A windsurfer was rescued by the crew of a Condor Ferries wave-piercing catamaran this week after responding to an emergency call from the French coastguard.

Condor Ferries, which sails from the Dorset ports of Poole and Weymouth to the Channel Islands and France was en route to St Malo when the alarm was raised.

Despite fading light Condor’s Bosun Gilles Paies was able to spot a dark shape bobbing in the water and a working party, under the control of Chief Officer Tim Johnson and a first aid team, directed by Cabin Manager Denise Downie were assembled.

As Captain Peter Aldous manoeuvred the ship close to the shape, it was identified as a windsurfer board with its sail down being paddled by the missing man - 20-year-old Rodolphe LeForestier from Dinard.

He was able to reach the steps of Condor 10 and was taken on board where he treated for the possible effects of hypothermia. He told the crew he had been trying to return to shore in the daylight but the wind had died and he had been fighting the tide for more than three hours.

With the windsurfer safely on board the ship then continued on to St Malo where the man was examined by paramedics.

“It was very fortunate that we were in the area as, with darkness falling, he was at risk of developing severe hypothermia or even worse,” said Captain Aldous.

“All of Condor’s fleet are fully equipped to respond to emergency calls both from nearby vessels and the coastguard. Our staff are fully trained to deal with these situations and I would like to praise everyone involved with the rescue.”