"In four seconds, the boat planted, the bow folded up to 90 degrees": Kevin Escoffier (PRB) had the worst Monday in the southern seas before being picked up overnight by another competitor of the Vendée Globe during an epic rescue.
"See the movies about the shipwrecks? It was the same and worse! In four seconds, the boat crashed, the bow folded 90 degrees, I put my head in the cockpit, there is a wave , I had time to send a text message, the wave afterwards shunted everything (short-circuit, Editor's note), the electronics. It's a crazy thing! Bend a boat in half! done but this one ... ", said Escoffier during a video link with the PC Course in the early hours of Tuesday, alongside Jean Le Cam.
The 40-year-old sailor appeared smiling and very moved at the mention of the facts.
Escoffier, who is taking part in his first solo round-the-world trip, had sent a warning message on Monday at 2:46 p.m. French time (13:46 GMT) signifying a major waterway before triggering his distress beacon and boarding his raft of survival, on the border of the Indian Ocean.
The race management then asked Jean Le Cam, fourth in the standings and closest competitor, to divert himself to help Escoffier, who was sailing in third position.
"I arrive in the area, I see Kevin on his boat, I say to myself: impeccable. I tell him: I am coming back, we are not going to do anything. With the sea that there was, not easy to maneuver. I come back to where I had left it ... Nobody! Oh dear! ", Detailed Le Cam.
"I came back at least five, six times. It makes tackings each time with the vagaries of the right and the left, with the sea. I say to myself: you stay on stand-by and we will wait for the day. I said to myself: the light (from the boat in distress, editor's note), it is perhaps better seen at night than during the day, "he continued.
"At one point, I was standing on the bridge and I see a flash, well it was not a flash, it is the light which appears in a wave. An apparition! I say to myself: it is not true! I continued and there you see the light more and more and you say to yourself: it's good. You go from despair to crazy stuff! ", He noted again.
The Cam then tells that he "swung the banana species", which Escoffier manages to catch.
"And there it was won. Happiness!", Launched Le Cam.
The rescue took place around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Three other skippers had also been diverted to strengthen the search after Le Cam lost sight of Escoffier: Yannick Bestaven (Maître Coq), Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) and Sébastien Simon (Arkéa Paprec).
© 2020 AFP