A yacht to borrow, a tug out to shore and hot meals were among the gestures of support offered to the couple whose yacht home beached at Ruakaka in Northland.

Retired sailor Geoff Phillips, 77, said he was "blown away" by people's generosity since he and his wife Aylin lost most of their possessions when their yacht grounded on Saturday morning.

"It's just marvellous ... people have taken us into their homes and fed us, everybody is trying to help."

After several failed attempts to refloat the yacht, it was likely to be broken up on the spot and taken to the junkyard.


Mr Phillips said there was no shortage of offers to help pull the boat back out to sea, but because of damage to the hull there was no guarantee it would stay afloat.

"It breaks our heart, but we have now been advised we should break her up on the beach ...

"It was just an idiot moment," he said of the yacht's grounding.

Mr Phillips had been trying to help his wife who was in a dinghy but got stuck in the shallow water. He said the vessel was their home with all their personal belongings inside.

The experienced sailor had set out from Australia in 2001 to sail around the world, but after a tour around New Zealand he decided to make himself at home.

"We have been living on the boat for the past five or six years. It was the most comfortable place that we'd filled with our personal belongings ... it was our baby, our home."

The couple had third party insurance and their contents were not covered, meaning they'd have to start again from scratch.

He said the yacht's grounding had made him realise now might be the time to make a new home on dry ground.