Lyme Regis lifeboat was launched to a yacht heading for France in ‘astronomical’ seas.

Two sailors aboard a 21ft yacht continued their journey to France in rough seas despite advice from the crew of the RNLI lifeboat.

The Pearl of Dorset was launched on Wednesday evening after the yacht Avocet was seen leaving Lyme Regis harbour by lifeboat operations manager Rob Fossett.

Mr Fossett said: “The yacht was engulfed by a huge swell and I felt it would surely turn round and return to harbour. But it didn’t.

“The height of the waves was astronomical, and the yacht had one outboard engine and a sail.”

The yacht had completed only three and a half miles of the 100-mile passage in one hour when the lifeboat reached it.

Mr Fossett said: “The two men aboard the yacht said they were fine and that they would continue towards Cherbourg. They made it clear they were experienced sailors and that they would keep in touch with the coastguards by radio.”