A lone sailor spent hours at sea in an open boat in bitterly cold conditions.

The man was rescued today by the volunteer crew of Lyme Regis RNLI lifeboat.

The man had been reported in difficulties in a 15ft yacht 11 miles east of the town by Lyme Regis fire chief Virgil Turner, who was on a fishing trip.

The man was found to be suffering from the effects of the cold conditions and was taken to Lyme Regis harbour by lifeboat crew to be met by an ambulance.

He was later taken to hospital.

After getting the man safely ashore, the lifeboat crew returned to the scene and towed the yacht to Lyme Regis harbour.

The lifeboat launched at 8.35am and returned to the boathouse, after two journeys to sea, three and a half hours later.

It was the 37th emergency call answered by the lifeboat crew so far this year.