Rescue ship reaches solo yachtswoman, operation will be tricky
Solo yachtswoman Susie Goodall has been rescued by a cargo ship in the Southern Ocean after a storm wrecked her boat as she competed in a round-the-world race.
The British sailor was around 2,000 miles west of South America on Wednesday when a brutal storm lashed her boat with 60-knot winds. Goodall, who is the only woman and the youngest competitor in the Golden Globe Race, was knocked out and injured in the storm.
A cargo ship bound for Argentina from China was diverted to rescue the 29-year-old. It was still dark when it arrived ahead of schedule on Friday, but Goodall was able to spot the 38,000-ton boat by its lights, race officials said.
Goodall made it on the ship hours after. “Thanks to all involved and the Master and Crew of the TIAN FU!!! Fantastic news,” race organizers said on Facebook.
The Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre of Chile (MRCC) tweeted an image of Goodall’s rescue, which showed her being lifted into the ship by a crane.
Organizers previously said there had been complications in the plan to rescue her. She was originally planned to motor her yacht alongside the ship before harnessing herself onto one of the ship’s cranes and be lifted out.
But her boat’s engine test failed, the race organizers said on Facebook, which meant that the 623-foot-long cargo ship had to “maneuver” itself and “meet Susie.”
The skipper has also been suffering physically from the ordeal. Race officials said in a statement that she has been resting in her bunk and has been able to “keep some water down.”
Before the storm hit, Goodall was in fourth place on her 157th day at sea and past the halfway point in the non-stop, 30,000-mile race.
“One wave mounted on top of another,” causing her yacht to flip from stern over bow, the race’s spokesman, Barry Pickthall, told CNN on Thursday.
“I was thrown across the cabin and knocked out for a while,” Goodall, who is a sailing instructor, wrote to organizers on her communications equipment after the wreck. She added it left her “beaten up and badly bruised.”
“The only thing left is the hull and deck which remain intact,” she said of losing the mast and rigging on her 35-foot boat, DHL Starlight.
Of the race’s 18 competitors, four were forced out of the running by broken masts and nine others left for personal reasons — “[many] weren’t prepared properly,” Pickthall said.
The tough competition marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968-1969 Sunday Times-sponsored Golden Globe Race, in which Robin Knox-Johnston became the first person in the world to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the globe.
Goodall has endured a sailor’s nightmare, but has managed to retain her composure. In one of her messages to the organizers following the wreck, she wrote: “In need of a good cuppa tea!”