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Photo: Andrey Zashibis Tkachenko/ MV Tian Fu/GGR/PPL

After a tense 50 hour vigil, HM Coastguard received the welcome news that former Isle of Wight sailing instructor Susie Goodall, British Skipper of ‘DHL Starlight’, had been safely rescued by the MV ‘Tian Fu’ just before 15:30 today (Friday).

The dramatic rescue operation unfolded just after 10:30 on Wednesday when HM Coastguard’s MCC (Mission Control Centre) in Fareham picked up an EPIRB distress alert from Susie’s vessel ‘DHL Starlight’, some 2,200nm off the coast of Chile whilst competing in the Golden Globe Yacht Race.

Keeping in constant contact via sat phone communications Susie was able to inform Golden Globe Yacht Race HQ that the vessel “pitch polled” (rolled end over end) and was dismasted during severe weather of 7m seas and high winds.

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MRCC Chile (the Chilean Coastguard) led the search and rescue operation and immediately called upon 2 nearby vessels to divert their course and go to Susie’s aid.

During the tense wait, Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre and the National Maritime Operations Centre in Fareham also kept a vigil over Susie’s situation and was in regular liaison with the Chilean authorities and Golden Globe Race HQ.

The MV ‘Tian Fu’ – a Hong Kong flagged vessel – reached Susie’s vessel at approx. 13:15 (UTC) today and Susie reported via Satphone text ‘ON THE SHIP!!!’ about 15:30.  This news was confirmed by Golden Globe Race HQ and MRCC Chile a few minutes later.

She was reported to be in good spirits and uninjured, despite her ordeal.

The MV ‘Tian Fu’ is continuing its journey to Punta Arenas where Susie will disembark.

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Ian Guy, Duty Controller for HM Coastguard said:

“This was a very demanding long range rescue which was made even more complex because it was taking place 2,000nm off Cape Horn. During this period, Susie was at the mercy of 7m seas and severe weather and it’s a credit to her that she remained in good spirits during this tense wait.  Whilst this was happening, HM Coastguard remained in continuous contact with MRCC Chile and Golden Globe Race HQ.

“In this weather and at this range, it was vital that we provided as much assistance as possible to the lead agency MRCC Chile, and we maintained a watchful eye over the situation for updates via satellite phone. Our priority is to protect life at sea and we will always do everything possible to provide assistance for a mariner in need.

“In the event we can’t get there ourselves, we do our best to identify someone who can which is exactly what we did in this case. Only two vessels responded to the Mayday Relay broadcast that was issued – largely as a result of the remote area the incident was in – and in the end Susie was rescued by the MV ‘Tian Fu’ who had diverted its course to provide assistance.  Although this must have been harrowing for Susie, this is a superb example of international co-operation and we would like to thank Golden Globe Race HQ, MRCC Chile, MV ‘Tian Fu’, MV ‘Talimen’, and all those who have played their part in bringing this rescue to a textbook and safe conclusion.”

Don McIntyre, Golden Globe Race Chairman and Race Founder said:

“While that first phone call from HM Coastguard is always a bit of a shock, it is great to now look back at a very professional operation by an international team led by MRCC Chile and the Master and crew of the MV ‘Tian Fu’ ending with a successful outcome, Susie Goodall safely winched aboard ship.  We will always be grateful for the efforts of all in this challenging situation.”

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