Five teenage sailors have been plucked from Wellington Harbour, after their yachts capsized as a strong southerly front swept into the capital.

The teens, aged 14 and 15, were training around midday when the wind turned and toppled the three yachts, throwing them into the sea.

The young sailors were plucked from the water by their coaching team, who were on board a speedboat.

One of the sailors told Newstalk ZB it all happened very quickly when the weather turned.

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Police were called to Evans Bay about 12.15pm after the five small yachts were struck by the southerly - three of these capsized.

The Police Maritime Unit assisted in the rescue of 10 people, a number of whom had been in the water for about 10 minutes.

All were wearing wetsuits and lifejackets.

The young sailors were plucked from the water by their coaching team, onboard a speedboat. Photo / Katrina Bennett
The young sailors were plucked from the water by their coaching team, onboard a speedboat. Photo / Katrina Bennett

A police spokesman said everyone on board the yachts had been accounted for and were now safely on shore.

The yachts had also been towed back to shore, one at Baleana Bay, and one at Shelly Bay.

MetService duty forecaster Sarah Garlick said wind gusts in the area at the time of the boats capsizing were about 70 to 80km/h.

"That strong wind was probably a factor with those boats."

Garlick said as well as the wind, small hailstones, lightning and thunder were also passing over the capital.

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The forecaster said the worst of the stormy front was moving through Upper Hutt early in the afternoon, though many in the city would still be experiencing a fair bit of wind and rain until later in the day.

She expected most of the wet weather to clear from the capital by tomorrow afternoon.
Garlick said the wind would ease off this evening and any remaining showers should clear by tomorrow afternoon.

She said a severe thunderstorm watch was also in place for Nelson and Marlborough this afternoon.

Garlick said the area worst affected by the heavy rain and gale force winds was likely to be Marlborough.

She advised those out and about to keep up to date with the latest forecast.