THREE people were rescued by the Lyme Regis RNLI Lifeboat in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The alarm was raised at 1.06am on Sunday morning after strong winds forced an ocean going rowing boat a mile out to sea.

After struggling against the wind in their 24 foot rowing boat, the three people aboard, two men and one woman, called the Portland Coastguard who alerted the Lyme Regis lifeboat who launched 10 minutes later and towed the boat back to Lyme Regis Harbour.

The rowing boat was skippered by a 34 year old Devon man.

He said: “We had left Lyme Regis at 6pm and the forecast was for a light northerly wind. We had all the necessary equipment on board for an all-night exercise with the boat.

“But later the wind picked up unexpectedly, and rowing became impossible. I radioed the coastguard and advised them of the situation.

“It was not a Mayday distress call, but I jokingly said they may have to alert the French coastguards if this wind continued to blow against us.

“The coastguard decided to call the lifeboat out and of course we were delighted to see them. They were very professional and towed us back to the safety of Lyme Regis harbour.”

The lifeboat was launched at 1.18am, reached the rowing boat at 1.26 and arrived back in harbour at 1.47am.

Elliot Herbert, helmsman of the lifeboat, said: “It was an unusual shout for us, it’s not often we tow an ocean going rowing boat.

“But in that wind they were going nowhere. They certainly had all the right equipment, and were pleased to see us.”