Elderly Auckland couple rescued from yacht after night off Whangarei

An elderly Auckland couple have been rescued after spending a night with their yacht, stuck on rocks more than 16 kilometres off the coast of Whāngārei.

The pair, in their 70s, had been sailing from the Bay of Islands to Whāngārei when they ran into trouble on Saturday night.

They were taken to Whangarei Hospital and assessed for minor injuries and are expected to make a full recovery after being rescued from the rocks in the early hours of Monday morning.

Their boat was left to break up on the rocks near Taiharuru, but the successful mission wasn't the first rescue attempt.

Emergency services were alerted to the distressed yacht early Sunday morning which was struggling to cope in the high seas and was low on fuel.

The conditions were too dangerous to winch the couple to safety after two attempts to get the couple out. 

When the crew left the couple headed toward the Poor Knights Islands - but the couple made what rescuers consider a poor decision and tried to make it back to Whāngārei.

Hours later, a rescue attempt was made in the middle of the night - a welcome relief after days at sea and a lucky escape that could have ended a lot worse.