Susie Goodall Rejects Marriage Proposal, Cleans Bottom, and Fixes Windvane in Longest Ever Hobart Stop in the Golden Globe Race

Susie Goodall had the longest film drop in Golden Globe Race (GGR) history, but she got a lot done on October 30, 2018, UTC. She swatted down a marriage proposal from a man she did not know, which was delivered by way of the race organizer Don McIntyre. She donned wetsuit, mask, and snorkel to clean barnacles off the bottom of her Rustler 36 sailing yacht. Then, she took off her Monitor windvane to make a 20-minute repair. GGR race headquarters worried that she would have to drop out of the race to obtain parts for her windvane, but the fix to its inner workings went more smoothly than expected.

In all, she spent twelve hours in Hobart at anchor. That was longer than the preceding three skippers in the solo-nonstop, unassisted race for 32-to-36-foot sailboats. The only woman and the youngest skipper at 29-years old is in fourth place in the race with only eight boats remaining.

Ten of the eighteen starters have dropped out the race. Most of the boats are less than halfway finished. Hobart is the psychological halfway point, but it is east of the international dateline which would be the halfway point in terms of lines of longitude. The 2018 Golden Globe Race sails from west to east in the stormy Southern Ocean south of Australia, the Cape of Good Hope, New Zealand, and Cape Horn.

Here is a summary from GGR race headquarters:

Looking fit and relaxed, she remained at anchor for 12 hours, using the opportunity to try and catch up on sleep before starting maintenance work on her boat at first light.


Susie Goodall in good form last night after arriving at the Hobart pit-stop in 4th place. Photo: Christophe Favreau/PPL/GGR

The barnacles were not nearly as bad as on Uku Randmaa’s boat One and All when the 3rd placed Estonian sailor passed through the Hobart film drop last Friday. “I keep going into the water to scrub the bottom each time I am becalmed, so it shouldn’t be too bad.” She explained before donning a wetsuit to dive on the hull. Two hours later, and at the cost of one scrubbing brush and snorkel, which had dropped to the bottom, Susie proclaimed the hull clean again.

Problems with her Monitor wind vane self-steering were thought to be more challenging, but after unbolting the system from the back of the boat, it took just 20 minutes to re-align the cogs so that it would self-steer the boat down wind again.

Recalling the adventure since starting this solo non-stop circumnavigation from Les Sables d’Olonne on July 1st, Goodall, the sole woman and youngest competitor in this race, joked: “The Indian Ocean has just been awful. The Pacific will be all blue skies and 25-knot winds behind me all the way to Cape Horn.”

It was the Southern Ocean storm experienced two weeks ago that remains most vivid. “That was brutal – It took me a week to recover! The seas were coming from four directions and I kept being knocked down. I was really struggling with the wind vane, which had been bent and would no longer steer downwind. I had to hand steer to keep the boat stern-to the waves, but even so, some waves would come and hit us side-on. Even after the big blow, I still got knocked down a couple more times by the confused swells.”

Lessons were learned, and as a result of that experience in 70-knot winds and 15-metre seas, Susie has changed here storm tactics. “Every storm is different, and before this one, I used to deploy a drogue to slow the boat down. I don’t know why, but in that last storm, I simply towed warps and hand-steered to keep the boat stern-to and it seemed better. My tactic had been to let the boat sail though it, but that time I couldn’t.”

Deprived of modern-day digital communications throughout this retro race, Susie did at least get the opportunity to chat live to her family back in the UK, thanks to one of her supporters holding up their iPad to provide a Facetime link home.

Thousands of well wishers  also sent her messages of good luck and many questions, some of which were read out to her. ‘Harry’ sent a proposal of marriage. “Prince Harry?” she inquired optimistically.

What have been the most challenging moment? Asked another. “Being becalmed”.

Is the ocean a friend or foe? “The ocean is a friend who turns on me now and again”

What have been the best parts of the voyage so far? There have been a lot of good parts – but passing the Cape of Good Hope was one highlight”

What has been the most useful gadget onboard? “A portable cassette player”

What do you miss most onboard? “Fresh food, my iPod and Kindle”

How much water do you still have? “A month’s supply – not enough to get to Cape Horn. I hope it rains.”

What will be your first meal when you return to Les Sables d’Olonne? “A big salad, fruit, a bowl of steamed broccoli, a pizza – and a glass of red wine.”

Latest positions at 08:00 UTC today 31.10.18

  Skipper Distance  to finish VMG during last 24 hours Approx. distance behind leader 
1 Jean- Luc VDH (FRA) Rustler 36 Matmut  9673   6.7 knots  0
2 Mark Slats (NED) Rustler 36 Ohpen Maverick  11687   5.5 knots   2014
3 Uku Randmaa (EST) Rustler 36 One and All   12577  4.7 knots   2904
4 Susie Goodall GBR) Rustler 36 DHL Starlight   13014   6.3 knots   3341
5 Istvan Kopar (USA)Tradewind 35 Puffin  13250   5.3 knots   3577
6 Tapio Lehtinen (FIN) Gaia 36 Asteria   13589   4.6 knots   3916
7 Mark Sinclair (Aus) Lello 34 Coconut  15920   2.5 knots   6247
8 Igor Zaretskiy (RUS) Endurance 35 Esmeralda  16482   1.2 knots   6870

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