AN extensive search for a missing yachtsman has been suspended.
Shoreham Coastguard and Shoreham RNLI were involved in the search last night after a boat was found drifting at Brighton Marina.
Sussex Police has named the yachtsman as Len King, 74, from Alfriston, and is now treating his disappearance as a missing person enquiry.
Inspector Roy Apps said: “It is an anxious time for the family. The search is currently suspended and we are liaising with his family as we investigate the circumstances of his disappearance.
“An experienced seaman, Mr King had left Brighton Marina on his yacht on Sunday afternoon and it is unclear as to what has happened to him.
“A friend reported him missing to the coastguard at around 9.50pm last night as he had not returned home. His Sunseeker boat was then found unmanned near the harbour wall at Brighton Marina.
“An extensive search was carried out by the Shoreham and Newhaven coastguard rescue teams, Shoreham, Newhaven and Brighton lifeboats, along with the coastguard helicopter from Lee-on-Solent and this has now been suspended until new information comes to light.
“We are at an early stage of our investigation and we are liaising closely with Mr King’s family while we make enquiries.”
Mr King’s wife, Stephanie, said Len was an experienced yachtsman who had been sailing since he was at least 20.
“Normally we go together but during the week if its calm weather, he may go off by himself. He went off just before lunch.
“I was expecting him home for dinner time. I phoned him several times but his phone was unable to connect so I thought he was on his way back. I called the person who has a boat next to us and he thought we were away.
“I can’t understand what has happened. He is a very experienced yachtsman. He has all his equipment doubled up and is always careful. That is the way he runs things.”