Trickle down from The Ocean Race to Vendée Globe

Published on September 14th, 2023

French skipper Kevin Escoffier entered The Ocean Race 2023 with a legendary reputation, having survived a catastrophic hull failure in the 2019-20 Vendée Globe. His 2009 VPLP-Verdier designed PRB was in third place at the time, doing far better than imagined, when it literally exploded under his feet.

Through a dramatic rescue many miles SW of Cape Town, Escoffier lived to fight another day, and put his talents to good use by dominating the first half of The Ocean Race on his new IMOCA, the Holcim-PRB designed by Guillaume Verdier. But then his reputation exploded during the USA stopover for The Ocean Race when implicated in an alleged sexual assault.

Nicolas Lunven

With his team leading after four of seven legs, he was removed from the boat, with the team ultimately dropping to finish second overall. While a legal outcome is not known, Team Holcim-PRB has moved on from Escoffier with the appointment of Nicolas Lunven (FRA) to now skipper the boat.

Lunven has held a long-term ambition to compete in the Vendée Globe, and now gets his chance in the 2024-25 edition. His victories thus far include two wins in La Solitaire du Figaro (2009, 2017) and three participations in The Ocean Race alongside the greatest international sailors (Iker Martinez, Dee Caffari, Boris Herrmann).

“It’s obviously a huge honor to have been chosen to lead this team,” said Lunven. “My dream of competing in the Vendée Globe is becoming a reality, and it is even more special to do this with Holcim-PRB, a company and team that match my high ambitions. We’re fully in line from a competitive sailing perspective as well as from a values standpoint to preserve our oceans and planet.

“It’s exciting to be part of this new chapter, but we’re going to do everything we can to write a beautiful story during this Vendée Globe,” adding that PRB is the only partner to have twice put its name on the top step of the podium (2000 with Michel Desjoyeaux and 2004 with Vincent Riou).

Lunven’s first race under the colors of Holcim-PRB will be the transatlantic race Retour à la Base which is a qualifying race for the Vendée Globe. In the meantime, the skipper will be involved in the boat refit and will be making the delivery trip to La Martinique in early November alongside co-skipper Rosalin Kuiper.

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