The Frenchman Kevin Escoffier actually wanted to sail around the globe in the non-stop regatta. But instead he had to be rescued in a spectacular way – beforehand he desperately sent an SOS signal.
Jean Le Cam stood on the deck of his yacht in the dead of night and desperately searched the roaring sea. His colleague Kevin Escoffier had to be somewhere nearby, who had sent an SOS signal to the Vendee Globe and waited eleven and a half hours between five meter high waves hundreds of nautical miles from Cape Town. On a life raft. Boris Herrmann from Hamburg also looked for it.
“Suddenly I saw lightning,” the 61-year-old Le Cam reported later about the spectacular rescue operation in the dark. A reflection, he immediately drove in that direction. “You switch, desperation becomes an unreal moment,” said the Frenchman, who finally threw a life preserver to his 40-year-old compatriot Escoffier. You can see more in the video above or here. At 2:18 a.m. the race management received the long-awaited message.
“I’m sinking. This is not a joke”
The skipper, who was in distress at sea, was doing well and later reported, emotionally agitated, how his boat had broken in two and his life was in danger. It was surreal. As in a movie, “only worse,” said Escoffier: “Within four seconds the nose of the ship submerged, the bow bent 90 degrees, there was water everywhere and I had to send the message immediately before the electronics gave up the ghost. ” It said, “I need help. I’m sinking. This is no joke.”
The shock moment of the third-placed driver at what was probably the toughest regatta in the world occurred early on Monday afternoon, and the first German participant Herrmann also changed his course to help. After the rescue, he resumed the race non-stop and unaided around the world with a time credit. It is not yet known how exactly Le Cam and Escoffier will continue. He can’t stay on board forever, the food is only designed for one person.
Before that, a broken mast and a broken sail
The incident shows once again what dangers the brave skippers can be exposed to. There have been deaths in the history of the Vendee Globe. In the ninth edition this year, too, the high-tech material is reaching its limits, as a broken mast and a torn mainsail at other competitors showed before Escoffier’s accident.
Le Cam, the savior, has also known for a long time how tight the ocean race can get. On January 6, 2009, during the 2008/2009 Vendee Globe, he was the one who had to be pulled out of the water. His boat had capsized near Cape Horn.