An edited Instagram post and a cryptic takedown. Then the speech of the president of the French Sailing Federation. The weekend was stormy for the skipper of Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine) Kévin Escoffier. The one who won the Transat Jacques Vabre in 2005 is accused of having “inappropriate behavior towards a young woman during a party in Newport”, as the announcement, at Telegramthe president of the FFVoile, Jean-Luc Denéchau.
On Saturday, the French navigator announced that he would not take part in the last two stages of the Ocean Race, a race around the world with a crew. “I have decided to step down as skipper of the PRB-Holcim team until the end of this edition of The Ocean Race. I salute the commitment and the quality of the work of this magnificent team that I have led since the start of the race,” he wrote on his Instagram account.
He initially said he was leaving his post due to an “alleged incident”, without giving further details. This post has since been deleted. A message that intrigued everyone in navigation. Especially since, for its part, its team, PRB-Holcim, published a press release to reveal a new composition of its crew “with Benjamin Schwartz, Yoann Richomme, Abby Ehler and Martin Le Pape who embark”, without mentioning the departure from Escoffier. The organization of the race, she advanced “personal reasons”.
A report to the Ministry of Sports
This Sunday, the boss of the Sailing Federation, was therefore questioned. “I became aware of all this last night and I admit to being surprised by the dissonance between the press release from Team Holcim-PRB and the message on Kévin Escoffier’s Instagram account which spoke of an alleged incident. I have therefore made a number of phone calls which lead me to believe that the alleged incident referred to by the skipper is in fact inappropriate behavior he allegedly displayed towards a young woman at a party in Newport”, explains Jean-Luc Denéchau. “Behaviours that cannot be tolerated”, according to the sailing boss.
The Saint-Malo skipper should also be reported to the Ministry of Sports. “It’s still vague,” admits Jean-Luc Denéchau. He nevertheless assures of “the greatest firmness” if the facts were to be verified. “I also reserve the possibility of taking precautionary measures and / or opening disciplinary proceedings according to the tangible evidence that can be sent to me”, he continues to our colleagues from the regional daily. The international sailing federation would also have been seized.
PRB-Holcim, with Escoffier as skipper, had been the leader of The Ocean Race since the start of the event in January, before giving up first place during the 5th leg to the American crew 11th Hour. At the end of 2020, his rescue at sea, off the Cape of Good Hope, by Jean Le Cam, while they were participating in the Vendée Globe, had kept France in suspense.
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