Adventurer with a big heart? That may be true, but is a bit too simple when describing Eric Bellion. Eric is a graduate of the Lyon Management School and the Copenhagen Business School. A tutor in management, specialising in the handicapped and diversity and a communications consultant and charitable donor, he is about to enter the Vendée Globe for the first time with the idea of promoting what diversity has to offer. And these are not mere words…
Keen sailing enthusiasts will have seen his name for ten years or so for several reasons. Firstly, because at the age of 26 with two friends, Eric managed to sail around the world via the three capes on a tiny 8.60 m boat. That was the Kifouine Challenge, Eric Bellion’s first big adventure, which was to be followed by two other great meaningful projects: the Integration Challenge between 2007 and 2010 and Team Jolokia after that.
In the Integration Challenge, Eric skippered a mixed crew of able-bodied and handicapped sailors, who managed in particular to set a new reference time (68 days) between Port Louis in Southern Brittany and Port Louis on the island of Mauritius. For Eric, handicap doesn’t mean disability, as on the contrary “performance can result from such diversity.” That is also the case with Team Jolokia, a racing boat also sailed by a mixed crew, which competes in the leading crewed sailing events.
Eric Bellion has therefore got experience of sailing around the world, ocean racing and difficulties, although he is about to discover solo sailing, which he is learning about thanks to some help from Michel Desjoyeaux’s Mer Agitée team. In the 2016 Vendée Globe aboard the former DCNS, which has been refitted, he doesn’t intend to be up there with the frontrunners, but rather to share in a project bringing people together: “Commeunseulhomme”. In short, the fourteen sponsoring firms are all taking part in a project aimed at promoting diversity. They all have to make five video features about five values: try to be different, trust others, innovate, join together to perform better and team work. A good way of conveying these messages as he sails around the world.