Kirsten Neuschäfer Makes history as the First Woman to Win the Golden Globe Race

By crossing the finish line of the ancestor of the Vendée Globe in Les Sables d’Olonne this Thursday at 21:43:47 CET, the South African sailor Kirsten Neuschäfer has achieved one of the greatest accomplishments in ocean racing. Winner of the Golden Globe race, without assistance or technology, after 235 days, 5 hours, 44 minutes and 4 seconds of racing (final time will be determined after the calculation of penalties for using fuel and bonuses), Kirsten became the first woman to win a solo round-the-world race under sail. This achievement was celebrated in Les Sables d’Olonne, now more than ever the world capital of single-handed ocean racing.

At 40 years of age, the South African Kirsten Neuschäfer completed an eight-month long journey, alone in the face of the elements, without contact, collecting rainwater to survive. Her feat is all the more impressive as her world tour was marked by a rescue. In the heart of the Indian Ocean, she helped Finnish sailor Tapio Lehtinen. Kirsten welcomed him on her boat before he was transferred to a cargo ship and Kirsten continued her journey.

Kirsten’s performance is as unprecedented as it is impressive. The first woman to round Cape Horn in a race last February, she also became the first to win a race around the world. Many in the world of ocean racing are congratulating the South African. Yann Eliès, a regular in the sailing world, praises the sailor who “loves adventure with a capital A“.

What she has achieved is incredible,” said Catherine Chabaud, the first woman to complete the Vendée Globe (1996-1997). “There is something extraordinary in the air,” said the sailor.


  1. Congratulations Kirsten
    You make us proud as South Africans and as Africans!!!
    This comes from the Banks of the Mighty Zambezi River, here in Victoria Falls
    Just know that you, and your achievements are being enjoyed, watched and celebrated, in the jungles of Africa, as well as the seven seas of the world
    Victoria Falls was known as The Jungle Junction destination, back in the days when BOAC flew to Victoria Falls, that was before it was British Airways
    So Kirsten congratulations from The Jungle Junction!!!
    You make us extremely proud
    Your achievement will be treasured for ever
    Your name will be mentioned and adored, like the names of the early pioneers of Africa
    We adore you

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