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Solo yachtswoman awaits cargo ship rescue amid poor weather

Solo yachtswoman awaits cargo ship rescue amid poor weather

A British solo yachtswoman drifting in the Southern Ocean in the wreckage of her boat is waiting to be rescued by a cargo ship which is planning to winch her to safety. Susie Goodall was injured when her yacht flipped over and was dismasted two days ago as she took part in a round-the-world race.…

A British solo yachtswoman drifting in the Southern Ocean in the wreckage of her boat is waiting to be rescued by a cargo ship which is planning to winch her to safety.

Susie Goodall was injured when her yacht flipped over and was dismasted two days ago as she took part in a round-the-world race.

Goodall is 2,000 miles from Cape Horn and a cargo ship that was sailing from China to Argentina has diverted to rescue her, and is expected to reach her on Friday.

The master of the vessel, the Tian Fu, said he would not be able to launch a recovery boat and his plan was to lift Goodall by crane winch. Organisers of the Golden Globe Race are worried that this will not work and are speaking to Chilean search-and-rescue authorities, who are co-ordinating the operation, to find an alternative plan.

It is not clear when the cargo ship will reach Goodall’s position. She has been told to switch on her search-and-rescue transponder, which will allow the cargo ship to pinpoint her position. But the seas are still rough, with 5m-high waves, and the weather is poor.

Goodall, the youngest competitor and only woman in the 30,000-mile Golden Globe Race, suffered cuts and bruises in the wreck. She has not been able to hold down any food or drink and feels quite weak, possibly because of sea sickness.

Messages received from Goodall to race headquarters revealed that she was upset to be out of the race and desperate for a cup of tea.

She wrote in a series of bulletins: “Totally and utterly gutted … This motion is just horrible! Clinging on in my bunk … In need of a good cuppa tea! But sadly no cooker.”

On Wednesday, day 157 of her attempted circumnavigation, Goodall’s 11m (35ft) boat flipped over and broke its mast in the storm while she was below deck.

Water filled the hull and Goodall, 29, from Falmouth in Cornwall, initially thought the boat had been holed. But she confirmed the hull was intact, the boat managed to right itself, and she told race control she did not need immediate assistance.

The race is a back-to-basics event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s historic first solo non-stop circumnavigation. Eighteen skippers set out in boats similar to those sailed by Knox-Johnston, which are not equipped with modern technology or satellite-based navigation aids.

Goodall was in fourth place at the time, fighting for a podium finish but riding out a ferocious storm with 60-knot winds and massive seas.

In a text message to race control at 8.29am on Wednesday, she reported: “Taking a hammering! Wondering what on earth I’m doing out here!”

At 12.23pm she wrote: “Dismasted, hull OK. No form of jury rig [makeshift repairs], total loss” and gave the coordinates for her position.

After three attempts, race HQ was able to raise Goodall on her emergency satellite phone, when she confirmed: “We were pitchpoled [rolled end over end] and I was thrown across the cabin and knocked out for a while.”

Goodall does not know exactly why she pitchpoled, but it is thought the boat may have surfed down the face of a huge wave and catapulted over. She had been collecting sea water for experiments and the glass bottles containing her samples were smashed in the incident, making conditions even more difficult and dangerous.

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