The sailor, who has been named as transatlantic sailor Philip Walwyn, was in the midst of his 17th cross Atlantic sail when tragedy struck.

Tributes have been paid to ‘a great’ yachtsman who died after falling overboard off the Cornish coast.

The sailor, who has been named as former St Kitts Yacht Club Commodore Philip Walwyn, was in the midst of his 17th transatlantic crossing when tragedy struck.

Police were alerted by the Coastguard at 3.20pm yesterday, 3 August, following the discovery of a 50ft yacht with no-one on board in the harbour at Coverack Cove, Helston.

Falmouth Coastguard commenced an air and sea search to locate the missing sailor believed to have been aboard.

In a statement the police said: ‘At 5.10pm the body of man was located in the sea just off Chynalls Point near Coverack by another sailor and he was recovered aboard his yacht.

‘The man was airlifted by a rescue helicopter and taken to Treliske Hospital where he was pronounced deceased a short time later.

‘The man is aged 68 and from Yorkshire. It is believed he was the only person aboard the yacht. Next of kin have been informed.

‘The death is not being treated as suspicious but police enquiries continue as to how the man came to be in the water.’

St Kitts Yacht Club in the Caribbean paid tribute to its former Commodore as ‘a great man; a legend in his own right’, adding: ‘We say goodbye to one of the world’s utmost sailing icons, and our past Commodore, Philip Walwyn. Philip was in the midst of his 17th cross Atlantic sail when tragedy struck. Philip is a man that has come into so many peoples lives and has given his heart and soul to everyone and everything he’s ever encountered.

‘We all give thanks to Philip, to his knowledge and his love of the ocean. Philip will always be remembered for his heroism, his honor and his very witty sense of humor. His beautiful wife, Kate, will forever be in our hearts as well, she is just as strong and as memorable as Philip is.

‘Philip will forever be in our thoughts and our hearts, and we will all remember the wisdom that he has bestowed upon us. Philip, you have touched so many people worldwide…thank you. Woop Woop!’

The ‘Where’s Walwyn’ Facebook page paid tribute: ‘To the man, the myth, the legend that is and always will be Philip Walwyn. A man that touched so many people’s hearts and souls, a man that is. Thank you Philip for all of your dancing to foxes and cross dressing and throwing glasses at the precise moment. Thank you for making all of our lives fuller, you will be very missed.

‘With love,
‘Everyone you met’

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A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman said the alarm was raised with the UK Coastguard at 1.45pm yesterday after another vessel discovered the 50ft  yacht with its sails up and no-one on board.

Lizard and Falmouth RNLI all weather lifeboats, Falmouth RNLI inshore lifeboat, a rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose, the Porthoustock Coastguard Rescue Team and locals yachts searched an area north-east of The Lizard after the yacht was discovered unmanned and going around in circles.

The search was suspended after the body of the yachtsman, who had been travelling from the Azores to Falmouth, was found in the water during a search between the Lizard and Coverack. He was taken to Treliske Hospital ‘in a very serious condition’ but was later pronounced dead.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has been informed.