On April 27th, Kirsten Neuschäfer was the first to cross the finish line of the Golden Globe Race in Les Sables-d'Olonne, becoming the first woman to do so! After 235 days (8 months) at sea, she is the winner of this solo, non-stop, round-the-world, Golden Globe Race. She is also the first South African personality to win a round-the-world race.
This victory was unexpected, even though it was her main goal from the beginning of the race. In the last few miles Kristen and Britain's Simon Curwen were in contention for first place. However, the Briton had to make a stop for repairs due to some setbacks he suffered, and that allowed the South African to take first place and finish in first place.
At times, Kristen didn't even know where she stood as the top three were very close, despite having been sailing for 8 months, and the fact that the first three boats arrived at the finish line on the same day.
"I feel very excited and honored," said Neuschafer at the conclusion of the race. "I will never forget the welcome. I want to thank my teammates, without them there would have been no regatta. Simon was very difficult as he was always ahead of me and I knew Abhilash was close by, which encouraged me to sail as fast as I could."
Kristen dreamed of this day and prepared for this victory, which is why she intentionally chose a boat that would propel her to victory. A relatively fast boat that she could win the race with and at the same time be comfortable enough to survive in the Atlantic Ocean; the Cape George 36 was ideal for her and accompanied her to victory.
Apart from the victory, she holds several Golden Globe Race 2022 records: best average speed in 4 hours (9.80 knots), best distance in 24 hours (218.9 miles) and best distance in 7 days (1,216.2 miles).
In the end, of the 16 who started the race, 11 withdrew and only 5 managed to finish the Golden Globe Race 2022 after more than eight months of sailing. This makes Kristen's victory all the more meritorious, as she is the first woman in history to do so.
Waiting for her at the finish line in France was the 1997 Vendée Globe expert Catherine Chabaud, who was the first woman sailor to sail solo non-stop around the world unassisted. Also there to greet and hand over the baton was also the previous winner of the 2018 Golden Globe Race, Jean-Luc van den Heede.