However, its partnership with Susie Goodall will take the global forwarder to unchartered waters. Here we explain exactly what the race entails, get Susie’s thoughts on its challenges and discover what makes DHL the perfect partner.
The original round the world race was held in 1969 and was won by legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston in his boat ‘Suhaili’ – one of the smallest vessels to enter the contest. At the time, it was a feat many believed impossible, but for Sir Robin, who was entered into the race by The Sunday Times, it wasn’t a concern. He said, “I was so focused on doing it, I didn’t even think about it … you’re thinking practically all the time.”
The 2018 version keeps to both the rules and the spirit of its predecessor. It is a non-stop solo round the world race that begins on the French coast before heading through the Atlantic and then east, passing through the five Great Capes of the Southern Hemisphere. The racers will return to France around 300 days and 30,000 miles later.
On route, the sailors will stop at just two ‘Rendezvous Gates’ – here they can talk to family and friends from the boat, but they are not allowed to set foot ashore.
What makes this race truly daunting is that the competitors must compete almost exactly as they did 50 years ago. Their boats must pay homage to the vessels of yesteryear, and be crafted from wood and varnish.
Sailors must navigate using the stars and sun, paper charts and a sextant – no GPS is allowed on board. The smartphone is also consigned to dry land; the skippers will use long range HAM radios instead of satellites.
"How do you prepare for that? There is no rule book."
Susie Goodall is a 27 year-old Englishwoman and the only female contestant in the 2018 Golden Globe Race. She started sailing at the age of 3, bought her first dinghy when she was 11, and has never known another occupation. This race is the realization of a lifelong ambition, she says, “Sailing around the world – it’s something I’ve dreamed about for over 20 years ….”
It is the extraordinary mental strength required for this unique event that excites her most, “… the isolation, the extremes of weather that will be faced, and all on your own. Every challenge, whether it’s cooking dinner at an angle or changing the headsail in 50 knots of breeze, is totally up to you. Every obstacle is your decision, your choice of how you are going to get through it, no one to blame but yourself.”
However she is pragmatic about the trials ahead, “One of the biggest challenges is going to be being alone for 250 odd days. How do you prepare for that? There is no rule book.”
Although an experienced yachtswoman, she is aware of the risks of circumnavigating the globe single-handedly. She explains, “To prepare for every scenario that may happen in the race, whether it’s holing the hull or losing a rig or inverting – going through all that beforehand – I may not have done it physically but I’ve done it in my mind. I know the steps I will take.”
Susie spent the Winter of 2017 getting training miles under her (life)belt and, following a complete refurbishment of her 'little Rustler', is now hitting the waves in earnest.
"Can-do is exactly what this race is about."
So why are DHL supporting this brave young woman on what seems like a highly dangerous and extremely arduous adventure? Susie says, “From many points of view, it’s such a perfect fit. The year I come back will be the year they celebrate their 50th. They’re such a global company. And this is such a global event.”
CEO of DHL Express Ken Allen adds, “The spirit and ethos of DHL just matches the spirit and ethos of this race. We both set sail in the late 60s and our desire to reach every corner of our planet is something we both share ….”
But from Susie’s point of view DHL also offer a much more practical partnership: ”I’ve never stacked a boat for 9 months so to have experts like DHL to help with this sort of thing is amazing.”
Susie recognizes that the positive mental energy she will need to conquer this feat of endurance is also something she has in common with her supporting partner, “I feel so lucky to have a company like DHL. I’m so excited to work with them. Their attitude of can-do is exactly what this race is about.”
If you want to follow Susie's progress, then check out the official race tracker here.