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Navy helicopters come to solo yachtsman’s rescue in rough seas off France

Wildcat helicopters from the 825 Naval Air Squadron scrambled to an SOS call from the Takita yacht.

Royal Navy flight crews came to the aid of a British yachtsman stricken in rough seas in the Bay of Biscay.

Wildcat helicopters from the 825 Naval Air Squadron scrambled to an SOS call from the Takita yacht after it lost its mast in a storm during a journey from the Azores, in the mid-Atlantic, to Britain.

The crews circled three times in strong winds off the French coast before managing to spot the 30ft Takita, which had lost its radio transmitter but was still seaworthy.

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RFA Argus comes to the aid of a British yachtsman stricken in rough seas in the Bay of Biscay (MoD/PA)

The sole yachtsman pulled alongside the RFA Argus, an aviation training vessel, and the ship’s crew passed him jerrycans of fuel enough to allow him to reach Brest in France for repairs.

Observer Lieutenant Commander Chris Grey said: “It was absolutely extraordinary that the yacht was sighted considering the sea state, the size of the vessel, its white hull and that it was in the swell troughs for most of the time.”

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