The volunteers onboard Padstow's RNLI lifeboat were called away from an exercise on Wednesday night to go to the aid of a capsized yacht.
The crew were in Harlyn Bay when they picked up a mayday distress call from a nine-metre yacht half a mile off Trevose Head.
The crew found two yachtsmen had been washed overboard and while one had managed to get back on the boat, which had righted itself, the second had been swept towards Trevose Head.
In difficult conditions the lifeboat crew managed to get two men across to the yacht to assist the skipper.
The second sailor was rescued after a short search.
Both were taken to hospital by a helicopter from RNAS Culdrose.