Facebook post :“After 10 years since the injury that paralyzed him from the neck down, he was able to return to the sea (had no one thought of this before?) thanks to the project Dis-Equality and to his friend Berti Bruss… This proud Admiral, as soon as he was in the water, and finding that by relaxing and breathing deeply, he could be cradled in his friendly element, began to cry from emotion and happiness. These images depict the essence of the project, the hard work in managing these extraordinary friends, the charge and desire to never stop when those tears of joy run down their faces“.
We contacted Berti Bruss then to let him tell us how the project came about and what Dis-Equality consists of. “It all started earlier, in 2012. I went on a first sailing tour of Italy, to cure my depression, with a traveling companion who was completely blind. From Trieste to San Remo in 76 days. It was a way to “heal” each other, and a book was born from it. I YOUR EYES, YOU MY SOUL, which chronicles this journey that was also introspective for both of us. ” Berti Bruss explains. “In the development of these initiatives the LNI, the Trieste LNI in particular, has played an important role. Indeed, one of the goals of the LNI charter is to promote inclusive sailing, and after this first experience, other initiatives were born, such as Diversamente Barcolana, which allowed us to bring many sailors to participate in one of the most beautiful regattas in the world“. In the wake of these initiatives, Dis-Equality was born in March 2018 as a result of the conference organized for high schools in the province of Trieste on Sports, Bullying and Disability , with plans, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the LNI of Trieste, to make a tour of Italy in 100 days and 100 stops many of them, of course, at LNI bases. A tour of Italy, just completed by the Berti bruss crew, where people young and old with various types of disabilities were involved. The boat chosen is Justmen, a 12-meter, the only recreational sailing monohull accessible to disabled people in wheelchairs in Italy with the possibility of use of the same as physically able-bodied people. The boat was equipped with a special handling system, which allowed the admiral, and the other crew members, as we tell you with Andrea Carloni’s photos, to also swim and thus fully enjoy all the healing properties that the sea offers us.
“We started out with the intention of taking a hopeful ride; now that we have carried it all the way to San Remo, we can say that we also have certainties. The problem we have always had in these activities is that at the end of each course the participants would ask us: what do we do now? The difficulty of activities with people we like to define as differently equal is precisely that of continuity. But now we have a new certainty, right in the center of Trieste, on a 1.2-kilometer-long dam, the LNI will finally have a permanent center for these activities. A national reference point for sailing and all activities related to the sea and AMARETHERAPY, such as swimming, diving, canoeing, rowing, and fishing. We return home therefore with great certainty.”