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"He's on board with Jean!" Vendee Globe Solo Sailor Escoffier Rescued By Fellow Competitor

1st December 2020
A screen shot of video from onboard Jean Le Cam's yacht showing the two sailors safe after the rescue mission A screen shot of video from onboard Jean Le Cam's yacht showing the two sailors safe after the rescue mission Photo: PRB via Facebook

A successful rescue operation has been carried out between some of the leading boats in the Vendee Globe race with the retrieval of skipper Kevin Escoffier (PRB) from his liferaft by Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!).

At 0118hrs UTC the PRB Team was informed that Escoffier has been rescued by fellow competitor Le Cam.

As Afloat reported previously, 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

Published in Vendee Globe
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The 2020/2021 Vendée Globe Race

A record-sized fleet of 33 skippers will start the ninth edition of the Vendée Globe: the 24,296 nautical miles solo non-stop round-the-world race from Les Sables d’Olonne in France, on Sunday, November 8 at 1302hrs French time/1202hrs TU and will be expected back in mid-January 2021.

Vendée Globe Race FAQs

Six women (Alexia Barrier, Clarisse Cremer, Isabelle Joschke, Sam Davies, Miranda Merron, Pip Hare).

Nine nations (France, Germany, Japan, Finland, Spain, Switzerland, Australia, and Great Britain)

After much speculation following Galway man Enda O’Coineen’s 2016 race debut for Ireland, there were as many as four campaigns proposed at one point, but unfortunately, none have reached the start line.

The Vendée Globe is a sailing race round the world, solo, non-stop and without assistance. It takes place every four years and it is regarded as the Everest of sailing. The event followed in the wake of the Golden Globe which had initiated the first circumnavigation of this type via the three capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin and Horn) in 1968.

The record to beat is Armel Le Cléac’h 74 days 3h 35 minutes 46s set in 2017. Some pundits are saying the boats could beat a sub-60 day time.

The number of theoretical miles to cover is 24,296 miles (45,000 km).

The IMOCA 60 ("Open 60"), is a development class monohull sailing yacht run by the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA). The class pinnacle events are single or two-person ocean races, such as the Route du Rhum and the Vendée Globe.

Zero past winners are competing but two podiums 2017: Alex Thomson second, Jérémie Beyou third. It is also the fifth participation for Jean Le Cam and Alex Thomson, fourth for Arnaud Boissières and Jérémie Beyou.

The youngest on this ninth edition of the race is Alan Roura, 27 years old.

The oldest on this ninth edition is Jean Le Cam, 61 years old.

Over half the fleet are debutantes, totalling 18 first-timers.

The start procedure begins 8 minutes before the gun fires with the warning signal. At 4 minutes before, for the preparatory signal, the skipper must be alone on board, follow the countdown and take the line at the start signal at 13:02hrs local time. If an IMOCA crosses the line too early, it incurs a penalty of 5 hours which they will have to complete on the course before the latitude 38 ° 40 N (just north of Lisbon latitude). For safety reasons, there is no opportunity to turn back and recross the line. A competitor who has not crossed the starting line 60 minutes after the signal will be considered as not starting. They will have to wait until a time indicated by the race committee to start again. No departure will be given after November 18, 2020, at 1:02 p.m when the line closes.

The first boat could be home in sixty days. Expect the leaders from January 7th 2021 but to beat the 2017 race record they need to finish by January 19 2021.

Today, building a brand new IMOCA generally costs between 4.2 and €4.7million, without the sails but second-hand boats that are in short supply can be got for around €1m.

©Afloat 2020

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