TWO yachtsmen were left shaken but uninjured after their vessel and the Sandbanks chain ferry collided.

The mast and sails of the yacht, Flying Monkey, were destroyed in the smash and the two crew members were terrified the boat would get dragged underneath the ferry, known as the Bramble Bush Bay.

Charlie Crowe, who was on duty in a safety boat for Parkstone Yacht Club nearby, was called to help rescue the men.

He said: "The ferry was on the Studland side. The chain ferry has got right of way. Because there was such a big tide the yacht couldn't get out of the way.

"We were on safety boat duty for Parkstone Yacht Club near Brownsea Island and we were called to see if we could go out and help. We got a line onto the yacht because it was de-masted, its mast and sails were broken completely with the collision.

"We got there and it was a big heap against the side of the ferry."

The ferry crew helped the two men aboard the ferry and managed to detach the yacht's rigging, which had been caught up, and the safety boat then towed the vessel back to Parkstone Yacht Club.

The chain ferry has been involved in a number of incidents in recent years.

Last October it was out of service for several hours during the rush hour after it was in collision with a workboat. Earlier the same year an eight-year-old girl lost four toes after her right foot was crushed when it became trapped in a link of the large chain running from the ferry to the Studland shoreline.

In August 2004 the ferry and a yacht collided at the entrance to Poole Harbour and a similar incident, during a race in the harbour in October 2002.

Bournemouth and Swanage Motor Road and Ferry Company declined to comment.