A rescue attempt will be made on Sunday morning to help a 12m yacht in distress near the Whangārei Harbour entrance.
The vessel issued a mayday call around 6pm Saturday after it encountered steering problems in severe weather.
Coastguard's Tutukākā Rescue and Whangārei's Circa Rescue, as well as a rescue helicopter, attempted to help last night but were prevented by 5.5m swells.
Coastguard operations manager Ray Burge says 6m swells prevented a rescue when the vessel issued a distress call last night.
"They were not in a position to be able to tow the vessel to safety… the conditions were pretty trying."
Conditions have now calmed, but the yacht has run out of fuel and drinking water.
Another rescue attempt will be made at first light when a helicopter will be sent out to confirm the vessel's position.
A Coastguard Northern Region spokesperson says the Marine Rescue Centre has been in contact with the pair throughout the night and they're both okay.