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Mayhem and Marvels of the Vendee Globe

2020-'21 Vendee Globe winner Yannick Bestaven was awarded 10 hours for his assistance in the rescue of Kevin Escoffier, and once applied at the finish, the Frenchman earned his victory.

2020-’21 Vendee Globe winner Yannick Bestaven was awarded 10 hours for his assistance in the rescue of Kevin Escoffier, and once applied at the finish, the Frenchman earned his victory. (Vincent Curutchet/Alea/)

This text message from PRB skipper Kevin Escoffier to his shore team was made seconds before he was forced into his survival suit, then his life raft, after his IMOCA 60 racer folded in half 840 miles southwest of Cape Town. Not good, and potentially very bad. Escoffier later said he never doubted he would be rescued from his raft, but there was a lot more doubt in the mind of the legend Jean Le Cam. Racing his fifth Vendée Globe, Le Cam was the most experienced racer in the fleet.

As it happened, he was the closest of the four boat that were summoned by Race Control to PRB’s last known position, after calculating for drift. Le Cam sailed 40 miles to the spot, and actually made visual contact with Escoffier’s orange life raft. He managed to tack and pass close to the raft, but it was very rough, and getting dark, and Le Cam did not yet have a clear plan of how to execute the rescue. Over the next 8 hours of darkness, he made a plan in his mind for how to approach the drifting raft. The only problem; nobody knew exactly where the raft was anymore. The AIS signal was weak and intermittent. Again, the calculations for drift from France helped Le Cam eventually find the raft again in the morning…

For the rest of the story from sailingworld.com CLICK HERE!

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