Susie Goodall dismasted
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British yachtswoman Susie Goodall has been rescued from the Southern Ocean after a ‘ferocious’ storm left her Rustler 36, DHL Starlight dismasted.
The Golden Globe Race competitor was evacuated onto the Hong Kongregistered cargo ship, Tian Fu via a crane winch after waiting more than 50 hours for assistance.
The first the world knew of her successful rescue was via a message on Goodall’s Twitter account stating: ‘On the ship!!!’.
At the time of going to press, exact details of the evacuation hadn’t been released. The initial plan had been for the 29-year-old solo sailor to motor DHL Starlight up against the lee side of the cargo vessel, grab the hook from a deck crane and get lifted up by her life harness, but there were reports of problems with the yacht’s engine.
Goodall’s ordeal, some 2,000 miles west of Cape Horn, began on 5 December 2018 while sailing in 60-knot winds and seven-metre seas.
Her EPIRB was activated just after 1030 and was picked up by HM Coastguard’s National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham.
Goodall, who was in fourth place, had been battling the storm for more than 24 hours. Speaking to Race HQ she said: ‘I have been dismasted. The boat is destroyed. I can’t make up a jury rig. The only thing left is the hull and deck, which remain intact. We were pitchpoled and I was thrown across the cabin and knocked out for a while.’
Goodall, who after several knockdowns in the southern Indian Ocean had changed her storm tactics, favouring warps and hand steering over a drogue, said that before the dismasting she had felt ‘in control’. But then the safety tube on her Monitor self-steering broke and she was forced to trail a drogue astern and take down the mainsail. She was down below when the boat was pitchpoled, and when she returned on deck to assess the damage, found that the line attached to the drogue had parted.
The rescue operation was co-ordinated by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), Chile.
In a statement, Goodall’s family thanked all those involved, and said it was ‘with a heavy heart Susie left DHL Starlight to fend for herself, before she fills with water and rests on the Pacific Ocean floor.
‘DHL Starlight has been her home for the past few years; a faithful friend who stood up valiantly to all the elements, a guardian until their last moments together. ‘When she was younger, Susie loved doing somersaults on trampolines. We just never thought she’d do one in a boat,’ concluded the statement.
Goodall is the fourth Golden Globe Race entrant to be rescued due to their boat being dismasted.
There are now just five skippers left in the event, which is designed to celebrate the ‘Golden Age’ of sailing. Under the rules, all entrants must only use the same equipment used by Sir Robin Knox-johnston aboard Suhaili in the original 1968-69 race. Some exceptions have been made for safety reasons.
Current race leader, Jean-luc Van Den Heede, is predicting he will cross the finish line in Les Sables d’olonne, France on 23 January 2019.
Meanwhile, all skippers are now subject to a new rule banning position reporting over the HAM and SSB radio network after it transpired that some competitors were receiving daily position reports taken from the race’s Live Tracker, which organisers said went ‘against the spirit of the GGR.’
Entrants who receive GPS co-ordinates of entrants from the GGR Live tracker or AIS Marine Traffic will face a 48-hour time penalty for the first offence or disqualification for further offences.
ABOVE: Susie Goodall was in fourth position before dismasting INSET: A drogue was being trailed before DHL Starlight pitchpoled
ABOVE RIGHT: A crew member of the Tian Fu captured the moment Susie is winched to safety