In mid-September the German yacht "Milu" with its home port of Düsseldorf was abandoned a good 160 nautical miles northwest of Coruñan on the Spanish Atlantic coast. The crew - the owner, his partner and a fellow sailor - were picked up by a helicopter belonging to the Spanish Coast Guard after they were supposed to jump into the water for the rescue. After a collision the night before, the sailors could not stop a water ingress on the 13.90 meter long Van de Stadt Norman 40 made of steel.
Owner and skipper Michael Hunsdiek describes the events:
"On September 14th, we, a crew of three, ran in Portland / UK from the direction of the Azores / São Miguel. The weather was good: clear winds with 3 to 4 Beaufort Windwreher gave.
We ran towards the continental shelf to transition into the deep water area. We observed the weather with the Furuno weather fax, which is displayed directly on the plotter. For this we used the Bonito analysis program: MeteoCom 6 with its own shortwave antenna. The barograph, air and water temperature were also observed.
The video of the Spanish sea rescuers shows how the sailors jump from board into the water to be picked up from the water by the helicopter crew
On 09/16 the wind increased steadily. The weather information showed us a strong storm low in the Azores, which seemed to intensify into a hurricane, as well as two small strong lows directly behind. I decided to change the course from 242 degrees, which would have led us directly in the direction of the storm, to 175 degrees in order to approach the northern Spanish city of Coruña. We took the Genuweg and reefed the main in the third reef. After that, the speed was still 6.5 knots.
The 'Milu' worked its way through the cross waves, it was a pitch-dark new moon night. There was one or two noises - it was a dull noise, possibly from a floating container or something else that did not match the others. We immediately checked all the bilges, but they were dry. The automatic bilge pumps were green.
In the morning at 10 a.m. on September 17th. the pumps started. The check showed: water in the bilge. I went outside to operate both hand pumps as well. All crew members were busy moving water outside.
It couldn't be exactly where it came from. The rough direction only: starboard amidships and starboard aft. We succeeded in lowering the water level, but it didn't take long and it started to slow again. In addition, the first automatic pump got out. It could not be started again.
We installed a spare pump that worked all the time. Despite all the pumps, the water grew steadily.
We were about 160 nautical miles from Coruñ.