A YACHT had to support by a lifeboat crew following an incident during a race between Cowes and Cherborg in France.

The 40-foot yacht issued a 'pan pan' emergency call during the Fastnet race on Sunday afternoon.

The all-weather lifeboat from Swanage was requested to launch after the yacht's crew reported hitting something and suffering a water leak.

A Swanage RNLI spokesperson said: "The yacht’s pumps were initially coping with the water ingress but the situation could worsen very quickly so the lifeboat crew were paged and were soon on their way to the yacht’s last known position.

"The yacht had reversed its course and was now heading back towards the Solent but the lifeboat caught up with them just over 30 minutes after launching.

"The yacht’s pumps were still coping with the water ingress so the lifeboat agreed to escort them in to the Solent where the plan was to hand over the escort to Lymington lifeboat once they were nearer to Lymington.

Bournemouth Echo: Picture: Swanage RNLIPicture: Swanage RNLI

"Unfortunately the plan had to change quickly as the water ingress suddenly got worse as the boats approached Lymington river.

"The lifeboat’s powerful portable salvage pump and two crew were quickly put aboard and the water ingress was stabilised.

"The yacht was then taken to a boat yard for an emergency lift to get it out of the water. Once the yacht was lifted clear of the water the damage to the yacht’s keel was obvious."