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French Sailor Kevin Escoffier has been rescued by his partner and compatriot Jean Le Cam in a race around the world after spending more than 11 hours on a life raft.
Both competed in the Vendée Globe, 39,100 kilometers solo sailing race, when Mr. Escoffier had problems.

The 40-year-old said he was forced to abandon his yacht after a wave “doubled the boat” off the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, on Monday.

French sailor Kevin Escoffier speaks after his rescue. (YouTube / VendeeGlobeTV)
Escoffier said he was forced to abandon his yacht after a wave “doubled the boat” off the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, on Monday. (Getty)

“You see the images of the shipwrecks? It was like that, but worse,” Escoffier said.

“In four seconds the ship plummeted, the bow bent 90 degrees.

“I put my head in the booth, a wave was coming. I had time to text before the wave burned the electronics. It was completely crazy.”

Race organizers responded by diverting 61-year-old Mr. Le Cam in a Rescue missionThe French being the closest competitor to the scene.
Le Cam had made initial eye and voice contact with his compatriot, but it took several attempts to successfully rescue Escoffier in the early hours of Tuesday, amid strong winds and big waves.
Jean Le Cam speaks after rescuing Kevin Escoffier from his yacht. (YouTube / VendeeGlobeTV)

“I thought to myself that I would stand by and wait for dawn. Then I thought that in the dark it would be easier to see its light,” Le Cam said.

“One moment when I was on deck I saw a flash, but it was actually a reflection flashing on a wave.

“But the closer I got to the light, the more and more I saw it. It’s amazing because you go from despair to an unreal moment in an instant.”

Mr. Le Cam himself was rescued in this race in 2009 after spending 16 hours on his capsized yacht.

Escoffier said he was not scared as soon as he saw his rival in the distance.

“As soon as I saw Jean, I was sure they would save me,” he said.

The organizers had stepped up the operation by sending three other competitors to help with the rescue, but all those sent are free to return to the race and the hours lost will be deducted from their final time.

French skipper Kevin Escoffier. (AFP via Getty Images)
Mr. Escoffier sails in his PRB Imoca class 60 monohull after the start of the Vendée Globe solo around the world off the coast of Les Sables-d’Olonne, in western France. (AFP via Getty Images)

“It is the result we expected. It was dark, not in easy conditions, but finally the result is almost a miracle,” said race director Jacques Caraes.

“It was not easy to pick up Kevin (Escoffier) ​​in the middle of the night, Jean (Le Cam) is a very experienced sailor and always followed our instructions to the letter.

“We had many unknowns, many different positions. We had to be positive all the time and believe in things. We were lucky, luck was on our side.”

Nicknamed the “Everest of the seas”, the Vendée Globe set out from Les Sables d’Olonne on 8 November.


www.9news.com.au

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