Man warned over 'sailing blind' yacht off Dorset

A sailor has been warned by coastguards after he left his yacht to "sail blind" while he worked below deck.

Another yacht had to alter course to avoid crashing into the boat which was about 10 miles off Portland, Dorset, on Tuesday morning.

Radio calls were ignored so the coastguard had to scramble its helicopter to the English Channel.

The sailor finally emerged after sirens were sounded and said he had been working below deck.

He was given safety advice by the coastguards.

'Thousands of pounds'

A Portland Coastguard spokesman said: "He was told of the inadvisability of effectively sailing blind through the busiest shipping lane in the world.

"He said he was sailing on his own to The Azores from Portland but we stressed he must keep a look-out at all times.

"There are devices, like auto-helm or anti-collision radar, which we don't know if this man had, but these should not be relied upon on their own.

"It costs a few thousand pounds to scramble the helicopter and in this case it could have been avoided."

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