A man alone and drifting in a 40-foot sailboat that was taking on water in rough seas about 12 miles south of the Shinnecock Inlet was airlifted to safety Thursday by a Coast Guard helicopter that battled wind gusts to rescue him, officials said.

"His sails were torn up and he had no diesel fuel left," a Coast Guard spokesman, Petty Officer 3rd Class Frank Iannazzo-Simons, said. The sailor, who was not identified, was taken to Air Station Cape Cod for a medical examination, the spokesman said. His condition was not immediately known.

The Coast Guard said it got a call for assistance from the sailor at 7:31 a.m. and dispatched an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Cape Cod at 7:36 a.m. The helicopter reached the boat at 8:54 a.m. and had to perform the rescue as winds gusted to 25 knots and waves on the seas below ran 9 feet, the Coast Guard said.

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"This is an example of doing everything right," Mark Averill, command duty officer at Sector Long Island Sound, said in a statement.

"The subject notified the Coast Guard before his situation became a distress, and had all of his safety gear ready to go," Averill said. "When his situation deteriorated, the rescue crews were already briefed and on the way to his position before communications were lost. In this situation the subject was rescued without further incident, which may not have been the case had he waited."