Thursday, January 21

“Something crazy” … Story of a rescue mission in the Vendée Globe

Kévin Escoffier’s boat broke in two in the middle of the 40th Roaring. – JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP

“Your life is worth more than our Vendée Globe”. It is with these few words, released with a big smile that the three Vendée Globe skippers (Sébastien Simon, Yannick Estaven and Boris Herrmann) who had diverted themselves on Monday evening, to go and rescue Kévin Escoffier, learned that their colleague was finally safe. They did not finally have to arrive on site since it was indeed Jean Le Cam who found and embarked the Dunkirk sailor aboard his boat, nearly ten hours after the latter had triggered the distress beacon.

After a first unsuccessful attempt to retrieve him from his windswept lifeboat caught in violent hollows of several meters, Jean Le Cam finally managed to find Kévin Escoffier in the open sea, in the middle of the 40th Roaring, this area renowned for its breaking waves and terrible and oh so dangerous weather conditions. The painting is cold in the back.

Escoffier apologizes to Le Cam

“It was at 2:18 am French time (1:18 GMT) that the PRB team was informed of the rescue. The PRB skipper appeared smiling, bundled up in his survival suit alongside Jean Le Cam, ”tweeted the organizer, who first announced the rescue. Indeed, in a video published Tuesday morning by the organizers of the Vendée Globe, we see Kévin Escoffier telling from the boat of Le Cam the night he has just spent. If he appears smiling at first, we can feel all the tension that descends in the sailor’s voice.

The craziest thing about it is that his first words were to apologize to his savior, who he was fighting a good battle for third place. “We worked well with Jean. Like I told him when he arrived “I’m sorry Jean, you’re doing a crazy race and I’m sorry to screw your thing”. He told me “the last time it was the other way around, it was the PRB who got me back”. “

“The boat was folded in half”

“And then, Jean-Jacques [Laurent, le président de PRB], I’m sorry for the boat! I reinforced it as best I could, the sailor continues immediately before shedding a few decompression tears. But frankly I have zero regrets, I put 200 kg of carbon in the boat, I reinforced everything everywhere. Oh no, but you see the films on the shipwrecks, it was the same and worse! In four seconds the boat planted, the frames the bow bent 90 °, I put my head in the cockpit, I just had time to send a text, the wave did everything ” schinter ” [bugger] electronics. It was a crazy thing, folded a boat in half. “

In the process, Jean Le Cam in turn spoke to return, with a little hindsight, that night of fear and adrenaline. “At one point I was standing on the bridge, I see a flash. In fact it was light [du canot de sauvetage] that reflected on the waves. An apparition ! I say to myself “it’s not true what …”. And the more I continued, the more apparitions there were. And there you see more and more light, and you say to yourself “damn, it’s good”. You go from desperation to crazy stuff. I throw the red buoy at him and he manages to get it. In the end we succeeded, I hooked up the transmission bar and it was won ”.

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