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Finnish yacht "Serena" abandoned off NW Spain arrived safely in Caribbean 6 months later

By Sue Richards — last modified Mar 17, 2014 03:03 PM
Contributors: Arja and Henrik Hankalahti
An incredible story as the Malo '50, Serena, abandoned off the coast of NW Spain mid- June, 2013, turns up off Martinique still floating and intact for Christmas!

Published: 2014-03-17 03:00:00
Topics: Messageboards , Safety and Medical
Countries: Martinique , Finland , Portugal , Spain , Grenada

Finnish yacht "Serena" abandoned off NW Spain arrived safely in Caribbean 6 months later

Yacht Serena, a Malo 50 (32ft)

For Arja and Henrik Hankalahti June 2013 was very upsetting and stressful. Not only did the Finnish couple have to abandon their much loved yacht "Serena" during a heavy storm off the coast of NW Spain on the 17th June, but the yacht could not be located after the EPIRB stopped transmitting on the 22nd June.

That is until they received an early Christmas present of valuables from on board collected by the French Navy who boarded Serena as she floated past Martinique 6 months later, having crossed the Atlantic alone.

Arja gives a short synopsis of the events that led up to them making the decision to abandon ship;

Finnish yacht "On the 17th June at 13.00 a huge wave demolished the doghouse and everything which was in the centre cockpit. We were also flushed in to the water, but luckily we had lifejackets on and life lines. 20 meter high waves continued flushing the centre cockpit and we had only one lifejacket left, 2 went into the water and one was damaged during the accident.

"After this, most of the electrical equipment on board started breaking down one by one. So we decided to ask for help. We set off our EPIRB and a helicopter rescued us after 8 hours struggling".

Finnish yacht Serena's EPIRB stopped sending signals on the 22nd June, however it seems the bilge pump continued to operate with power from the solar panels keeping her afloat all the way across the Atlantic.

Arja continues this incredible story; " Serena was seen by few cargo ships and the French Navy rescued our passports, laptops and a few other things off Martinique. We got these things just before Christmas, like the best present! They took also plenty of pictures and in the last pictures taken in December she looked good inside, only the outside was damaged.

"The masts were gone/broken and the sails had disappeared, but otherwise she was still quite a good looking grand old lady.

"We got an e-mail from Grenada Immigration notifying us that the boat was in Grenada on the 28th January 2014 - 7 months after she was abandoned. She liked the Caribbean so much, that she wanted to go back to Grenada!"

For the full story with photos, see Serena's blog at sy-serena.blogspot.com

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