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Fourteen rescued by Royal Navy warship after racing yacht becomes stranded in Atlantic Ocean

Crew from the Type 45 destroyer rescue the crew of the stricken 60ft Clyde Challenger racing yacht. Credit: Royal Navy/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

Fourteen sailors have been rescued by the crew of a Royal Navy warship after their racing yacht was stranded for 48 hours in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

The 60ft Clyde Challenger yacht lost its mast in turbulent waters as it was returning from the Azores, in the mid-Atlantic, to the UK and the crew waited 20 hours for HMS Dragon to reach them.

The Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon. Credit: Royal Navy/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

The Type 45 destroyer was diverted 500 miles from a routine deployment to rescue the crew, who were stuck some 610 miles south west of Land's End.

The yacht crew were all "alive and well" when HMS Dragon reached them, however the Challenger could not be recovered.

The Clyde Challenger was stuck some 610 miles south-west of Land's End. Credit: Royal Navy/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

Petty Officer Max Grosse, the Chief Bosun's Mate on board HMS Dragon, said: "When we arrived on scene it was clear the yacht had lost its mast and looked in a pretty desperate state after nearly 48 hours drifting in the challenging conditions.

"We were however hugely relieved to see all 14 crew alive and well.

"Despite racing through the night we only had three hours of daylight remaining in which to safely remove the crew.

"HMS Dragon is fitted with two large sea boats capable of carrying six passengers each.

"We were able to use both boats to transfer the crew as quickly as possible.

"The prevailing weather conditions and notorious Atlantic swell made it enormously challenging though and really tested the skills of my experienced sea boat coxswains."

Large sea boats from the HMS Dragon were used in the rescue. Credit: Royal Navy/Crown Copyright/PA Wire

After getting into difficulty on Thursday evening, the Challenger crew was aided by another vessel and a cargo ship and reported they had made a temporary rudder on Friday morning but damage to the mast and sails meant they were "unusable" and on Friday afternoon it was decided the crew needed rescuing.

Crew from the Type 45 destroyer rescue the crew of the stricken 60ft Clyde Challenger racing yacht. Credit: Royal Navy/Crown Copyright/PA Wire