Yacht crews rescued after 'extreme' storm hits transatlantic race

The RWYC Transatlantic Event is from Plymouth to Newport, Rhode Island. Credit: ITV News

A major rescue operation has taken place in the mid-Atlantic after a fleet of yachts that set out from the UK was caught up in extreme weather.

The sailboats were competing in a transatlantic race from Plymouth to Rhode Island hosted by the Royal Western Yacht Club.

They set out on May 29, but have been hit by 15 metre high waves and hurricane force winds, which left a number of boats in distress.

The ocean liner the Queen Mary II has rescued one yachtsman, who is unhurt.

Meanwhile the Canadian coastguard in Halifax "immediately reacted to the situation" - sending ships and air support to all the boats in distress.

The Royal Western Yacht Club says the following competitors have been affected, but that everyone is safe.

  • Sunk: Furia. Crew rescued and no injuries reported

  • Severely damaged: the Tamarind. Skipper rescued by Queen Mary 2

  • Dismantled: Happy. Both crew rescued by an ocean going tug

  • Damaged: Harmonii. The mainsail and track have been damaged but is getting to shore using the engine. Skipper unhurt

  • Retired: Suomi Kudu. Heading back to the UK after problems with the mainsail. Skipper unhurt

The transatlantic race involves 22 boats made up of solo sailors and paired crews.