A yacht crew returned to thank the rescuers who worked for seven hours to save their 35ft cruiser in stormy conditions off the coast of north Wales.

The pair sent out a distress call when their Jeanneau yacht, with its jib sail in tatters after being shredded by winds gusting to 60 knots, was carried in rough seas towards the additional hazard of the offshore windfarms.

The drama occurred on Sunday 12 April, more than a mile off Great Orme’s Head, while the yacht was on passage from Conwy to Pwllheli.

A lifeboat spokesman said: The couple sent out a distress call although their plight had already been seen by local lifeboat personnel and reported to the Coastguard.

‘The yacht, which had become extremely difficult to control, was driven east of the Great Orme’s Head into Liverpool Bay in a very confused sea.’

The yacht was brought to safety by Llandudno’s two lifeboats following a seven-hour rescue operation.

The sailors paid a visit to Llandudno lifeboat station last week to thank the volunteer RNLI crews for bringing them to safety.

A Llandudno lifeboat spokesman said: ‘We greatly appreciated them taking the time to call in to express their gratitude; we had been only too pleased to bring them and their yacht to safety from such a difficult and dangerous situation out at sea.’