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Kirsten Neuschäfer wins the Golden Globe Race 2022

by Les Sables d'Olonne 27 Apr 22:33 PDT 27 April 2023

By crossing the finish line of the ancestor of the Vendée Globe in Les Sables d'Olonne this Thursday at 21:43:47 CET, the South African sailor has achieved one of the greatest accomplishments in ocean racing.

Winner of the Golden Globe race, without assistance or technology, after 235 days, 5 hours, 44 minutes and 4 seconds of racing (final time will be determined after the calculation of penalties for using fuel and bonuses), Kirsten became the first woman to win a solo round-the-world race under sail. This achievement was celebrated in Les Sables d'Olonne, now more than ever the world capital of single-handed ocean racing.

At 40 years of age, the South African Kirsten Neuschäfer completed an eight-month long journey, alone in the face of the elements, without contact, collecting rainwater to survive. Her feat is all the more impressive as her world tour was marked by a rescue. In the heart of the Indian Ocean, she helped Finnish sailor Tapio Lehtinen. Kirsten welcomed him on her boat before he was transferred to a cargo ship and Kirsten continued her journey.

"There is something extraordinary in the air."

Kirsten's performance is as unprecedented as it is impressive. The first woman to round Cape Horn in a race last February, she also became the first to win a race around the world. Many in the world of ocean racing are congratulating the South African. Yann Eliès, a regular in the sailing world, praises the sailor who "loves adventure with a capital A".

"What she has achieved is incredible," said Catherine Chabaud, the first woman to complete the Vendée Globe (1996-1997). "There is something extraordinary in the air," said the sailor.

Reactions:

Kirsten Neuschäfer: "I am very happy to see all the people and this extraordinary atmosphere. Of all my adventure, I think that the arrival here with the crowd, the enthusiasm, was the most memorable. My boat was my companion. I talked to him a lot. I even got angry with her, but I love her very much. It's a fast, elegant boat, on which I worked a lot for a year. I had the will to win as soon as I registered for the race and I did all my preparations accordingly. I wanted to win, not as a woman. I didn't want to be in a separate category but to compete on equal terms with all the skippers. I didn't think about the long term future but more about what I wanted to do in the near future. I want to go on long hikes in the wilderness with my dog for a few months."

Yannick Moreau, mayor of Les Sables d'Olonne: "This Golden Globe Race offers us a superb scenario, and a conclusion worthy of the most beautiful epics. The only woman at the start of the longest sporting event in the world came out on top and became a legend. It is truly a historic moment that we have just experienced in Les Sables d'Olonne. By her sporting feat, her courage, her heroism... Kirsten became a model and a world reference. In Les Sables d'Olonne, we are happy and proud to see her legend born."

Find out more at goldengloberace.com

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