France’s Kevin Escoffier is “safe and sound” after being rescued by fellow Vendee Globe round-the-world competitor Jean Le Cam off the Cape of Good Hope, Escoffier was in third place when he had to abandon his leaking yacht and float in a raft as he waited for help.
Le Cam, who diverted to help Escoffier, retrieved his compatriot, 40, at around 01:00 GMT on Tuesday having initially seen his raft at 16:15 GMT on Monday. “A huge relief. Kevin is onboard Hubert safe and sound,” Le Cam tweeted, race organisers said both sailors appeared well and that the news was a “huge relief”. They added: “No-one has yet been able to talk with the PRB skipper [Escoffier] who just appeared smiling, bundled up in his survival suit alongside Jean Le Cam.” Frenchmen Yannick Bestaven and Sebastien Simon as well as Germany’s Boris Herrmann had also been dispatched to join in the search, Escoffier was around 840 nautical miles south west of Cape Town in South Africa when he alerted his team that a “significant amount of water” was coming into his PRB yacht.
He had been sailing a new style of ‘foiler’ or ‘flying boat’, which lifts out of the water on a foil in high winds. Le Cam was first on the scene and established voice and visual contact with Escoffier but was unable to recover him in the five-metre waves, losing sight of the life raft as the light worsened. Escoffier endured swells of five metres with water temperatures of 10C before his rescue, all competitors involved in the operation will be able to return to the race after the recovery, with the hours taken during the rescue deducted from their overall time in the race.