The man was able to swim to safety after being knocked off his yacht in the Firth of Forth

A lone sailor had a lucky escape after being knocked overboard while trying to lower his sails off Scotland.

The skipper spent 30 minutes swimming to Inchkeith Island following the ordeal on 31 July and was able to flag down a passing boat.

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He was taken to Burntisland harbour, where he raised the alarm, with Kinghorn lifeboat launching shortly after 2pm to recover the unmanned yacht.

Once on scene, RNLI crewmen found the boat circling near Sea Carr rock, with the engine still in gear.

The vessel soon ran aground on the north-west tip of the island, with crews having to board the yacht in order to stop the engine and lower the sails.

Once under control, the vessel was towed back to Burntisland harbour where it was tied up for inspection.

Crewmember Mel McGarva said: “The yacht was circling when we first located it, but it very soon ended up aground with the engine running and the sails still up in a moderate west wind.

“We managed to get a crew member on board and the sails were lowered and the yacht taken in tow to Burntisland, the nearest suitable harbour. We arrived at Burntisland around 4.20pm, in a force 4 to 5 westerly wind.

“The yacht’s owner had a very lucky escape today, and if he wasn’t wearing a lifejacket he may not have survived. We would always recommend that lifejackets, with a suitable harness, are worn at sea and that you have survival equipment such as flares and a personal locator beacon. These are becoming much cheaper nowadays, and greatly enhance your chances of survival and being found, if you end up in the water.”

It is understood that the male sailor from the Dalgety Bay area was checked over by an ambulance at Burntisland, but was none the worse for his ordeal.