Vendee Globe: Kevin Escoffier had ‘no doubts’ he would survive despite 11 hours adrift at sea | World News


The French yachtsman rescued after more than 11 hours adrift in stormy seas has said he had “no doubts” he would survive the ordeal.

Kevin Escoffier was taking part in a round-the-world race when his boat split in two around 840 nautical miles southwest of Cape Town.

He was plucked from a life raft by compatriot and fellow Vendée Globe competitor Jean Le Cam after more than 11 hours adrift at sea.

Image:
Mr Escoffier at the start of the Vendee Globe on 7 November

“It all happened so fast, I had literally a minute or two to activate the distress beacon, get into a survival suit and jump into the raft,” he told Sky News after his dramatic rescue.

“It was just amazing. The wave was about 5.5m (18ft) high and very fast, and at the end of the wave I went [sailed] into the water maybe too deep.

“The water was pouring in so fast. It was overwhelming, it was halfway up the door frame.

“The first thing was to get into the survival suit because in that kind of weather, I would have been finished without it.”

With the alarm raised via the distress beacon, Mr Escoffier knew that every yacht in the vicinity would be instructed to search for him.

Skipper Jean Le Cam of France looks on just before leaving Les Sables d'Olonne, on France's Atlantic coast, to start in the Vendee Globe sailing race
Image:
Jean Le Cam rescued Mr Escoffier after more than 11 hours adrift

“I felt calm, I wasn’t worried. I knew that there was a supply of emergency food in the raft.

“I knew I could last three or four days. Then the wind died down a bit. You’re going through a lot of emotions, but I wasn’t scared.”

His rescuer, Jean Le Cam, made up to half a dozen circles of the remote area before finally seeing his light and getting him onto his vessel and to safety.

Mr Escoffier’s boat was destroyed on day 22 of the Vendée Globe – a solo, non-stop yacht race that takes place every four years.

It begins and ends at Les Sables d’Olonnes on France’s Atlantic coast after an epic journey of 21,638 miles and competitors are not allowed to touch land.

His yacht was a new type of “flying boat” that lifts out of the water on foil in high winds, something that Mr Escoffier says now maybe needs to be “looked at”.

“I wasn’t pushing hard like I had been in other races,” added Mr Escoffier. “I just wanted to get the boat back to Les Sables. But I have no regrets.”



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