An exhausted lone French yachtsman was towed to safety by a Falmouth RNLI crew after getting into trouble nine miles off Falmouth.

A spokesman said that the lifeboat volunteers’ pagers were activated at approximately 1am on Tuesday, with the Coastguard requesting they launch to the aid of the French yachtsman who was in trouble in the channel.

He said: "By 1.16am am they were on their way despite it being early in the morning and most of the crew would have been asleep in their beds when called.

"They located the lone sailor at 1.56am, some nine miles out from Falmouth harbour. Although the weather was not too bad, with south westerly force four wind, a moderate sea with a swell of approximately one meter and good visibility, it was plain to see that the Frenchman was extremely tired and unable to cope, having been at sea for over two days.

"A lifeboat crewman was put onboard the yacht to set up a tow, and he then took over the steering of the yacht whilst the all weather lifeboat commenced the long tow back to harbour. The skipper of the yacht went below to rest."

The yacht Nossi was secured alongside and at 5.15am in the morning the lifeboat was released and returned to her pontoon, arriving at 5:25am.

The volunteers on this early morning shout were: Mark Pollard (Coxswain); Carl Beardmore; Dave Nicoll; Luke Wills; Andy Jenkins; Nick Head and Sam Hall.