French Vendee Globe yachtsman Kevin Escoffier yesterday was reported “safe and sound” after being rescued from the Atlantic Ocean off the Cape of Good Hope by rival skipper Jean le Cam in his monohull Hubert.
The skipper of PRB on Monday abandoned his ship and had been floating in a life raft.
“A huge relief. Kevin is well onboard Hubert safe and sound,” Le Cam tweeted.
Vendee Globe organizers said that they had received a message from Le Cam informing them of the successful rescue at about 1am GMT.
“No one has yet been able to talk with the PRB skipper, who just appeared smiling, bundled up in his survival suit alongside Jean le Cam,” the organizers said in an online statement.
Both sailors appeared well, the organizers said, adding that the news was a “huge relief for the whole team.”
Escoffier endured swells of 5m with water temperatures of 10°C before his rescue.
In third place, he had triggered his distress beacon on Monday while sailing in the 40th Roaring, an area known for its breaking waves and strong winds.
Four skippers had left on Monday in search of Escoffier, with Le Cam first to reach the approximate zone of his distress beacon, at 5pm local time. The three other competitors invited by the organization to deviate to reinforce the research were Yannick Bestaven (Maitre Coq), Boris Herrmann (Seaexplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco) and Sebastien Simon (Arkea Paprec).
Le Cam and all competitors involved in the rescue operation would be able to return to the race after the recovery, with the hours taken deducted from their overall time in the round-the-world race.
The 40-year-old Escoffier was sailing a new style of “foiler” or “flying boat,” which lift out of the water on a foil in high winds.
The foilers have featured strongly on the list of vessels having serious maintenance issues, with Welsh skipper Alex Thomson already out of the race.
Thomson was one of the favorites at the start and the early dominant leader, but retired after several days carrying out repairs in a desperate bid to keep his boat, the Hugo Boss, on target.
The approximately 24,296 nautical mile (44,996km) solo non-stop round-the-world race began on Nov. 9.
The race is expected to be completed by the middle of next month.
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