Police believe a Sydney, Australia, sailor who fell from a yacht in rough seas off the coast of Port Stephens, is dead.
Mal Lennon went missing from his vessel the Amante off Broughton Island as record-breaking rains and strong winds hit the Hunter region on Wednesday.
He is believed to have been returning to Sydney on the 36 cruise racer after a race from Pittwater to Coffs Harbour.
Head of the Marine Area Command, Mark Hutchings, said the search was hampered by horrendous conditions.
"Sea conditions were up to [20 to 26 feet] with sometimes 50 knot gales," Hutchings said.