Brave volunteers from lifeboats in Cornwall launched in to storm force seas last night after an SOS distress call from a yacht just after 10pm.

The French yacht had become dis-masted during the storm system named Pierrick by Meteofrance, 40 nautical miles south-south west of Lizard Point and 42 miles south-south west of Newlyn.

The lone sailor had managed to trigger his distress beacon, alerting Falmouth Coastguard – and ended up jumping into the sea to be rescued, with a rescue helicopter pulling him from the waves. 

RNLI Penlee launched its relief all-weather lifeboat, Volunteer Spirit, with the Lizard Lifeboat launching in Rose and a search and rescue helicopter also sent. 

There were reports locally that Falmouth Lifeboat was also out, although it is not clear currently whether it was on the same call or a separate incident.

A spokesperson for Penlee Lifeboat said coxswain Patch Harvey and his volunteer crew launched in the station’s all-weather Severn Class Lifeboat, describing the weather as “very bad,” with a westerly force 10 wind, a six metre swell and rough seas and at times visibility limited in squally showers.

However, after ploughing into the storm for about 20 miles, the RNLI crew were stood down as the rescue helicopter had recovered the lone sailor.

Coxswain Patch Harvey said: “The conditions were very poor, especially for the helicopter crew who had to dodge flailing rigging, but picked up the sailor after he had jumped into the sea to enable the rescue.”

Falmouth Packet: The route Penlee Lifeboat took in Monday's storm rescueThe route Penlee Lifeboat took in Monday's storm rescue (Image: RNLI Penlee/Google)

The Lizard Lifeboat has also spoken about the incident, saying: "Our crew pagers sounded at 9.42pm last night (Monday, April 8) following a tasking request from Falmouth Coastguard.

"RNLB Rose launched shortly before 10pm to go to the assistance of a lone yachtsman whose emergency distress beacon had been triggered in a position of approximately 40 NM (nautical miles) south/south west of Lizard Point.

"Under the command of Coxswain Dan Atkinson The Lizard Lifeboat proceeded to make her way to the position in extremely treacherous rough seas and at times with very limited visibility due to the squally showers and sea swell.

"The yachtsman’s vessel had become dismasted, had also suffered a damaged rudder and with the on scene sea conditions it was impossible for the casualty to proceed further.

"Coastguard Rescue Helicopter 924 was also tasked as were our colleagues from Penlee Lifeboat a short time later.

"After making headway to the yacht's position it was confirmed that Rescue 924 had asked the sailor to enter the water thus enabling them to winch him to safety for an onward passage to hospital for medical assistance.

"This allowed RNLB Rose and her crew along with Penlee Lifeboat to be stood down and return to station at 11.20pm. The lifeboat arrived back at Kilcobben Cove at 1.40am where she was rehoused, refuelled and by 2am was made ready for service again when required."

Dickon Berriman, RNLI’s area lifesaving manager for both stations, said: "As many of us were listening to the storm rage outside, our volunteer crew, at both stations were responding to the pager, ready to leave their homes and go out into the elements to help someone in trouble. The conditions last night were extremely difficult and our crews had a long night ahead of them.

"Huge credit should go to the Coastguard helicopter team who carried out an extremely difficult rescue in treacherous conditions to save the sailor."

Penlee’s relief lifeboat had already launched earlier on Monday (April 8), just before 4.10pm, after being tasked by Falmouth Coastguard to a 30ft catamaran reportedly in difficulty heading to Penzance harbour, with one person and a dog on board.

Thankfully the catamaran had managed to make the harbour safely, despite the poor weather with south-easterly gales and rough sea conditions, and the lifeboat returned to station.

An RNLI spokesperson said: “Always carry a means of calling for help. Consider having an additional method like the SafeTrx app; you can also use this app to plan your voyage, and it can alert the coastguard if you are overdue.

“You should also register your vessel with the coastguard through this app.”