A seaboat was launched from HMS Duncan, which responded to a plea for help from the Coastguard (Picture: Royal Navy).
Navy

Sailors from HMS Duncan save yacht in English Channel

The yacht was drifting rapidly offshore and had no flares or working radio equipment onboard.

A seaboat was launched from HMS Duncan, which responded to a plea for help from the Coastguard (Picture: Royal Navy).

Sailors from a Royal Navy vessel have saved a yacht drifting out of control in the middle of the English Channel.

HMS Duncan battled rough conditions following a plea for help from the Coastguard after the yacht, with one person on board, was reported heading off Weymouth with no working engine, power or communications.

Despite wind speeds of 30-35 knots, worsening sea conditions and reducing visibility, the Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer launched one of her sea boats with a crew of specialists.

The yacht in distress was drifting rapidly offshore in the wind and tide around Portland Bill and had no flares or working radio equipment on board.

With the sea boat crew about to abandon the search in the worsening gloom, Leading Engineering Technician Jack Davies spotted the yacht's mast.

After boarding the vessel, he reassured the sole sailor on the yacht and repaired the engine.

After power was restored to the yacht, the Royal Navy personnel handed the situation over to the RNLI Weymouth lifeboat team (Picture: Royal Navy).

Seaman specialist Petty Officer Adam Drozdowski, the sea boat's coxswain, said while the "conditions were challenging",  the personnel "had the right kit, in the right place at the right time to answer the call".

Medical assistant Petty Officer Tom Austin added it took "real skill" to get alongside the yacht in the rough conditions.

"The individual on board was in the later stages of shock and clearly in a dire condition. I'm glad that we were able to make a difference," he added.

After power was restored to the yacht, the Royal Navy personnel handed the situation over to the RNLI Weymouth lifeboat team before heading back to HMS Duncan.