Louis Jordan
US sailor Louis Jordan was rescued by a German tanker after being lost at sea for 66 days (Twitter @lizpalka)

A sailor who was missing at sea for more than two months has been rescued from his incapacitated boat, around 200 miles from the North Carolina coast.

Louis Jordan set sail with his boat, Angel, on 23 January from Bucksport Plantation Marina in Conway, South Carolina. But the 37-year-old was reported missing by his father, Frank Jordan on 29 January.

Jordan was rescued by Houston Express, a passing German tanker who found him sitting on the hull of his overturned 1950s era, single-masted sailboat. The sailor was hoisted to safety by a helicopter and transported to a hospital in Norfolk, Virginia.

In an emotional conversation with his father following his rescue, Jordan apologised for the loss of his boat. "I couldn't fix it, I couldn't sail back with my boat — I'm so sorry, it's such a huge loss," Jordan said.

His father replied: "Hey Louis, you're fine, son, I'm so glad that you're alive. We prayed and prayed and we hoped that you were still alive. So, that's all that matters."

It is not yet known how Jordan's vessel capsized, but tributes were paid to his resilience.

"Obviously his family is overjoyed to see him after such a long time out there," said Coast Guard Lieutenant Krysten Pecora. "I just attribute that to his strength and willingness to live and keep on going," she added.

Jordan told the coast guard that he was able to survive through a combination of rationing food that he had packed, catching fish with his hands and drinking rain water, which proved particularly challenging.

"I had tried to collect (rain)water… but every time the waves would splash into the boat," Jordan said. "The waves would put saltwater into my freshwater and it tasted bad.

"Finally the conditions were right. I filled up my water tank, which is 25 gallons. I filled up a bucket."

Lieutenant Pecora hailed Mr Jordan's feat as "pretty remarkable".