Escoffier had to abandon his IMOCA 60 PRB following damage yesterday afternoon around 1346hrs UTC and took to his liferaft some 840 nautical miles SW of Cape Town.
The rescue mission was coordinated from Les Sables d’Olonne by Vendée Globe Race Direction in collaboration with CROSS Griz Nez and MRCC South Africa. The President of PRB, Jean-Jacques Laurent was at the Race HQ with race director Jacques Caraës and the race direction team assisting through the entire process.
“He's on board with Jean!” These short words came as a huge relief for the whole team, for Escoffier’s family and all those involved in and following the Vendée Globe.
Kevin has so far only been seen aboard YesWeCam via live video as Jean Le Cam had his video system connected during all the search operations. No one has yet been able to talk with the PRB skipper who just appeared smiling, bundled up in his survival suit alongside Jean Le Cam.
Vendée Globe race director Jacques Caraës outlined, “We sent Jean back to a position received by the CROSS Gris Nez, the position sent by the onboard EPIRB distress beacon. Météo France's drift simulation also delivered a trace. Jean set off at 00h15 UT (1h15 French time) on our request to reach this point at reduced speed. He found no one at the given location. He then resumed its journey southeast for three quarters for between 45 minutes and an hour – an hour. As he was making headway at 1.5 knots in a 20-25 knot wind under very reduced sail (3 reefs in the mainsail and no engine), he disappeared from the screen when suddenly we heard him talk. We no longer saw anyone. Then, a few minutes after 1:06 UT or 2:06 French time (time at which he had precisely to retrieve Kevin on board), Jean went back down to the chart table and then we saw Kevin arrive behind his back in a survival suit. They both appeared fit seconds before the video cut. He is fine. Everyone is well. They are recovering!”
On January 6, 2009, during the 2008-2009 Vendée Globe, Vincent Riou, the then the skipper of PRB, rescued Jean Le Cam from his upturned IMOCA 60 which capsized at Cape Horn.
This time 61-year-old five times Vendée Globe racer Le Cam has reversed the roles, delivering Escoffier, the 40 year old skipper from Saint Malo, from a potentially lethal situation.
The whole TEAM PRB and the Vendée Globe community sincerely thanks Jean Le Cam and the three other skippers, Boris Hermann, Yannick Bestaven and Sébastien Simon who have worked heroically and tirelessly to find Kevin, as well as the race director, the CROSS Gris Nez. and the MRCC Cape Town which coordinated the search
More information to come.