Vendée Globe: “You’re having a great race, you’re going to wear them out!” Kévin Escoffier encourages his savior Jean Le Cam from Reunion Island

Ten days after the sinking of his boat while sailing in third place in the Vendée Globe in the southern seas towards the Cape of Good Hope, Kevin Escoffier set foot ashore in Reunion on Thursday, December 10. At around 12:30 pm Paris time, the skipper of PRB descended the gangway of the Nivôze, a French Navy frigate which had recovered him after six days spent on the IMOCA “Yes we Cam!” of his savior and Vendée Globe competitor, Jean Le Cam. On this occasion, franceinfo was able to reach the two sailors who each heard from the other.

“Hi Jean!”, exclaims Kevin Escoffier first before getting enthusiastic: “Frankly, it’s nice, you’re still having a great race! I think of you very much because I know the rhythm of the boats and I know that fatigue is not going to improve.” Jean Le Cam actually came out tested by two days of strong winds and aggressive seas but “it’s okay, it’s calmed down a bit”, he replies. “The sea is much more malleable than it was the previous days. It was really not possible but now we are getting better.”

It has now been four days since Jean Le Cam resumed his course alone. With the rescue operation of Kevin Escoffier, the 61-year-old Finistérien went from fourth to seventh position in the race standings. This Thursday evening he is in sixth position, just 32 miles from fourth Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) and 335 miles from race leader Charlie Dalin (APIVIA). “He knows how to do things, and he does them well! “, encourages Kevin Escoffier. “He just needs to take care of himself and in front of them, they’re going to crack. He’s going to have them to wear out!” Jean Le Cam promises to “do what there is to do” and of “not to get carried away”. “The road is still super long”, reminds him of his friend.

After having handed Kevin Escoffier to the French Navy, Jean Le Cam admits not having really followed the rest of his journey to Reunion, but he misses his former roommate a bit. “It’s true that at the start, it’s a solo journey. And then we ended up double-handed, we start to get used to it. You take Kevin out of the water and then in the end you put him back on. in the water. (Laughs) It’s true that it feels a bit weird but hey, you get used to it. ” For Kevin Escoffier, these moments were “great”. “We were able to discuss, tell each other stories. It really made my head feel good. “

Especially since 2009, Jean Le Cam was himself the victim of a shipwreck. He had also been saved by another skipper of the PRB team, Vincent Riou. Kevin Escoffier therefore benefited from “his feedback full of experience”.

He was able to tell me not to worry too much and that there will be things behind.

Kevin Escoffier speaking about Jean Le Cam

to franceinfo

The two skippers made “good food”, tells Kevin Escoffier who, before joining the French Navy frigate, managed to deliver 1.5 kg of butter to Jean Le Cam. “He will be able to put some in the pan” for Christmas, he laughs. A New Year’s Eve that Jean Le Cam will spend in South Australia with on the menu “sweetbreads and forest mushroom puree”. Kevin Escoffier thanks his savior again. “It made me happy spending time on the water with him because he’s a great sailor!” These moments allowed him to “relativize” her “disappointment” and what he now considers a “small failure”. “I did not come to lose a boat and abandon a race but to race and return to Les Sables d’Olonnes”, says Kevin Escoffier.

Now that he has found solid ground, Kevin Escoffier has “can’t wait to find (his) family for whom this episode may have been more tiring than for (him)”. He tells Franceinfo that his wife had “hard times while (he was on his) liferaft and Jean was looking for”. The sailor from Saint-Malo does not feel otherwise “no real relief”. He always has “want to understand “ how his boat could have broken on a wave, in what sailors call the Roaring Forties, due to the strong winds blowing there.

Kevin Escoffier obviously remains marked by his accident even if “the time (he has) spent with Jean, in addition to having been pleasant, (him) allowed to make a kind of decompression airlock “. The few days spent then on the Nivôze of the French Navy also allowed him to “discover another seafaring profession”. “I do not want to stay on this feeling of sporting failure,” he concludes.

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