British yachtswoman Susie Goodall was pitchpoled and dismasted in the Southern Ocean some 2,000 miles west of Cape Horn, Wednesday.
A distress signal was first picked up from her yacht by Falmouth Coastguard at 11:00 UTC, who then alerted Race Control and the Chilean Maritime Search and Rescue authorities responsible for this sector of the South Pacific.
Goodall, (29) from Falmouth UK, and the youngest competitor in the Golden Globe Race, was lying in 4th place at the time, riding out a ferocious storm with 60 knot winds and massive seas aboard her Rustler 36 yacht DHL Starlight.
In her last text message to Race Control received before the dismastig at 08:29 UTC, she reported . . .
TAKING A HAMMERING! WONDERING WHAT ON EARTH I’M DOING OUT HERE
In a subsequent message, received at 12:23 UTC, she wrote . . .
DISMASTED. HULL OK. NO FORM OF JURY RIG, TOTAL LOSS Position: 45′ 27.787 S 122′ 23.537 W.
After three attempts, Race HQ was able to raise Goodall on her emergency satellite phone when she confirmed:
“I have been dismasted. Thought I had holed the hull because the boat filled with water, but the hull is NOT holed. The hull is OK.
“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.”
Speaking with emotion, but sounding very much in control of her situation, Susie also confirmed that she had secured all hatches, portholes and safety equipment, and did NOT need immediate assistance.
She said that before the incident, she had been enjoying the conditions and felt in control. But then the safety tube on her Monitor self-steering broke and she was forced to trail a drogue anchor astern and take down the mainsail.
She was below decks 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 winds have since dropped down to 45 knots and conditions are likely to improve further as the storm continues to head East.
The Chilean Authorities have contacted a ship 480 miles SW of Goodall’s position and requested assistance. Her Captain expects to take two days to reach the area.