The funeral of an Auckland man killed on board an ill-fated sea journey to Fiji will be held in Auckland today.

Auckland boat builder Nick Saull (47) died when he was struck by the yacht's rigging, and fellow Aucklander Stephen Forno (63), was washed overboard after their vessel encountered rough conditions about 550km north of New Zealand.

The body of Mr Forno has not been found.

The funeral of popular Hibiscus Coast boatbuilder and father-of-four Mr Saull was due to take place at the North Harbour QBE Stadium in Albany this afternoon.

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Both the families of Mr Saull and Mr Forno said they had been overwhelmed by the level of public interest in the tragedy with hundreds of mourners expected to attend today's service.

The Platino hit rough weather north of New Zealand at the time of the incident. Photo / Supplied
The Platino hit rough weather north of New Zealand at the time of the incident. Photo / Supplied

Mr Saull was a director of Gulf Harbour's Brin Wilson Boat Builders and was heavily involved in the community including the Red Beach Surf Life Saving Club and the Silverdale United Rugby and Sports Club.

Yesterday the Red Beach Surf Club paid tribute to their much-loved lifeguard with a guard of honour and a mass release of red and white balloons in his memory as they gathered in the water at Orewa Beach.

Yesterday (Sunday 26th) Red Beach Surf Club had a remembrance for Nick. The clouds and rain cleared and there were people everywhere. Wonderful and humbling experience, which totally overwhelmed me.

Posted by In memory of Nick Saull on Sunday, 26 June 2016

The crippled yacht Platino carrying Mr Saull's body returned to New Zealand last week.

Three other crew members who were unharmed in the ordeal,Tory and Brent McKeogh and friend Ross McKeewere, were rescued by a container ship in a dramatic mid-sea operation.