And she doesn’t even know!
Kirsten Neuschäfer is just a breath away from winning the Golden Globe Race and is on the verge of breaking most of the Golden Globe Race records, including best distance over 24 hours (unofficially 218.9 nautical miles), and best distance over 7 days (unofficial at 1143.7 nautical miles). And of course if she wins, First Woman to win the Golden Globe Race. And she doesn’t know!
GGR sailors have no internet onboard (per the race rules) and use satellite communication only for scheduled race calls and emergency. During her final sat phone call today with race officials, she expressed her excitement at drawing near the line and was looking forward to fresh fruit and ice cream ashore, but she did not know where she or the other GGR competitors stood in the race.
100 miles to go!
ETA Thursday, April 27
If you don’t know her name yet, you will soon!
Kirsten Neuschäfer is within two days of almost certainly being the winner of the 2022-2023 Golden Globe Race. Skipper of Minnehaha, a Cape George 36, she’s closing in along with Abhilash Tomy at the finish line off Les Sables d’Olonne.
Since they are “sailing like it’s 1968” without internet access on board, it’s wild to think that these two sailors have no idea that they are so close to each other!
We can’t wait to hear this strong sailor’s reflections on the race in hindsight.
South African sailor Kirsten Neuschafer beat 15 rivals in the 2022 Golden Globe Race, a grueling, nonstop, round-the-world sailing competition. She is the first woman in the race’s history to have taken first place. She is why I blog; celebrating excellence so her story doesn’t get buried like so many before her. With grit and determination she went fearlessly into the unknown. I can’t even imagine doing this feat. Many years ago I spent 6 days on a sailboat “women at sea” program in the Salish Sea around the San Juan and Gulf Islands, which more of a “retreat” to clear my head and heart than anything comparable to attempting this feat of courage. I did what I set out to do and learned some great skills about sailing, like reading marker buoys and the currents and tides…and working in tandem with the team.
After 235 days alone at sea in a tiny fiberglass boat, South African Kirsten Neuschafer sailed to victory on Thursday in the 2022 Golden Globe nonstop, round-the-world race, crossing the finish line a day ahead of her closest rival.
In sharp contrast to the rough conditions she experienced during much of her voyage, Neuschafer, aboard her 36-foot Minnehaha, spent the last few hours with almost no wind, inching into the same harbor at Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, that she and 15 competitors departed on Sept. 4.
All but three of those entrants were subsequently forced out of the grueling race, regarded by many as the most challenging competition the sailing world has to offer. One boat sank in the Indian Ocean, with Neuschafer sailing to the skipper’s rescue. Several others lost their masts or experienced other problems.
The Golden Globe is a unique race in which participants are not allowed to use most modern electronics to find their position at sea, relying instead on celestial navigation. It is a reboot of a famous 1968 race that resulted in the first nonstop, unassisted circumnavigation — a feat so rare that even today, more people have gone into space. The race was revived in 2018, and Neuschafer is now the first woman to win.