Susie Goodall's Rustler 36 has undergone a major refit ahead of the Golden Globe Race, as Sue Pelling discovers


Susie Goodall, 28, is the only female sailor signed up for next year’s Golden Globe Race.

She said she wanted a good, seaworthy yacht that could be adapted to suit her needs.

The Rustler 36 was always her first choice and so she was delighted when she took ownership of the 1995-built Ariadne, which has now been renamed DHL Starlight.

Susie Goodall DHL Starlight Rustler 36

It will be hard to miss Susie’s red and yellow boat. Credit: Theo Stocker

Goodall said the time spent on the boat while crossing the Atlantic in 2017 was invaluable: ‘I discovered everything that leaks and all the problems with the boat, including the toe-rail deck fitting seals which were letting water in. All the deck fittings have come off; some have been replaced because they were so corroded. The toe-rails were taken off and resealed. The boat has basically had a re-build.;

The 22-year-old deck-stepped mast has now been replaced with a new keel-stepped Selden mast.

The windows inside a Rustler 36

The new windows are smaller for security in extreme conditions. Credit: Sue Pelling

“Thanks to Selden I have new rigging and have switched from single to twin spreaders for extra stiffness. I was going to add a second forestay, and backstay and an extra set of shrouds but Selden tell me the specs for the new rig is well above the safety line anyway,’ she said.

With safety a key concern and the thinking behind her ideas based on whether the boat can withstand a Southern Ocean roll, it has been the superstructure has been significantly modified.

Continues below…

As well as adding extra buoyancy at the bow by completely glassing in the anchor locker and filling it with foam, and adding a new bulkhead into the fo’c’sle with a watertight door, the companionway has been totally re-vamped.

‘The companionway was something I was really worried about on my Atlantic trip because I knew if I had a serious knockdown the washboard would have come out the boat would have essentially just filled up.

‘The new-look submarine entrance – which I will climb down into – is going to have a Perspex hatch to make it 100 per cent sealed.’

Susie Goodall

Susie Goodall is the only woman taking part in the race. Credit: Sue Pelling

Goodall has also chosen to replace the windows. ‘The standard windows on the Rustler are great because they are big and give plenty of light when cruising but for what I am doing it is a massive weakness so all four of them have been completely glassed in and replaced with smaller versions.

‘Also I had three deck hatches but one has been glassed in because I don’t need it.’

Gary Colwell, one of the engineers working full time on the boat, said like all re-fits it is never that straight-forward: ‘Glassing up the windows and replacing them with smaller versions was a bigger job than in sounds because to fill the ‘holes’ where the old ones came out, we had to first graft in new glassfibre.

Susie Goodall's Rustler 36

The toe rails have been removed, resealed and rebolted. Credit: Sue Pelling

‘It wasn’t a case of just cutting out an insert and glassing it in because it would have just popped out when the first wave hit.’

Re-sealing the toe rails was also a major job because to reach the fittings, all the internal locker joinery had to be removed.

Colwell continued: ‘Although we managed to re-claim the actual toe rail, the fixings were right under the deck behind everything. We basically had to strip everything out, seal the deck and then replace with all new bolts.’