No one was on-board a boat belonging to missing sailor William Kerry Blair, police say.
Police and the navy frigate HMNZS Wellington reached Blair's missing vessel more than 200 kilometres off the Taranaki Coast last night.
Officers boarded the Erie despite 10 metre swells, but found no one on the 9-metre boat.
A police spokesperson said there was no immediate indication as to what had happened to Blair.
The 55-year-old has not been heard from since he left Erie Bay, in Tory Channel in the Marlborough Sounds, about 4pm on March 8.
His boat was last seen near Cape Jackson about 5.30pm that day.
Blair's younger brother, Peter Blair, yesterday told Fairfax Media that the family were feeling "frustrated and exhausted".
"We know they have procedure to go through but it would have been nice if the boat had gone out four or five days ago before the storm."
Police said the HMNZS Wellington would attempt to tow the Erie to New Plymouth, but it was unlikely to happen today because of rough sea conditions.
The boat would be examined in detail once it was back in port to "try and find some indication as to what has happened", the spokesperson said.
Police were currently reviewing the search for Blair.