Largs lifeboat volunteers had a testing time recently in the search for a lone sailor who had experienced technical issues amid gale force winds.

Flares had to be shot up into the sky by the sailor on request of the Coastguard in order to help the lifeboat locate the yacht.

It happened after lifeboat crew members were called away from their routine exercise on Tuesday 23 April to carry out the search.

The UK Coastguard had passed on reports concerning the 43 foot vessel with one person on board in difficulties due to engine problems.

Alasdair Woods, press officer for the Largs lifeboat explained: "The lone sailor seemed unsure of his position making it difficult for the lifeboat crew to locate him, in an effort to find him UK Coastguard asked him to set off two flares, fortunately the second one was spotted by the lifeboat crew.

As it reached the location west of the south end of Little Cumbrae Island the lifeboat was soon alongside whereupon a crew member boarded the yacht to render assistance.

"Weather conditions at the time were not favourable, wind speeds gale force 6 to 7 gusting to gale force 8, a decision was made to undertake a tow, a line was secured.

"The yacht with its lone sailor was towed to Largs Yacht Haven where it was secured and made safe.

"During the evening exercise a young lady probationer crew member Emily Santos was on board the lifeboat, unexpectedly this routine exercise turned out to be her very first real shout, congratulations Emily, well done."