Susie Goodall prepares for the 2018 Golden Globe

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She dreamed of embarking on global voyages while enjoying sailing holidays with her family as a child, and now years later Susie Goodall is preparing her boat for what has been billed as the toughest race on earth.

The Golden Globe will see take on a host of other sailors on an epic journey from France to South America – via Australia – and back again, and is expected to take around nine months to complete.

She is the first woman to take part in the 30,000 mile race and – at 28 – is also the youngest ever participant.

Here, she writes for Sky News about what it feels like to be about to embark on a challenge few would ever even consider attempting.

Sailing has always been a huge part of my life.

I first started sailing when I was three.

I don’t really remember those early years but as I got older, every holiday was on a boat somewhere – usually hopping across the channel – while most weekends I spent racing.

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Her boat will have to endure a nine-month voyage

I grew up hearing about the Golden Globe Race, a non-stop solo circumnavigation of the world which had never been done before.

It was set up in 1968, just to prove whether or not it was even humanly possible.

It had a simple premise – the first to cross the finish line without stopping or using outside assistance claimed the prize.

Of the nine competitors that entered, only one finished – Sir Robin Knox-Johnston.

So, the moment I heard about the 2018 Golden Globe Race, the 50th anniversary of that race, I knew I wanted to do it.

I’m the youngest competitor in the race and the only female too.

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Susie has loved sailing and boats since childhood

Making my decision to go was the easy part, apart from telling my friends and family of course which was a little more tricky.

I drip-fed them the information about the race rather than telling them straight away I would be alone and out of contact for nine months.

The next three years which followed have been the hard part so far with so many hurdles to overcome before you even cross the start line.

But I don’t think the race is going to be a breeze either!

I have no idea how I will cope with the lack of human contact or what it will truly feel like when I’m in a low place and want to go home.

I’ve been planning what to take with me – it’s all about the music.

I can only use cassette tapes so I will miss modern music, although I have recorded some songs onto them as well as audio books.

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All of the boats used in the race will be borderline classic

To match the challenges they faced in 1968, we will not be allowed to use GPS.

So all navigation will be done entirely by traditional means. No smartphone, no mod-cons.

Just solo sailing with a sextant, a traditional type of navigation instrument, and my charts.

In the spirit of the original race, the boats are all borderline classic.

Certainly not the 60ft, multimillion-dollar machines of today.

All boats approved for the race are long-keeled, rudders attached to the trailing edge and designed prior to 1988.

My boat is a Rustler 36 called DHL Starlight. She has just undergone a major refit so, despite her age, feels like new.

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There can be no modern technology among the supplies

A lot of major modifications were made during the refit to prepare her for the Southern Ocean and comply with race rules.

There are now two bulkheads, one fitted with a watertight door and the forward one cuts off the bow section and is foam filled.

A new Selden mast and rigging and also a solid spray hood and completely watertight companionway hatch are just a few of the major modifications.

After nine months of refit she was relaunched with new red and yellow colours.

But my safety equipment is more up to date than the 1968 competitors had.

Not only will I have a better high frequency radio, I will also have a satellite phone.

The satellite communications are for safety only, so there’s no chance of calling home whenever I just fancy a chat.

I’ll have an EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon station), echomax and an emergency GPS with me.

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Susie has worked hard to secure sponsorship for the race

But, if I use them I’ll be automatically disqualified.

The race begins in Les Sable D’Olonne, France on 1 July.

There will be 18 entrants in total, with all of us taking approximately nine months to complete the race.

The route takes us east around the world, down the Atlantic, leaving the Canary Islands and Cape Verde islands to starboard, rounding Cape of Good Hope and on towards southern Australia and into Storm Bay in Tasmania where there is a gate where I can hand over letters and things.

Even then we won’t be able to have anyone come on board or receive anything from them, but we must hover for a total of 90 minutes.

And then we continue on to Cape Horn and back up the Atlantic on the homeward leg back to France.



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