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French skipper rescued after yacht breaks in half during round-the-world race

French sailor Kevin Escoffier, who was forced to abandon ship during the Vendée Globe yacht race, was rescued off the Cape of Good Hope on Tuesday morning 11 hours after sending a distress signal.

Escoffier was in third place in the race when forced to exit his leaking vessel but was only reached at 1am by rival skipper and compatriot Jean Le Cam, who tweeted: “A huge relief. Kevin is well onboard [my yacht] Hubert safe and sound.”

The 40-year-old Escoffier was later reported unscathed following his ordeal as race organisers confirmed both sailors appeared well.

The yacht Escoffier was sailing was a new style of ‘flying boat’ which lifts out of the water on a foil in high winds. In an interview with the BFMTV channel, the race director Jacques Caraès stated that the structure of the boat had broken in two and sank. Escoffier had reportedly endured five-metre swells and water temperatures of 10C before he was found.

The four skippers, including Le Cam, who were involved in the rescue operation are to return to the round-the-world race and the hours taken to complete the rescue deducted from their overall times.

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