Jean Braure: No Mountain Too High, No Ocean Too WideJuly 2014
By Jon Finkel
The title of Jean Braure’s autobiography is The Sailor Who Climbs Mountains. It’s a simple, effective title, but Braure’s modesty doesn’t allow him to elaborate on the cover of his book. Only when you flip through the pages do you realize that he’s not just a sailor; rather, he’s a three-time Olympic sailor, having competed in the Soling class in 1984, and the Tornado class in the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics. And he’s not just a mountain climber either. He has reached the summit of some of the most impressive peaks in the world, including Mont Blanc in France, the Matterhorn in Switzerland, Kala Patar in Nepal, and Mount Rainier in the United States. Now, at 78 years old, he’s still climbing, with plans to scale the Monte Rosa in Switzerland, which is one of the highest peaks in the country.
A World Traveler
Braure was born in Paris, France, to a French father and a Swiss mother. He served in the French Navy on a training ship for Midshipmen that sailed around the world in one year. When the Algerian War was over, he got his United States citizenship and worked in Miami Beach until he was offered a job in the US Virgin Islands in 1964, where he has lived ever since. Though he had sailing in his blood from his days in the Navy, it took him some time to realize that he wanted to get back on the water.
“Soon after moving to the Virgin Islands, I discovered that I wanted to come back to the sea,” Braure says. “I got my Captain’s license and then started a sailing school as well as a sailing charter boat business, which I still have.”
What Braure also soon discovered was that he had an incredible knack for winning sailing competitions.
“I was very good in competitive sailing,” he says. “I was in excellent physical shape and had the will to run an Olympic Campaign, which meant I had to travel so I could train with the best in the world and also learn from past champions. I also had to cover the expenses of the endeavor.”
He says that his greatest sailing accomplishment was qualifying for the Olympics, although he did win two Rolex Cups in 1981 and 1982. In order to qualify for the Olympics, he had to place in the top 50 sailors in the United States and win the trials in the Virgin Islands, which he did for the first time at 49 years old. It was at this juncture in his life that he discovered Life Extension®.
“I got introduced to Life Extension at the time of my training for the Olympics in 1984,” Braure says. “I became a member and realized that the supplements helped me perform better when I was at high altitude climbing or during the endurance of a race. I like omega-3s, Acetyl-L-Carnitine for endurance, and CoQ10 as an antioxidant.1,2 These days I take Life Extension glucosamine and chondroitin, and I have very little pain after exercising.”
In general, Braure says he takes supplements to improve his performance, though whether that performance is on the open ocean or the face of a mountain depends on the time of year. During hurricane season, you might find him in Nepal, where he once hiked for two weeks to reach the Mount Everest base camp.
“I don’t like to call rock climbing or steep glacier climbing a sort of hiking because it is more demanding in a shorter time and more dangerous,” he explains.
And Braure knows a thing or two about demanding climbs. While trying to reach the peak of the famous Mount Kilimanjaro, he had to stop 311 feet short of the summit due to his heart beating irregularly.
“I didn’t like the rhythm of my heart at the time,” he said. “In mountaineering, the summit is not important. The voyage to the summit is what counts, with the beauty of nature, the white ice, the brown rocks, the colors of the clouds, the green of the valleys down below... Even the friendship of a roped team. My decision to abandon the climb so close to the summit was mentally difficult because my mind wanted to continue, but my body was not responding the way I wanted it to. The rule is to always monitor your body. Plus, at that altitude, 6,000 meters (19,600 feet) your mind plays tricks on you because of the lack of oxygen. You refuse to see the dangers, like how exhausted you really are or a dangerous pitch.”
When Braure is not climbing a mountain or running a boat, he stays in shape by weight lifting with his arms once a week, by doing leg endurance work with weights once a week, and by stretching almost every single day.
“I also play tennis in the evening two or three times a week and I listen to my body,” he says, “Sometimes I’ll do weight lifting two times a week or more.”
He does all of this to maintain as much activity as he can.
“My longevity goals are to function properly as long as possible without much muscular pain or fatal illness,” he says. “I do everything possible to stave off deterioration. I have a good diet, I take supplements from Life Extension, and I exercise.”
Braure even admits to being difficult in restaurants these days, as he only drinks red wines in moderation with less than 13% alcohol content. Also, as he’s read in Life Extension, he pays attention to how his food is cooked.
“Cooking fast at high temperatures damages our cells and results in glycation and inflammation,” he says. “I remember my youth when cooking and the preparation of food was slow and served with a lot of veggies. Today I try to eat that way and I avoid most meat, especially red meat.”
While his efforts to stay young have clearly paid off, even a man with talents as great as Braure still has to know his limits.
“I stopped doing solo glacier traversing when my friend died in a crevasse,” he says. “And I stopped doing extreme climbs at age 76.”
But when he does choose to climb and compete in sports, the number of years he’s been on earth stays out of his mind.
If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-866-864-3027.
- Stephens FB , Constantin-Teodosiu D , Greenhaff PL. New insights concerning the role of carnitine in the regulation of fuel metabolism in skeletal muscle.J Physiol. 2007 Jun 1;581(Pt 2):431-44.
- Gül I , Gökbel H,Belviranli M,Okudan N,Büyükbas S, Basarali K. Oxidative stress and antioxidant defense in plasma after repeated bouts of supramaximal exercise: the effect of coenzyme Q10. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2011 Jun;51(2):305-12.