Concern for the sailor’s safety was first raised when his yacht was discovered with no one on board on Monday

Sailing legend Philip Walwyn has passed away in hospital after being recovered from the sea off the Cornish coast.

The sailor, who was attempting his 17th Atlantic crossing, was due to complete his journey from the Azores to Falmouth on Tuesday but his yacht Kate was found abandoned off Cornwall on Monday.

After the alarm was raised, coastguard teams and nearby sailors began a search for the 68-year-old, and he was discovered in the water shortly after.

An MCA spokesperson said: “A search for a missing yachtsman who was travelling from the Azores to Falmouth has now been suspended after a person was found in the water during a search between the Lizard and Coverack. The person was taken to hospital in a very serious condition.

“The alarm was raised with the UK Coastguard at 13.45 today (Monday) after another vessel discovered the 50ft yacht with its sails up and no-one on board.

“Lizard and Falmouth RNLI all weather lifeboats, Falmouth RNLI inshore lifeboat, a rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose, the Porthoustock Coastguard Rescue Team and locals yachts searched an area north-east of The Lizard after the yacht was discovered unmanned and going around in circles.”

A Facebook page set up to account Mr Walwyn’s Atlantic crossings, paid tribute to the sailing legend: “To the man, the myth, the legend that is and always will be Philip Walwyn. A man that touched so many people’s hearts and souls, a man that is. Thank you Philip for all of your dancing to foxes and cross dressing and throwing glasses at the precise moment. Thank you for making all of our lives fuller, you will be very missed. With love, everyone you met.”