A sailing boat was left perilously close to be smashed to pieces after being dragged by the force of the stormy sea.

The lone skipper of the 34-foot gaff yawl was in trouble when the gale-force onshore wind caused her to drag her anchor, while stopped in the water off St Mawes during a passage to France.

She ended up against St Mawes Quay, putting her safety and that of her crewmember in jeopardy.

Falmouth inshore lifeboat was scrambled by the coastguard just after midnight yesterday, with a crew of Elliot Holman at the helm, Nick Head and Jamie Connolly on board.

They arrived on scene at 12.12am, where the Falmouth Pilot Boat Arrow was already helping the boat.

The inshore lifeboat placed a crew member on board and a towline was attached, to keep her off the shore.

At 12.23am the Severn class all-weather lifeboat Richard Cox Scott was also launched, to provide further help, crewed by Falmouth RNLI coxswain Jonathon Blakeston with Luke Wills, Dave Nicoll, Tom Bird, Adam West, Neil Capper and Chris Simpson on board, arriving ten minutes later.

The tow was transferred to the all-weather lifeboat and the gaff was taken to the shelter of Falmouth Inner Harbour, safely anchored once more at 1.34am.

Coxswain Jonathon Blakeston said: “We’ve been doing a lot of training recently with new crew members but the sea and weather conditions on this job dictated that we needed to take an experienced crew, and I was delighted with the team work leading to a successful outcome.”