Six people, one of them a 78-year-old man, were rescued from freezing waters in blizzard conditions off the Northumberland coast.
The group were spotted in the water off Alnmouth during the afternoon and helped to safety by rescue teams.
Inshore and offshore lifeboats made their way to the area in "treacherous, blizzard conditions", a spokesman for Humber Coastguard said.
The 78-year-old man was taken to hospital with suspected hypothermia.
The other dinghy sailors were checked by paramedics from the North East Ambulance service and two were found to be suffering from mild hypothermia.
The Amble Coastguard Rescue Team and RAF Rescue 131 from Boulmer also took part in the operation.
Graham Dawson, watch manager at Humber Coastguard said: "These six people were very lucky that their predicament was spotted by a member of the public so that we could send a rapid medical response.
"I'd ask people to remember that when they get into trouble we have to ask volunteers like our Coastguard rescue officers and the RNLI to venture out in treacherous conditions to rescue them."