Sailor’s delight at Bermuda diversion
A Dutch sailor embarking on a round-the-world-trip to raise money for cancer research took an unexpected diversion to Bermuda after running into technical difficulties.
Luc Overtoom set sail from Amsterdam Harbour on July 26, 2014, for a two-year sail in memory of his late wife Trudy who died of breast cancer in 2011 and to raise money for the VUmc Cancer Centre Amsterdam — a leading centre for cancer research and treatment.
However, the spreader on his mast broke 500 nautical miles short of New York, just 150 north west of Bermuda. Mr Overtoom told The Royal Gazette: “The mast was broken on the starboard side. The sails were up but it was dangerous to tack so I was forced to go somewhere on the starboard, which is why I ended up here. I am very happy with it!
“It is my first time in Bermuda. When we were 13 miles off shore we contacted the radio and immediately you hear that people are very polite and helpful — they wanted to help me to come ashore.
“When you are on shore it is the same. Yesterday, an old lady stopped me and we had a nice time talking. My crew are always received with open arms I don't know why but people are very gentle. They have gone to the Peppercorn Ceremony today and they have been to Dockyard.
“I met a Dutch guy who works for the America's Cup on the Japanese boat.
“I'm thinking to come back next year for the America's Cup. Now Bermuda feels closer.”
Mr Overtoom was due to celebrate the Dutch king's birthday in New York this week and to meet with the Dutch consul in recognition of his fundraising voyage; he is now planning to fly from Bermuda and return to the island before continuing on with his journey.
“It is still going to happen — the boat will stay here and I will fly to New York and sail on another boat. Dr Bob Pinedo, a leading oncologist who treated my wife, will be on board with me then the consul will receive us.”
Mr Overtoom said he had planned to sail the world with his wife but they could not go ahead with the trip due to her illness.
He said sailing the world in the yacht they had planned to sail in, Cardo, was the way he wished to pay tribute to his late wife while raising money for a cause close to his heart.
“The CCA is very keen on the research of personalised treatment — if you have two ladies with breast cancer, in former days they would have the same treatment more or less but now they are looking very specifically, especially at the blood of each individual, and are adapting the treatment.
“It is a very good development. CCA is very specialised and their research is not covered by the government.
“That is why I have been invited during the celebration of King's Day in the hope we can raise money in New York though the Dutch community there.”
So far, Mr Overtoom has raised 360,000 euros and he hopes to raise up to an extra 100,000 euros by the end of the trip in June.