Kirsten Neuschäfer Winner of the Golden Globe Race 2022
The Golden Globe Race 2022
On September 4, 2022, the third edition of the Golden Globe Race started from Les Sables d’Olonne, France. Sixteen skippers were about to face eight months of isolation sailing 30.000 nautical miles before finishing in Les Sables d’Olonne.
In contrast to the current professional world of elite ocean racing, this 3rd edition travels back to a time know as the ‘Golden Age’ of solo sailing. To embrace the original race, competitors must sail in production boats between 32 and 36 feet overall and designed prior to 1988 that have a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge. Additionally, sailors have limited communication equipment and can use only sextants, paper charts, wind up clocks, and cassette tapes for music.
In 1968, while man was preparing to take his first steps on the moon, a mild mannered and modest young man was setting out on his own record breaking voyage of discovery. He had entered the original Golden Globe. Nine men started that first solo non-stop sailing race around the World. Only one finished. It was 29 year old Sir Robin Knox Johnston. History was made. Navigating only with a sextant, paper charts and an accurate and reliable time piece, Sir Robin navigated around the world. He arrived back in Falmouth after 312 days at sea, securing his place in the history books. In 2018, to celebrate 50 years since that first record breaking achievement, the Golden Globe Race was resurrected. It instantly gained traction with adventurers, captivated by the spirit and opportunity. Eighteen started with five finishers.
GGR 2022 winner Kirsten Neuschäfer
On April 27, 2023, Kirsten made history by winning the GGR2022 having sailed 233 days, 18 hours, 43 minutes and 47 seconds. 35 Hours compensation awarded for the rescue of fellow competitor Tapio Lehtinen were discounted. By winning the GGR 2022, Kirsten is the first woman to win a round the world race by the three great capes, including solo and fully crewed races, non-stop or with stops, and the first South African sailor to win a round-the-world event. Contender Sailcloth is extremely proud to have a very small part in this very big achievement by having supplied the full sailcloth inventory.
Kirsten’s boat ‘Minnehaha’ is a Cape George 36 that was launched in 1974. She was built in the Cape George yard, Port Townsend, Washington.
The name 'Minnehaha' comes from a figure of native American mythology and is said to mean 'laughing water' but more accurately translates to 'waterfall' in the Dakota Sioux language.
Sailmaker and sailcloth choice When Kirsten reached out to Geoff Meek of North Sails Cape Town, telling him about her plans to compete in the GGR2022, Geoff went on 'Minnehaha' to measure up and and look at all the existing sails. Geoff worked out a proposal for the best type and size of sail needed to survive and win this sort of race. ‘Going through each sail separately I chose the best material available for both performance and strength ‘. This means 100% Dacron for her upwind sails or 100% Nylon for her downwind spinnaker as per the GGR rules.
The used Fibercon® All Purpose cloth is efficiently woven from Contender Sailcloth's exclusive Fibercon® yarns. The warp and weft is woven thicker than other performance related qualities which benefits the tear resistance. It also has very good UV resistance which is very important when sailing non-stop around the world. In summary, Geoff Meek's decision to choose for Fibercon® All Purpose has proven to be a very good choice, especially if you are sailing shorthanded around the world, doing everything by yourself.
For more information on the Contender Sailcloth fabrics used on 'Minnehaha', please click the cloth samples below.
BIO Kirsten Neuschäfer
South African skipper Kirsten Neuschäfer has been sailing dinghies since her childhood, but sailing since 2006 as a profession. From sailing training to sailboat deliveries, she built a diverse set of skills and experience. In 2015, she began working for Skip Novak on his Pelagic Expeditions to South Georgia, The Antarctic Peninsula, Patagonia and the Falklands. She was featured in National Geographic series 'Wild Life Resurrection Island with Bertie Gregory' as she sailed his crew throughout South Georgia to shed light on the beautiful ecosystems and hardships they’ve faced. She also sailed and was a support vessel for several crews from the BBC series 'Seven Worlds, One Planet' for footage of leopard seal predation against gentoo penguins and albatross behavior from Bird Island South Georgia.
Kirsten now joins the famous Bertie Reed (RSA) in the South African Hall of Fame, and Isabelle Autissier (FRA) who in 1994 famously led the BOC Challenge after her win in the first leg before dismasting in December in the Pacific, 920 miles SE from Adelaide. She also joins Sir Robin Knox Johnston (GBR) and Jean-Luc Van Den Heede (FRA) as the winner of the Golden Globe Race.
Photo credits to:
Golden Globe Race 2022
www.kirstenggr.com , Instagram @kirstenggr