The empty yacht of an experienced sailor who is missing in Bass Strait has been towed to shallow waters for examination by police.

A search was launched on Thursday near Deal Island off Tasmania’s north after the sailor was reported overdue.

He had left Eden, on the NSW south coast, on Boxing Day and was planning to arrive at Deal Island on Monday.

The 18-metre yacht was found late on Thursday night in Victorian waters after being spotted from the air.

It had been towed on Friday morning to Deal Island by water police for examination.

The search for the man was “ongoing”, a Victoria Police spokeswoman said. Two helicopters were sent to the yacht shortly after it was spotted but no one was found.