Vendee hero Le Cam admits: 'I don't know how I got here'

Les Sables-d'Olonne (France) (AFP) –


Vendee Globe high-seas hero Jean Le Cam, who sailed to the rescue of a desperate shipwrecked rival, arrived home in France on Thursday and admitted: "I don't know how I got here".

The 61-year-old Le Cam crossed the finish line at the French port of Les Sables-d'Olonne after his epic round-the-world adventure in 81 days, 5 hours, 59 minutes and 55 seconds.

He was the eighth skipper home but was promoted to fourth place after being granted 16 hours and 15 minutes time compensation for his role in the rescue of Kevin Escoffier off the Cape of Good Hope.

"I don't know how I got here, honestly I don't know, but hey it's done," said the skipper on board his yacht, Yes We Cam!.

"I went to the end of the end of the end," added Le Cam whose time was readjusted to 80 days, 13 hours, 44 minutes and 55 seconds.

"This is a finish line like I've never passed in my life. This is a deliverance, certainly."

Yannick Bestaven, aboard Maitre Coq IV and who had also aided the rescue attempt of Escoffier, won the race in the early hours of Thursday.

Le Cam stole headlines when he halted his race to help Escoffier whose boat sank after splitting in two on November 30.

Escoffier spent 11 hours clinging to his lifeboat before Le Cam spotted him and hauled him aboard.

The pair spent a week together on Yes We Cam before Escoffier was taken to safety by a French navy frigate, allowing Le Cam to rejoin the race.

On Thursday, the recovered Escoffier was waiting quay-side to welcome his rescuer.

"He did a fantastic race," the French sailor told AFP.

"I will be there with pleasure if he has a little time, so that we can exchange a few words and maybe go for a drink to remember the days spent together.

"But I'm not here to take time out of his arrival, I am here to accompany him if he wishes."

Damien Seguin was amongst the first eight to cross the line, a remarkable achievement for the Paralympian born without a left hand.

He was the first disabled sailor to take part in the event and marked his return home by donning a pirate's costume and a hook for a hand!