German 53-footer towed to safety 36 hours after start
The German yacht Auliana II, a one-off Joubert Nivelt 53 design, lost its rudder early yesterday morning, just 36 hours after the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers started off Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on 22 November. Skipper Christian Potthoff-Sewing, from Bielefeld in Germany and his seven crew members were safely ashore in Arguineguin, Gran Canaria, late Monday evening.
The yacht lost its rudder at 0400 Monday morning some 70 miles southwest of Gran Canaria. The exact cause of the breakage is unknown, though the on-watch crew doesn’t think that the yacht struck any debris in the water.
Unable to make steerage back toward Gran Canaria, the skipper contacted MRCC Las Palmas at 0600 on Monday, requesting assistance with a tow. At around noon, a lifeboat from the Spanish Maritime Rescue Service (Salvamento Maritima) was on station and the tow was soon underway. However, owing to the increasing wind strength (between 20 and 28 knots) and direction of the swell, the towing line repeatedly pulled deck cleats off the lightweight racing yacht.
With the daylight fading, the entire crew was evacuated from the yacht as a safety measure, though attempts to tow the yacht continued. The salvage crew was unable to secure a line to the deck-stepped mast, and after several more frustrating attempts, the decision was made to abandon the yacht and return the crew ashore.
The yacht is fitted with a Yellowbrick Iridium satellite tracker and its position is being monitored by MRCC Tenerife, as attempts continue to salvage the yacht.