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Vendée Globe: Escoffier in distress, delicate rescue operation in progress

Vendée Globe: Escoffier in distress, delicate rescue operation in progress


Third in the Vendée Globe, Kevin Escoffier triggered his distress beacon after a major damage to his sailboat. The PRB skipper took refuge on his raft of life. Four skippers, including Jean Le Cam, turned to assist him.

This is the first rescue operation on this Vendée Globe. While in third position in the fleet, Kevin Escoffier triggered his distress beacon, victim of a major waterway, this Monday, November 30, on the 22nd day of racing. The 40-year-old skipper of PRB was able to send a message to his shore team at 2:46 p.m., while sailing in the 40th Roaring, an area in the Southern Hemisphere where the winds are particularly strong. The Frenchman said he "had water in the boat," race management said. He left his "flying" boat to get on a life raft. 

Once the warning signal had been given, the emergency services (CROSS Gris Nez / MRCC Cape Town) were set up in conjunction with the PRB shore team, Jacques Caraës and the Vendée Globe race management team. ."Jet if he," "the closest competitor," "confused to reach him.". Fourth in the standings, the skipper of Yes We Cam! arrived in the area around 5 p.m. The rescue operation is complicated, due to very rough seas with troughs of 5 meters and water at around 10 degrees. In addition, according to Le Télégramme , Le Cam encountered an engine problem while trying to rescue him. 

Lost eye contact with Le Cam

If he finally managed to sort it out, "King" John lost visual and vocal contact with the raft. At 7.20 pm , the management of the "VG" announced that two other competitors, Boris Hermann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) and Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq IV), had also turned away to come as reinforcements to Le Cam and carry assistance to Escoffier. Arrived in the area, according to the 22h score, they are currently crisscrossing the perimeter in search of the PRB skipper, in distress in the South Seas. Also requested by the organizers, Sébastien Simon (Arkéa-Paprec) is expected around 12:30 am.

The mission of the four sailors is to secure Kevin 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 brought assistance to their comrade will then be able to resume their solo round the world tour. The hours devoted to the rescue will be deducted from their running time.

Already severe damage at the start of the Vendée

As the rescue continues, the origin of Escoffier's major damage remains unknown. But the PRB skipper has already encountered technical problems in this Vendée. On November 11, just three days after leaving Sables-d'Olonne, he reported a first major water leak, according to him due to a water evacuation valve which gave way in a trap, the foil well, allowing hundreds of liters of water to infiltrate aboard his Imoca (see the video below) . The engineer by training had managed to evacuate them, not without difficulty, using a pump and long hours of repairs.

In its history, the Vendée Globe has seen many rescue operations. In 1989, during the first edition, the images of the rescue of Philippe Poupon , whose boat was found on the edge after having taken a wave, by Loïck Peyron had been around the world. In 1996, Raphaël Dinelli, starving, thirsty and in a critical state of hypothermia, was saved by Pete Goos, in the Indian Ocean, two days after Christmas. The sailor had drifted on a raft after seeing his sailboat sink.

Sent to the area this Monday evening to help Kevin Escoffier, Jean Le Cam was himself rescued in 2009, off Cape Horn after capsizing following the loss of his keel bulb. Vincent Riou, with whom he was on the phone at the time of the incident, rushed to his aid, with Armel Le Cléac'h in his wake. Refuge in the bow, at the front of the boat upside down, he had been assisted in extremis

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