Kirsten Neuschafer (this image was downloaded from the Facebook page of GGR and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended)

Kirsten Neuschafer of South Africa has won the 2022 Golden Globe Race (GGR).

She reached the finishing line of the event at Les Sables-d’Olonne in France (from where the race entailing a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the planet had commenced months ago), at 19:44 Universal Tine Coordinated (UTC) on April 27, 2023. In the process, she became the first woman to win a round-the-world race by the three great capes across the solo / crewed and solo / non-stop categories. She is also the first South African sailor to win such an event. Her voyage as part of the 2022 GGR included the rescue of fellow GGR participant, Tapio Lehtinen. The rescue happened in November 2022. Lehtinen’s boat had suddenly sunk in the Indian Ocean. Neuschafer was awarded the Rod Stephen Seamanship Trophy by the Cruising Club of America for the rescue.

The 2022 GGR had got underway on September 4, 2022. The first among the 2022 GGR participants to reach Les Sables-d’Olonne after a full circumnavigation done, was Simon Curwen of England. He had led the race by a considerable margin for much of the voyage before the need to repair his boat forced him to halt in Chile, relegating him to the Chichester Class (sailing with one stop) of the race. Simon nevertheless caught up with the competitors who had gone past him during the halt, overtook them and finished ahead of all at 10:38 UTC on April 27, 2023.

Checked at 17:55 hours Indian Standard Time (IST) on April 28, Abhilash Tomy of India was 78.8 nautical miles from the finish line. As per an update on the Facebook page of the event, he was expected in Les Sables-d’Olonne in the late morning of April 29. Abhilash is currently in second place.

As per information available on the GGR website, Kirsten Neuschafer (she has been ““sailing dinghies since her childhood) has been sailing since 2006, as a profession. From training people to sail to delivering sailboats, she has built a diverse set of skills and experiences, the website said in its profile on her. According to it, her longest single-handing prior to GGR was a delivery from Portugal to South Africa.

Please find below the link to a video shared by GGR celebrating the arrival of Kirsten and her boat Minnehaha in Les Sables-d’Olonne; solo, non-stop circumnavigation done. The song in the video – On the Minnehaha – has been written and performed by Lennie Gallant.

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)

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