A 74-year-old sailor said being rescued by the Coast Guard (search) was "the most fantastic feeling" after he rode out a powerful nor'easter on board a 33-foot sailboat.

Vincent Gillings (search), who has been sailing for 50 years, told WBZ-TV (search) that he was knocked overboard during the Tuesday storm, but he was wearing a safety harness. "I never knew there was such force," he said.

Gillings, an American, started sailing the Sara Gamp from Liverpool, Nova Scotia, on Friday bound for Gloucester. After hearing from his worried girlfriend Sunday, U.S. and Canadian authorities starting searching for him by air and water.

The surface search was suspended because conditions became too dangerous during the nor'easter, which pounded the New England coast with high winds and 20-foot surf. But the air search continued and a Coast Guard jet crew spotted Gillings' boat around 8 a.m. Wednesday about 22 miles northeast of Provincetown.

A helicopter was dispatched and lowered a rescue swimmer onto the boat, Coast Guard spokesman Scott Carr said. Gillings was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was treated for hypothermia and released.

His hometown was not available, but the boat's home port is in Virginia.