Kevin Escoffier, a navigator in the storm

The words of navigator Kevin Escoffier resonate curiously between the raw concrete walls. In his 800 square meter boat shed, all that remains, as a vestige of his career as an offshore racer, is an old bow from his 18 m monohull, Holcim-PRB. Accusations of ault launched by a woman responsible for communications on the sailboat, equipped by the Swiss cement giant, forced the French skipper to disembark permanently at the beginning of June, although no complaint was filed against him .

A stone’s throw away, along the pontoons of Lorient La Base, in Morbihan, the fastest ocean racing sailboats on the planet are ready for the Transat Jacques-Vabre, on October 11. Kevin Escoffier, who won this event in 2005, at the age of 23, on a 15-meter trimaran, alongside his father, Franck-Yves, will not compete in it. He will also not line up, on November 10, 2024, for the start of the Vendée Globe, a solo round-the-world trip, on which he intended to take his revenge after Jean Le Cam saved it at the last minute from the roaring forties following its shipwreck in 2020.

“It’s all over, I won’t find a job again [dans la course au large]I will have to leave, even if my innocence is recognized”, said Kevin Escoffier during a seven-hour tête-à-tête, over liters of green tea, leftover brioche and dark chocolate. Seven hours during which, between despondency, anger and a few tears, he refutes all accusations.

Kevin Escoffier, 43, is strong. A former scrum half, the Malouin undergoes commando training as a means of physical and mental preparation. A brilliant engineer and sailor, he began his career in the design office of Michel Desjoyeaux, winner of the 2000 Vendée Globe on PRBbefore leading that of Team Banque populaire. “Kevin is the guy we’re all jealous of because he’s super athletically gifted and as strong as all the architects who build our boats”used to sum up Vincent Riou, winner of the 2004 Vendée Globe. In 2019, he recommended him to succeed him as skipper at PRB, before the Vendée SME was bought by Holcim in May 2022.

“No other choice”

On May 15, in Newport (United States), where the competitors of The Ocean Race, a crewed round-the-world race with stopovers, are taking a break, a young woman of 30, temporary employee of the PRB communications agency, accuses Kevin Escoffier of having pinched her breasts, with both hands and twice, while she opened her arms to reward him with a hug, an American hug. In the crowded pub where some of the competitors were spending the evening, the skipper then pulled her towards him by the buttocks to feel them, as well as her hips and breasts, under her clothes, according to the story she has. made to the French Sailing Federation, reported by The Team. Petrified, the young woman initially did not react, then went out into the pub courtyard to confide in a friend, a member of a competing team.

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