The damaged yacht Beau Geste is safely anchored off Norfolk Island's capital Kingston after being forced to pull out of the Auckland to Noumea yacht race.

The yacht suffered hull and decking damage 100 nautical miles (185km) east of the island during rough weather last night.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand search and rescue mission coordinator Neville Blakemore said all 18 members of the crew were safe and well ashore and in good spirits.

The 24-metre Beau Geste sought assistance from the centre about 7pm yesterday, and officials arranged for the yacht to be accompanied by the fishing vessel Advance 2 as it made its way to Norfolk Island.


Beau Geste is now anchored off Kingston Jetty, where its damage will be assessed because the capital has no port or marina.

"It would have been a long night for the crew, in difficult conditions, but the boat has made safe anchorage under its own power,'' said Mr Blakemore.

"A support vessel was on hand throughout the night in case the crew had had to abandon ship.''

The crew is made up of New Zealanders, Australians, Chinese and one American.

Mr Blakemore described them as an experienced crew of racers and said remaining on board the damaged yacht while help arrived was the best course of action.

The skipper contacted the rescue centre about 7pm yesterday and have been in regular communication via satellite phone.

The race organisers website describes it as "a category 1 offshore yacht race and cruise rally from Auckland and Brisbane to Noumea, New Caledonia''.