Lifeboat volunteers were called to the rescue of three people on board a yacht in gale force winds last night.
The Sheerness all weather lifeboat was launched at about 10.30pm following an emergency call from the 25ft motor sailer Swin Ranger, which was in difficulty off the Maplin sands.
Lifeboat press officer Barry Crayford said the winds were in the region of force nine.
He said: “The yacht’s crew were fearful that their craft might capsize in the extreme conditions and also that they were suffering from sea sickness and becoming hypothermic.
“It took the Lifeboat under the command of coxswain Robin Castle just under an hour to reach the casualty in the West Swin channel, some 15 miles from Sheerness lifeboat station.”
Once on scene, it took several attempts for the lifeboat to run in and safely put a crewman, Tony Smith, onboard.
Mr Crayford added: “It was severe gales and pretty hairy conditions out there.
“When you have two boats meeting like that and they are not rising and falling at the same time and because they were hypothermic and sea sick, it was decided to leave the crew on the boat rather than move them on to the lifeboat.”
The tow to Queenborough took three and half hours.
The three sailors were taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment.