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HomeEventsRegattaCole Brauer finishes the Global Solo Challenge in Second Place

Cole Brauer finishes the Global Solo Challenge in Second Place

Solo sailor Cole Brauer has become the first American woman to race solo, nonstop and unassisted around the world, finishing the Global Solo Challenge March 7, at 8:23am CET after 130 days at sea.

She finished in second place, setting a new Class40 around-the-world speed record and amassing 450,000 followers on Instagram in the process. At just 29 years old, Brauer was both the youngest skipper and the only female sailor in the fleet of 16 boats.

The “budget-friendly” solo sailing race will have professional and amateur sailors circumnavigating the globe via the three Great Capes, beginning and ending in A Coruña, Spain.

The Global Solo Challenge has a pursuit start, meaning that competitors were assigned a start date based on a speed rating for their boat. The slowest boats left first and the fastest last. All other things being equal, the boats could be expected to finish around the same time, leaving the results up to the skill of the sailors and the weather conditions.

Brauer left A Coruña, Spain, on October 29 with six other skippers. She led the group to the Equator and began picking off the competitors from previous starts. As she turned east and headed for Cape Horn, she began having autopilot issues, one of which led to a broach that tossed her across the boat and injured her ribs. There was concern that she would have to pull into port, but despite the injury, she was able to make the necessary repairs and continue sailing.In the South Pacific, Brauer also began having trouble with her hydrogenerator, which supplies much of her power onboard, keeping her steering instruments, autopilot, watermaker, and Starlink going. Even with a back up system and regular maintenance, her power rationing lasted through the end of the race.

Her expert seamanship and technical know-how made her one of the top competitors of the race, but the hallmark of Brauer’s campaign was her social media presence, which inspired the admiration of hundreds of thousands of followers. Her honest, chipper updates brought followers along for the ups and downs of four months on the seas. She received hundreds of comments from people saying that although they’d never sailed before, they were so amazed by her bravery, tenacity, and positive outlook.

“This monumental milestone is not just a physical triumph, but a testament to her courage in facing challenges head-on,” says Project Manager Brendon Scanlon, about her rounding of Cape Horn, the last of the Three Great Capes, which benchmark the Global Solo Challenge course. “As she sails the rough seas and navigates life’s complexities onboard, we celebrate the indomitable spirit that defines her remarkable journey.”

“Very few people get this opportunity and fewer still actually succeed when they do. It’s a small club of people who’ve accomplished this,” says James Tomlinson, one of the team’s photographers. “She might not have won the race, but in our eyes she’s the champion.”After completing the Global Solo Challenge, Brauer hopes to campaign for the 2028 Vendée Globe—the highest level of solo circumnavigational races.

Her race can be best followed at colebraueroceanracing on Instagram or on the Global Solo Challenge’s race tracker: globalsolochallenge.com/tracking

Brauer is a Long Island native who began sailing while attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

After moving back east, Brauer spent several years captaining First Light, then called Dragon, for a previous owner who raced the boat primarily on the east coast and in Caribbean circuits. New owners purchased the boat in late 2022 and offered to let her continue sailing it for the 2023 season, during which Brauer won the Bermuda One-Two with co-skipper Cat Chimney. The duo were the first women to win the event in its 24-edition history. After that victory, Brauer set her sights on the Global Solo Challenge.

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