The Washington PostThe Washington Post

She had lived a life of adventure. Then came the ultimate sailing race.

By Les Carpenter

16 May 2023 · 8 min read

Editor's Note

Kirsten Neuschafer was the only woman to compete in the 2022 Golden Globe Race, where contestants try to circle the planet in sailboats. The Washington Post tells the story of her 235 days at sea.

Crimson flares dyed the evening sky a blazing red as Kirsten Neuschafer guided her sailboat into the French port of Les Sables-d'Olonne on April 27. Eight months earlier, she had left this harbor as the lone woman in a 16-entrant, around-the-world race in which solo competitors were required to use 54-year-old technology and prohibited from making stops.

During 235 days at sea, Neuschafer had only a vague knowledge of her place in the standings of the Golden Globe Race. When told by event organizers that she had won, all she could do was stare in surprise and blurt, "Really?"

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