The Weymouth yacht was discovered on the French coast

A search is underway for a sailor from Weymouth whose empty yacht has run aground on the French coast.

The yachtsman and his 27ft UFO yacht called Palamina were last seen leaving Castle Cove Sailing Club at around 7am on Saturday morning on route for Swanage, on Dorset’s south coast.

But the sailor never reached the social cruise organised by the club and concerns were raised by the sailor’s family when he did not return home.

The empty cruiser was found 36 hours away on the coast between Dieppe and Fecamp.

A Mayday alert has been issued to boats crossing the Channel, which contains the details: ‘Mayday. A 27ft blue/green hulled yacht called Palamina with white sails was found aground on French coast.

‘It was discovered between Dieppe and Fecamp with no one on board at dawn this morning.

‘The yacht was known to have left Castle Cove SC 0700 Saturday bound for Swanage, with one person on board.’

Vice Commodore at Castle Cove, Michael Conroy said the missing sailor was ‘an independent sort of sailor who regularly goes off on his own’.

He said the club had not been aware he was missing until his wife called this morning.

Last sighting

The Coastwatch team based at St Alban’s Head reported seeing a boat matching Palamina’s description three miles out from the landmark near Swanage at around 10am on Saturday morning.

Mr Conroy said: ‘We have no idea what may have happened. He was just planning a little coastal hop around the corner into Swanage.

‘He had done a good deal of single-handed sailing and had been up to the Solent several times on his own and across the Channel about three weeks ago on his own and back again.

‘For him a three hour cruise down the coast was nothing special.

‘We simply don’t know the circumstances.’

A Portland Coastguard spokeswoman said the investigation was ‘still ongoing’ and they had issued an appeal for any other vessels with information or possible sightings to come forward.

She said: ‘Basically the French authorities have come across a vessel that has come aground there.

‘Initially Dover Coastguard was dealing with the incident but because the boat is local to our area we are now making investigations on the English side.’

Picture: The stretch of French coastline between Dieppe and Fecamp where the missing yacht ran aground. Credit: Google Maps