The coastguard says wild seas made it extremely difficult to rescue the crew of four from a crippled yacht off Kaikoura on Saturday morning.
A large wave knocked out power and disabled the steering on the nine metre yacht Marguerite, en route from the Marlborough Sounds to Lyttelton just before 8am on Saturday.
Search and rescue coordinator Jack Kemp says the coastguard boat from Kaikoura found the yacht about two hours later drifting in five-metre breaking waves and 30 to 40 knot winds.
Two sailors were taken to Kaikoura hospital by ambulance. The skipper had a suspected broken wrist and the woman had a fish hook in her right buttock.
The yacht was later recovered by the coastguard and taken to Kaikoura.