Added: Byron Virgen - Date: 26.11.2021 18:15 - Views: 17594 - Clicks: 2837
Frenchman Kevin Escoffier dramatically rescued from life raft by rival hours after abandoning ship in round-the-world race.
I just had time to send a message to my team. On Monday afternoon, miles south west of Cape Town, in strong winds and heavy seas, his 60ft carbon fibre boat PRB slammed into a wave at 27 knots and broke in half. PRB is one of the latest generation Imoca 60s with foils to lift it up so that it is practically flying.
Escoffier abandoned ship and took to his life raft. Then he lost sight of the life raft altogether. With the onset of night, and the increasing severity of the situation, a further three boats were diverted from their courses to assist, while Le Cam continued his search.
In the black of night Le Cam saw a distant flash. I threw it to him, he caught it and then he managed to pull himself in to catch the transmission bar [rudder link arm].
And that was it. That was tricky! You were doing so well. Le Cam was trapped inside his boat for 16 hours during which time it was not known if he was safe or not. In the race, the British sailor Tony Bullimore was rescued by the Australian Navy after spending four days in an air pocket in his upturned boat in the Southern Ocean. There were four British entries this year, though Alex Thomson, one of the favourites, had to abandon the race last week when his boat Hugo Boss suffered a broken rudder and is now heading for Cape Town.
Pip Hare, one of the three surviving Britons [all women], spoke via WhatsApp to the Guardian from a little further back in the fleet. But the reality of doing something like this, one of the risks of any ocean sailing is if something happens you are far away from help.
As soon as I saw Jean I was sure I would be saved. Now the problem for the race coordinators is what to do with Escoffier. At the moment the most viable solution is that he will be transferred to a ship that is currently off the Kerguelen Islands. Then Le Cam, who will be awarded the time he has lost, can get back to the race.
Le Cam is not allowed help from his new passenger, but for a few days at least he will have some company. Kevin Escoffier takes a picture on board his boat PRB last week, before he was forced to abandon ship on Monday. Photograph: Kevin Escoffier.
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