A yachtsman stranded for more than a day about 260km off the Northland coast is in "good health" after a dramatic rescue this afternoon.

The Norwegian man is aboard the MV Southern Lily cargo ship, which is due to arrive in Auckland today.

Friends and family of the stricken sailor have named him as Harald Solfjeld, a retired man who has been blogging about his travels around the Pacific Islands and French Polynesia.

Solfjeld's son, Oivind, has also posted on Facebook about his father getting rescued by the ship and being transported to Auckland.

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Snipp, snapp, snute... Pappa er nå trygt ombord i et container skip, på vei til Auckland, New Zealand....

Posted by Øivind Kjeldstadli Solfjeld on Sunday, 19 November 2017

"Dad is now safely aboard a container ship, heading to Auckland, New Zealand," he wrote.

"Coordination Centre confirms that he was picked up early this morning. There was bad weather in the area and the boat got hit by a rogue wave, which did damage to the boat and equipment ... We are now happy and relieved that he's safe."

Another friend also posted on Facebook about how relieved he was that his friend was now safe.

Vår pensjonerte kollega Harald Solfjeld ble reddet ved new Zealand i natt:

Posted by Odd Jarle Wathne on Sunday, 19 November 2017

A dramatic photo released by the New Zealand Defence Force shows the stricken sailor being hoisted up the side of ship by crew using ropes as life rings bob below him in the large swells.

Another crew member hangs precariously from a ladder by one hand while he helps to steady the Norwegian man.

The 12m Ilanga's electrical unit had caught fire and it had started to take on water through a window. Photo / NZDF
The 12m Ilanga's electrical unit had caught fire and it had started to take on water through a window. Photo / NZDF

Maritime New Zealand spokesman Vince Cholewa said the MV Southern Lily cargo ship and a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion arrived on the scene around 5.30pm.

"Conditions are quite rough so it's not straightforward. They've got a line between the yacht and the ship that they're using to transfer the yachtsman."

Cholewa said it was likely the man was transferred from vessel to vessel with a net.

The Lily had originally been expected to meet the sailor around midday, however the ship was held up by heavy seas.

The container ship MV Southern Lily also rescued three survivors from the stricken yacht Platino, above, in June last year. Photo / NZDF
The container ship MV Southern Lily also rescued three survivors from the stricken yacht Platino, above, in June last year. Photo / NZDF
Captain Shashi Prakash, who commanded the Southern Lily during the 2016 rescue of the Platino's crew. Photo / File
Captain Shashi Prakash, who commanded the Southern Lily during the 2016 rescue of the Platino's crew. Photo / File

The yachtsman set off a distress beacon after his boat Ilanga was damaged in high winds and heavy seas yesterday afternoon and had been stuck since then.

Earlier this afternoon search and rescue mission co-ordinator Dave Wilson, of the Rescue Coordination Centre, said a southerly wind in the area was blowing at around 55km/h and there is a 5m swell.

Wilson said the sailor was safe on board the damaged Ilanga.

Norwegian sailor Harald Solfjeld has been rescued after his yacht was struck by a rogue wave.
Norwegian sailor Harald Solfjeld has been rescued after his yacht was struck by a rogue wave.

A Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion had left this morning to help with the rescue, but had returned to Auckland due to rough conditions and launched again later in the afternoon.

The 12m-long Ilanga's electrical unit had caught fire and it had started to take on water through a window. The yacht no longer has navigation lights, but before the rescue the skipper had a handheld VHF radio which he turned off at times to time to save power. The yacht has a dinghy.

Air Commodore Darryn Webb said a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion oversaw today's rescue as the ships crew battled 25 knot winds and 3.5m swells.

It came a day after a Kiwi sailor was rescued 166km east of Norfolk Island.

"We are delighted that we were able to bring good news to the families of the two yachtsmen involved. I'd like to commend our crew and all those involved in these two successful search and rescue operations," Air Commodore Webb said.

Southern Lily captain Shashi Prakash and a Royal New Zealand Air Force squadron were awarded a certificate of achievement in the Search and Rescue Council awards for their rescue in June last year of three people from the boat Platino.

The Platino was damaged in heavy seas 550km off the Northland coast.

One of the five crew of Platino had died after being hit by the yacht's boom. Another was lost overboard.

An RNZAF Orion was in the region and arrived near Platino within 90 minutes of the distress alert.

The Southern Lily was diverted to assist, arriving 14 hours later.