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UPDATE 11.50am SUNDAY Police have scaled back the search for a missing 76-year-old grandfather and they hold ’fading’ hopes for his survival.

Police today said the search for Australind man Ian Shardlow had been scaled back to one aircraft and two vessels.

The family of Mr Shardlow, who has been missing at sea since Thursday afternoon, say they are devastated by the tragedy.

Mr Shardlow is believed to have fallen overboard from his twin-hulled yacht, the Two-Up, late on Thursday, and his disapperance sparked an intensive land, sea and airsearch.

Insp Mike Peters said police had now accounted for all six life-jackets on board the catamaran, which suggested he had not been wearing a life-jacket when he fell overboard.

"The survivability of Mr Shardlow, taking into consideration all the conditions, would certainly make it unlikely," Insp Peters said yesterday.

Nine boats, two planes and SES volunteers had scouring the coast.

In a statement, his family described the fit and healthy man, as an experienced sailor, who had sailing for over 45 years.

"Ian was our loved husband, father, and grandfather," they said.

"This tragedy has been devastating to us all.

"Ian was passionate about sailing catamarans and had been sailing for over 45 years. He was a very competent sailer and had owned several catamarans in his time.

"Sadly, Ian was just about to retire and had hoped to sail and travel a lot more."

The Shardlow family said they wanted to thank all the police and volunteers for their "untiring efforts to search for Ian."

Police have urged anyone who saw Mr Shardlow and his boat on Thursday to call CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.