Search for skipper of stricken yacht called off

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A LARGE-SCALE search for the skipper of a yacht found beached with its engine running but with no one on board has been called off.

The Solent Coastguard say there has been no sign of the man since a member of the public found his vessel, called Brigand, ashore with one of its sails up near Brighstone on the Isle of Wight.

Watch manager David Williams said it is believed the skipper set sail for Hayling Island from Poole in Dorset yesterday morning.

A five-hour search was launched at about 5.15pm yesterday involving two Coastguard helicopters and RNLI lifeboats, while broadcasts were made to passing vessels to be alert to objects in the water.

Despite the extensive operation, no sign of anyone was found and it was called off late last night, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said.

A fresh search began early this morning for the skipper – who has not been identified.

But tonight the MCA said it was called off with nothing found.

A Solent Coastguard spokesman said: ‘The search has been suspended but if we get any new information that prompts us to an area then we will recommence a search.’

Coastguards have urged people about to set out to sea to ensure they are familiar with their boat and equipment, have proper training and ensure their crew wear well-maintained and correctly fitting lifejackets.