French skipper Escoffier banned for sexual assault

AFP - [email protected]
French skipper Escoffier banned for sexual assault
Kevin Escoffier speaks during a press conference in Alicante, Spain on January 13, 2023. Photo: JOSE JORDAN/AFP.

One of France's top yachtsmen Kevin Escoffier was on Friday banned for 18 months by the French Sailing Federation following a sexual assault inquiry.


The 43-year-old skipper was interviewed by the federation on October 9 accused of "inappropriate behaviour" towards a female crew member, according to a source close to the investigation.

The alleged incident took place during this year's Ocean Race on a stop over in Newport on the east coast of the United States in May.

Escoffier was at the helm of the Swiss boat PRB-Holcim which had led after each of the first four legs of the gruelling competition, before he quit the race abruptly.

The female crew member said Escoffier had sexually assaulted her in a bar. Escoffier denies the charge.

His lawyer Virginie Le Roy told AFP that he "strongly contests" the allegation and will appeal the ban, expecting to be "completely exonerated".

The French Sailing Federation refused to comment on the affair when contacted by AFP.

The yachtsman hit international headlines in 2021 when he was rescued in the south Atlantic by a rival while competing in the Vendee Globe race.

He spent 11 hours clinging to his lifeboat after his boat split in two. He won the Ocean Race in 2017-18 and also the Transat Jacques-Vabre in 2005.


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