Search started after Vendee Globe competitor abandons ship
In this year's Vendee Globe solo round-the-world race, a leading participant has abandoned ship, and a mission to find him is underway.
On Monday, Sailor Kevin Escoffier was in third place when he told his shore team that his vessel, the PRB sailing yacht of the IMOCA class, was taking on water. At 1445 hours, he sent the warning and informed race organizers that he would leave the ship on his life raft. At 40° 55 'south, 09° 18' east, about 600 nm southwest of Cape Town, the last location of his vessel's EPIRB was.
The French and South African maritime authorities (CROSS Gris-Nez and MRCC Cape Town) are involved, along with the managers of the Vendee Globe, in organizing the response to the incident. In pursuit of Escoffier, competitors Jean le Cam, Boris Herrmann and Yannick Bestaven have redirected and a fourth - Sébastien Simon - is under way.
The nearest to the scene was Le Cam, arriving about 1700 hours later. Le Cam found Escoffier's life raft with help from race directors and Escoffier's personal locator beacon, and came within hailing distance. Owing to the rough surface conditions, however, le Cam was unable to navigate close enough to put Escoffier on board, and in the rough conditions, he lost sight of the life raft.
Maritime Business World