The skipper was sailing from France to Portsmouth when a sail wrapped around the yacht's propeller. He was found off Horse Sand Fort in the Solent

A single-handed sailor has been rescued after a sail wrapped around his yacht’s propeller, disabling the engine.

The skipper, who was sailing from France to Portsmouth, contacted the UK Coastguard which scrambled the volunteer crew of the Gosport and Farnham Inshore Rescue Service (GAFIRS).

The crew located the 24-foot yacht off Horse Sand Ford in the Solent.

An orange lifeboat tows a white yacht which suffered engine failure after a sail wrapped around the propeller

Towing the yacht to safety. Credit: GAFIRS

The lifeboat crew rigged a towline and took the yacht safely into Portsmouth Harbour.

Commenting on the rescue, GAFIRS senior helm, Brian Pack, said: “We soon found the yacht and placed a crewman on board to assist. We rigged a towline and took the vessel in a stern tow to Portsmouth Harbour where we assisted getting it safely alongside.”

The operation, who happened on Friday morning, took three hours.

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Just 24 hours later the GAFIRS volunteer lifeboat crews were in action again when they were tasked to assist a nine-metre RIB which had broken down and was being swamped by waves on the beach at Lee-on-the-Solent.

The vessel, which had three people on board, was taking on water.

Two GAFIRS crewmen used a salvage pump to remove the water, before it was taken under tow to Haslar Marina.

A white motor boat in difficulty by the shore

The boat was being swamped by waves. Credit: GAFIRS

As the Gosport independent lifeboat was leaving the harbour to return to its base at Stokes Bay, Gosport, crews offered to assist a third vessel which had been struck by engine failure.

Working with Portsmouth Volunteer Harbour Patrol, the GAFIRS lifeboat crew put the vessel in an alongside tow and placed it alongside in its berth.

So far this year GAFIRS has been called into action 44 times – 10 times in the last nine days alone.

GAFIRS is completely independent of the RNLI and relies on public donations to keep it afloat.