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Day 236 Kirsten makes history, Simon first boat home, Les Sables gearing up for Abhilash Tomy Bayanat Welcome

A hero’s welcome in the legendary channel of Les Sables d’Olonne despite a late arrival trapped by no wind (credit Rob Havill/GGR2022)
  • Kirsten Neuschäfer wins the Golden Globe Race in 233 d 18h 43m 47s
  • Clara/Howdens was the first boat home in Les Sables d’Olonne
  • Abhilash Tomy expected in the LSO channel Saturday 29/04 @ 10:00 am local (0800UTC)

It’s been a long time in the making for Kirsten Neuschäfer who got becalmed just hours before going through the finish line, off the coast on the world’s solo sailing capital Les Sables d’Olonne. Several boats joined her 8 miles offshore and this is when she learnt that she was going to be the winner of the GGR.

Earlier in the same day, Simon Curwen GBR sailed up the Channel as the first boat home despite his stop in Puerto Montt to repair a broken windvane, and came up the channel with his wife Clare, cheered by many supporters under a slight drizzle under the Howdens spinnaker.

Clara/Howdens was the first boat home of the GGR fleet and sailed magnificently. Credit Nikki Curwen

He was welcomed by Yannick Moreau, the Mayor of Les Sables d’Olonne, GGR 2018 winner and International Association of Cape Horners’ President Jean-Luc Van Den Heede and GGR President Don McIntyre who presented him with the Cape Horners ensign having done a fantastic round the world trip, leading the fleet from Cape Finisterre until the 31st of January.

At 19:43:47 on Thursday the 27th, Minnehaha crossed the GGR finish line before going up a channel lit in red, where the people of Les Sables gave her the warm welcome she deserved for coming first in the gruelling GGR 2022-2022. She had spent 235 days at sea, with an official time of 233 days, 18 hours, 43 minutes and 47 seconds after her 35 hours of compensation awarded for Tapio’s rescue were discounted, and no fuel penalty since she only consumed 30.7 litres of fuel in her round-the-world voyage.

Kirsten Neuschäfer received a hero’s welcome in the Channel of Les Sables d’Olonne where thousands of Sablais, Sablaises and fans from all around the world greeted her. She hugged her mother Annett on the dock after many months away, saw her friends and Eddie Arsenault (CAN) from Prince Edward Island who guided the refit of the Victorious Cape George 36, which did not suffer any significant failure in the voyage.

“I did not know where the others were after being stopped so long in the doldrums, so I kept pushing the boat as hard as I could.” Credit Rob Havill / GGR2022

Vendée Globe legend Catherine Chabaud (FRA), came specially to greet and congratulate Kirsten on her historic win. “Kirsten is in the image of the race which promotes simplicity and sobriety, and it’s led her to victory” she said on the stage where officials joined Jean-Luc Van Den Heede, Yannick Moreau and Don McIntyre to congratulate her. Kirsten becomes the first woman to win a round the world race via the three great capes!

Video Credit: Rob Havill
GGR2022 1st arrival Kirsten Neuschäfer / “MINNEHAHA” Les Sables d’Olonne Press Conference

Abhilash Tomy (IND) is expected to cross the line on Saturday 29 of April around 10:00 local time.

The Indian Navy Commander who got heavily injured in 2018 came back with unfinished business in 2022. It was not an easy battle since his Rustler 36 Bayanat had a collision with a bulk carrier during the Prologue from Gijon and suffered from PTSD in the first week of the race, later passing the point of his Indian Ocean rescue and sailing a superb race into the leading group of the GGR.

Abhilash has been a fierce competitor and resourceful sailor, bringing Bayanat around the world back to Les Sables. Credit Abhilash Tomy / GGR2022

Not only has he shown incredible skills in keeping his Rustler together but sailed a very competitive race ahead of the fleet, briefly sweeping first place to Kirsten only arriving a day and a half later, after 236 days at sea.

No doubt that the people of Les Sables will give him a warm welcome up the Channel after a line crossing expected around 10:00 am.


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