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Henri-Lloyd 2022 December - SW LEADERBOARD

Global Solo Challenge: 5 days till Cole Brauer starts out

by Cole Brauer Ocean Racing Media 24 Oct 2023 02:44 PDT
Cole Brauer - Global Solo Challenge © Cole Brauer Ocean Racing

In five days, Cole Brauer sets off to become the first American woman to race a sailboat solo around the globe. She will be competing in the Global Solo Challenge, circumnavigating the world by the three great capes and beginning and ending in A Coruña, Spain.

Unlike most circumnavigational ocean races, the Global Solo Challenge has a pursuit start, meaning that the race fleet will include many different types of boats that are assigned a start date based on speed ratings. All other things being equal, the boats could be expected to finish around the same time, leaving the results up to the skill of the sailors and the weather conditions.

The slowest boats began in August and could take upwards of 200 days to finish, while the fastest won't leave until December and may complete the race in as little as 70 days. Brauer, sailing the Class40 First Light, will depart on October 28 and hopes to beat the current Class40 record of 137 days.

At just 29 years old, Brauer is one of five Americans on the roster of 20 skippers competing in the race. She will be the only female sailor in the fleet, and if successful, she will be the first American woman to have raced solo around the globe.

"It's really hard for Americans to be successful in offshore solo sailing, and I think it comes down to money and support. I have both behind me right now, and if young American women growing up can see, through my campaign, that this is possible, they might dream even bigger than what I'm doing," says Brauer.

"I don't notice myself being any different than the other competitors. There's no gender when you're alone on the ocean. You're just a sailor who's out there, who has to make it work," she says. "But when I'm standing on a dock with some of the women on my shore team, I can tell that the energy is different. You can tell that having women on the campaign makes it a better atmosphere, so I don't know why there's so much resistance to equal pay and equal involvement for women in this sport."

After completing the Ocean Globe Challenge, she intends to campaign for the 2028 Vendée Globe—the highest level of solo circumnavigational races. Her race can be best followed at colebraueroceanracing on Instagram or on the Global Solo Challenge's race tracker: globalsolochallenge.com/tracking.

Brauer is a Long Island native who began sailing while attending the University of Hawaii at Minoa.

After moving back east, Brauer spent several years captaining First Light, then called Dragon, for a previous owner who raced the boat primarily in on the east coast and Caribbean circuits. New owners purchased the boat in late 2022 and offered to let her continue sailing it for the season, during which Brauer won the 2023 Bermuda One-Two with co-skipper Cat Chimney. The duo were the first women to win the event in its 24-edition history. The biennial race features two 668-nautical mile legs from Newport, RI to St Georges, Bermuda and back, with the first leg sailed solo and the second doublehanded. After that victory, Brauer set her sights on the Global Solo Challenge.

Her race can be followed at www.instagram.com/colebraueroceanracing

To follow the race tracker, go to globalsolochallenge.com/tracking

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