Then 3rd in the Vendée Globe in the southern seas, Kevin escoffier (PRB) left his boat, victim of a major waterway, for a life raft, and was waiting to be rescued at the end of the day on Monday by Jean Le Cam. According to a press release published by the Vendée Globe teams, Jean Le Cam arrived in the area at 5 p.m. and saw Kevin Escoffier on his liferaft. Visual contact is established and a vocal exchange takes place between the two skippers. But Jean le Cam lost contact with Kevin Escoffier, following the maneuvers and the conditions.
“The race director confused three skippers who were racing in the same peloton: Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer – Yacht de Monaco), Yannick Bestaven (Maître-CoQ), then Sébastien Simon (ARKEA PAPREC) in order to facilitate searches crisscrossing the area“Says the press release. Relief operations have been deployed.
The Cam was itself rescued in 2009, off Cape Horn after his boat overturned. Refugee at the front of the boat upside down, he had been rescued by Vincent Riou.
The mission of the navigators is to secure Escoffier – a priori by getting him on board their sailboat – while waiting for a boat from the rescue services to come and collect him. Competitors who have provided assistance can then resume their round-the-world trip (the hours devoted to rescue will be deducted from their race time).
Conditions are particularly difficult off the Cape of Good Hope where the storm is raging. Race leader, Charlie dalin (Apivia) advance to the gateway to the Indian Ocean, which he will be the first to reach after 22 days at sea. But behind, things are getting worse. “On Monday at 14:46 (13:46 GMT), Kevin Escoffier sent a message to his shore team, explaining that he had water in the boat“, announced the organizers in a statement.
Escoffier, a very experienced 40-year-old sailor, is taking part in the Vendée Globe for the first time, at the helm of a first-generation + steering wheel + boat, which left the shipyards just 11 years ago. With two crewed races around the world with stopovers (Volvo Ocean Race), one of which was victorious in 2018, Escoffier quickly placed in the leading group and took third place in the Vendée Globe for the first time in the night from Sunday to Monday.
This is the first rescue operation since the start of the race on November 8, which has only 2 withdrawals out of the 33 participants: that of Nicolas Troussel (Corum L’Epargne) on November 16 after a dismasting and that of the Briton Alex thomson (Hugo Boss) on November 28 due to damage to a rudder after structural problems.