An air and sea search was launched after a yacht was found beached with its engine still running but with no-one on board, Coastguards said.
A member of the public discovered the yacht, called Brigand, ashore with one of its sails up near Brighstone on the Isle of Wight Saturday evening.
A five-hour search for its skipper was launched involving two Coastguard helicopters and RNLI lifeboats, while broadcasts were made by Solent Coastguard to passing vessels to be alert to objects in the water.
The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said despite the extensive operation no sign of anyone was found and it was called off late last night.
A spokesman for Solent Coastguard said a shoreline search began again early this morning for the skipper, who has not been identified.
He said: "We are doing a shoreline search with teams and members of the Coastguard and lifeboats but as of now nothing has been found."
Solent Coastguard watch manager David Williams said it is believed the skipper left Poole in Dorset yesterday morning with the intention of sailing to Hayling Island.
He urged people about to set out to sea to ensure they are familiar with their boat and equipment, have proper training and ensure their crew wear well-maintained and correctly fitting lifejackets.