Kirsten Neuschäfer has won the 2022 Golden Globe Race, and made history. At 9 p.m. (CEST) on April 27, Neuschäfer crossed the finish line off Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, to win the race, and became the first woman to win a solo, round-the-world yacht race. Her official time is recorded as 233 days, 20 hours, 43 minutes and 47 seconds. Her time takes into account her role in rescuing fellow race skipper Tapio Lehtinen, for which she was compensated 35 hours and given a 30-liter fuel allowance. However, in the end, the compensations were unnecessary for Neuschäfer’s history-making finish.
The Golden Globe Race posted on its Twitter account:
#GGR2022 Kirsten Neuschäfer (39) – “MINNEHAHA” officially became the first woman to win a round the world race by the three great capes, including solo & fully crewed races, non-stop or with stops, & the first South African sailor to win a round-the-world event! BRAVO pic.twitter.com/o2ZFajQSoX
— Golden Globe Race 2022 (@ggr2022) April 27, 2023
Neuschäfer was the only woman competing in the race, which began in Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, on September 4, 2022. She sailed 235 days aboard her 36-ft Cape George cutter Minnehaha, to complete the 30,000-mile course a day ahead of her nearest rival.
This video published by the Golden Globe Race (briefly) documents Neuschäfer’s journey.
Golden Globe Race entrants must sail 32- to 36-ft (LOA) full-keel production boats designed prior to 1988, and must sail without the aid of modern technology and satellite-based navigation aids. The course sails via the five Great Capes — Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin (Western Australia), a gate in Storm Bay (South East Cape, Tasmania), South West Cape (New Zealand), and Cape Horn.
The setup is similar to that of the of the 10-month voyage completed by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston — the first person to sail singlehanded and nonstop around the world, between June 14, 1968, and April 22, 1969.
We congratulate Kirsten Neuschäfer on her outstanding achievement, and hope that after the hype and excitement die down she will enjoy a well-deserved rest.