Kirsten Neuschäfer has made history by becoming the first woman to win the solo around-the-world Golden Globe Race 2022. The 39-year-old sailor from Gqeberha in South Africa crossed the finish line off Les Sables-d’Olonne in France on Thursday night, April 27, 2023, after spending nearly 235 days alone at sea in her boat, Minnehaha.
The race, which started on September 4, 2022, from Les Sables-d’Olonne in France, had only one woman competitor, Kirsten Neuschäfer. She covered a total distance of 48,000km during her journey, sailing solo through some of the world’s most challenging waters.
Neuschäfer sailed in a Cape George 36 fiberglass boat named Minnehaha, which was created by Cecil Lange, an esteemed boat builder, in 1988, with the help of designer Ed Monk. The boat is an adaptation of the Tally Ho Major, Atkins 1930s boat.
Neuschäfer crossed the finish line around 10 hours behind her competitor, Simon Curwen, but the British sailor was relegated to the Chichester class because he had been forced to make a land stop for repairs.
Neuschäfer’s journey was not without challenges. She had to overcome a dramatic mid-ocean rescue of one of her fellow competitors who needed assistance. Despite this, she persisted and emerged victorious.
SA Sailing president Michael Robinson expressed his pride in Kirsten Neuschäfer’s achievement, saying on Instagram: “We are so proud of Kirsten. She has made not only the country’s sailing community but the whole of South Africa proud and provided an exceptional example to both women and men of what’s possible with incredibly hard work and determination”.
Kirsten Neuschäfer became a professional sailor in 2006, and her passion for adventure has seen her achieve other notable feats in the past. For instance, when she was just 22, she cycled from Europe back home to South Africa, covering a distance of 15,000 km over approximately one year.
In conclusion, Kirsten Neuschäfer’s achievement in winning the solo around-the-world Golden Globe Race 2022 is an inspiration to many, especially women who aspire to excel in male-dominated fields. Her hard work, determination, and passion for adventure have helped her to break barriers and make history. We can only hope that her success will motivate others to push themselves beyond their limits and achieve their dreams.