Kirsten Neuschafer triumphs in the 2022 Golden Globe Race and makes history
Kirsten Neuschafer wins the Golden Globe! Like a fish out of water, that’s what Kirsten Neuschafer felt during her participation in the Golden Globe Race 2022. And it didn’t hurt her! After 235 days of hard work at sea, this South African skipper made history by becoming the first woman to win a solo round-the-world sailing trip. Yes, you read that right!
On April 27, 2023, at 9:00 p.m. sharp (CEST), Kirsten crossed the finish line in Les Sables d’Olonne in France. She may not have seen it coming, but she had finally achieved her goal – and how!
A spicy tail
although Kirsten finished a few hours behind competitor Simon Curwen, he had to settle for the Chichester class. This poor soul should have made an earlier pit stop for repairs. Well, you can’t always be lucky, can you?
And then you have the brave Abhilash Tomy, who is hot on Kirsten’s heels and will cross the finish line next. These three best sailors will meet again in a few days after 235 days of hard work at sea. A great success, if we say so ourselves!
Tired but satisfied
Kirsten, 39, who didn’t realize she was in the lead during the race, celebrated her hard-fought win. His trusty Cape George 36 cutter, the Minnehaha, was then towed to the pier by thousands of cheering fans.
During the 2022 Golden Globe Race, Kirsten did everything to stay on top. Her winning mentality has taken her further than many other competitors. She deliberately chose a boat that she thought could win the race and survive in the Southern Ocean. And guess what? She was right!
The Minnehaha has proven its seaworthiness with impressive performances, such as the best 4-hour speed (9.80 knots), the best 24-hour distance (218.9 nautical miles) and the best 7-day distance (1,216. 2 nautical miles). She even managed to catch up with her sixth place in the first race in Lanzarote by opting for manual piloting instead of using her wind vane.
After an average start, Kirsten steadily climbed the leaderboard, leaving her competitors behind one by one. For example, she made clever use of ocean currents and weather fax information during her descent along the Atlantic coast.
Curwen goes like a spear, while Neuschafer proves to be the saving angel
Curwen has the wind in her sails and extends her lead by crossing the Indian Ocean. A few days after leaving Cape Town, Kirsten Neuschafer made a detour through her route to rescue her compatriot Tapio Lehtinen. His Gaia 36, Asteria, sank about 450 nautical miles southeast of South Africa.
Neuschafer was 105 miles from Lehtinen at the time. He steered by hand overnight and reached speeds of 7 knots to reach her the next morning. Once safely on board, they waited for the Darya Gayatri freighter to arrive from Hong Kong to take Lehtinen to port.
As a reward, Neuschafer received 35 hours of time compensation and a fuel allowance of 30 liters from the organizers of the Golden Globe Race.
Back in race mode, she continued and managed to make up 500 miles on Curwen, arriving in Hobart just 29.5 hours after him. She briefly led the race past Tasmania but then got stuck in windless areas around New Zealand.
Curwen took advantage of this and increased his lead to 900 miles. He sailed through a different weather system than Neuschafer and his nearest rival, Abhilash Tomy.
Neuschafer and Tomy constantly swapped positions in the battle for second place, with Neuschafer often frustrated by the dead calm and unable to find better winds.
Curwen, with a lead of 1,200 miles, subsequently reported the failure of her automatic steering gear. This forced him to detour 1,000 miles to Chile for repairs. This placed it in the Chichester class for competitors making one stop.
Neuschafer and Tomy got back into the running for first place. After 150 days of racing, Neuschafer took the lead and was the first to round Cape Horn on February 15, 2023.
However, her choice of Atlantic route gave Tomy the opportunity to overtake her with his Rustler 36, Bayanat, despite problems with her Wind Pilot vane, rigging and a torn mainsail that had to be repaired. by hand.
Neuschafer opted for a more easterly route due to the curved bowsprit of his Minnehaha. She took Ocean Passages for the World’s advice, but in retrospect, it turned out to be a frustrating choice…
Nothing beats home? Kirsten Neuschafer chooses her own road (wise)
While Tomy floated comfortably on the course line, our heroine Kirsten Neuschafer decided, thanks to a curved bowsprit of her Minnehaha, to take a course further east. She thought: “Let’s see what Ocean Passages for the World recommends for the best route this time of year.” And she went, 80 miles south of the Falkland Islands, to a point east of 35°S and 30°W. Was it smart to take that advice? That was the key question!
This decision proved quite frustrating for Kirsten. She had to navigate in lighter winds than any other competitor in the 2022 Golden Globe Race and also had to navigate through a large area of slump. Good morning, good morning, good morning!
Her unorthodox background allowed Tomy and Curwen to overtake her. Curwen finally took the honors and was the first to cross the finish line with his Biscay 36, the Clara. But let’s not forget who finally took first place in the solo race, on the right, Kirsten Neuschafer!
But what about the rest of the 2022 Golden Globe Race field on April 27, 2022 at 6:00 p.m. (UTC)?
- Kirsten Neuschafer (South Africa), cutter Cape George 36, Minnehaha – FINI, 1st
- Abhilash Tomy (India), Rustler 36, Bayanat – 100 nautical miles to go
- Michael Guggenberger (Austria), Biscay 36, Nuri – 1800 nautical miles to go
- Simon Curwen (UK), Biscay 36, Clara – FINI, 1st (Chichester Class)
- Jeremy Bagshaw (South Africa), OE32, Olleanna – 2600 nautical miles to go
And then we have the “retirees” of the race:
- Edward Walentynowicz (Canada), Rustler 36, Noah’s Jest
- Guy deBoer (USA), Tashiba 36 years old, Spirit
- Mark Sinclair (Australia), Lello 34, coconut
- Pat Lawless (Ireland), Saltram Saga 36, Green Rebel
- Damien Guillou (France), Rustler 36 years old, PRB
- Ertan Beskardes (UK), Rustler 36, Lazy Otter
- Tapio Lehtinen (Finland), Gaia 36, Asteria
- Arnaud Gaist (France), Barbican 33 Mk 2, Hermes Phoning
- Elliot Smith (USA), Gale Force 34, Second Wind
- Guy Waites (UK), Tradewind 35, Sagarmatha
- Ian Herbert-Jones (UK), Tradewind 35, Puffin
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