The Royal Navy has rescued a yachstman from a stricken trimaran in the English Channel.
HMS St Albans had joined a huge hunt for the vessel after its skipper sent out a Mayday call yesterday when the yacht was dismasted in rough seas.
The hunt was postponed at 2.30am today - but just over an hour later the crew of the Portsmouth-based Type 23 frigate, which had resumed its voyage from Portsmouth to Plymouth, chanced upon the trimaran 18 miles south of Portland.
A RNLI lifeboat from Weymouth raced to the scene and recovered the skipper, who was the only person on board.
He was suffering from hypothermia but is not believed to be in a critical condition.
St Albans joined five helicopters and two lifeboats in searching for the trimaran when the yachtsman’s emergenchy VHF call saying his vessel had dismasted was picked up by a merchant vessel 37 miles south of The Needles just before 5pm yesterday.
Coastguard spokesman Andrew Jenkins said: ‘The man has no injuries but having spent the best part of 12 hours on a dismasted vessel in very bad conditions, with wind and rain, he was very very cold.
‘HMS St Albans was able to assist us with the search, which was called off at 2.30am. They continued on their passage and very luckily happened across the vessel.
‘Because of the conditions they were unable to launch one of their smaller rescue boats to get him but they circled round the vessel until they could get communication and find out what the situation was.
‘We sent the Weymouth lifeboat and the Coastguard helicopter from Lee-on-Solent.
‘He was taken on to the lifeboat because the helicopter was unable to winch him off because of the conditions.
‘During the peak of the search we had four helicopters and there was an electrical storm which interfered with the search. The conditions were less than optimal.’
The man was taken to hospital by ambulance. He had no serious injuries but he had been waiting to be rescued for 11 hours so is said to have been very cold.