Brothers rescued after yacht runs into trouble off Kiama

Two brothers have been reunited with loved ones - and treated for hypothermia - after their boat capsized in "horrendous" conditions off North Bombo on Sunday afternoon. 

Greg and Brad Thornton got into trouble after they lost the rudder on their 14-foot sail boat in rough seas, rendering it uncontrollable. 

"[There were] two of us on board so there was plenty of weight, but when we got out there we capsized a couple of times," Greg, 57, told the Mercury.

"When it got ugly was when we lost the rudder, if you lose the rudder on a boat you can't steer it and basically you're at the mercy of the weather.

 "We just had to de-rig the boat as best we could and then a squall came through and then we got the sail off."

Greg, from Gerringong, said he and his 54-year-old brother, from Sydney, became separated in the water. 

"That's pretty dangerous. We had to get together again, so we sacrificed the sail," he said.

"We got to the boat, hung onto the boat and that was it, we just waited to get to shore.  

"We were lucky it was an onshore breeze, not an offshore breeze or we would have been in New Zealand."

The men weren't able to raise the alarm themselves.

"Our wives knew that we were out there, they were watching us, and when they saw that we couldn't get the boat upright, they raised the alarm," he said. 

"We can't raise the alarm ourselves, because we didn't have that sort of gear. We did what we could."

Emergency services were called to reports of a boat overturned and persons in the water about 3.30pm.

NSW Ambulance Inspector Kelvin Milne said the men were rescued by surf lifesavers on two jet skis, with the assistance of a surf rescue boat and a rescue helicopter. 

"They were loaded up with two jet ski operators and the patients were brought in [to Kiama Harbour]," Inspector Milne said.

"The conditions were quite horrendous out there and the surf rescue jet boat was responded. 

"The patients were transferred across in the open ocean, across to the jet boat and thus brought to the harbour." 

The NSW Ambulance helicopter from Albion Park also responded to the incident.

"The jet ski riders were on scene before the helicopter arrived and thus they [the helicopter crew] followed the jet skis and the boat in to make sure they got in safely," he said.

Both men were wearing lifejackets and wetsuits.

"They had all the right gear and the right equipment with them," Inspector Milne said. 

Back on dry land, the pair were assessed by paramedics for hypothermia.

They were then able to embrace their wives and walk away from the ordeal, leaving the very surf boat that rescued them to retrieve their stricken yacht. 

"We're very thankful for the emergency services, they responded very quickly," Greg said.

"It was pretty wild out there, the waves were huge."