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Golden Globe Race: Kirsten Neuschäfer becomes the first woman to win a race around the world solo

She entered the history of sailing. The South African Kirsten Neuschäfer became, on Thursday April 27, the first woman to win a race around the world alone, arriving in Les Sables-d’Olonne (Vendée) at the head of the Golden Globe Race.

The 40-year-old sailor won after 235 days at sea of ​​a crazy epic where the sixteen competitors at the start had to go through the three reference capes (Good Hope, Leeuwin, Horn), non-stop, assistance and means of navigation. modern.

Smiling and barefoot, Kirsten Neuschäfer crossed the finish line off Les Sables-d’Olonne at 9:43 p.m. aboard her small 1988 monohull named Minnehahawhich withstood many storms for eight months.

“It’s incredible, it’s a lot after all these months alone”she said, setting foot on the ground in front of a crowd of Sablais who came to congratulate her. “I am very moved and honored that there are so many people here and I don’t think I will be able to experience such a thing a second time in my life”she added.

Rescue of Finn Tapio Lehtinen

Among the Sablais on the pontoons, the navigator Jean-Luc Van den Heede, 77, winner of the previous edition of this vintage adventure, in 2019. “It’s a very tough race, there’s no communication, we’re not pushed. You have to have a very strong mind and I think Kirsten is one of the people who have a very strong mind.”he said.

On February 15, Kirsten Neuschäfer had already become the first woman in history to round Cape Horn at the head of a circumnavigation of the globe, just weeks after rescuing her Finnish competitor Tapio Lehtinen, shipwrecked off the coast of South Africa. South.

Kirsten Neuschäfer, the only woman to take the start, was joined at the finish line by sailor and MEP Catherine Chabaud, the first woman to sail around the world, solo, during the Vendée Globe 1996-1997 . “It’s just awesome. It’s good for sailing and for women.”she rejoiced. “Because women who sail do not see themselves as women who sail, but just as passionate individuals. And it’s a beautiful message.”she commented.

Of the sixteen starters in the Golden Globe Race, only two other sailors were still in contention on Thursday. The Indian Abhilash Tomy was due to arrive in Vendée in the coming days while the Austrian Michael Guggenberger was still off the Canary Islands.


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Briton Simon Curwen crossed the line at midday but could no longer claim overall victory because he had made a stopover in a Chilean port during the race for repairs.

The World with AFP

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