Winner of the 'SEAMASTER Award' 2024: Kirsten Neuschäfer
The South African Kirsten Neuschäfer was the first woman to win the Golden Globe Race, a non-stop solo around the world yacht race.
For this historic sailing achievement, which made her one of last year's outstanding sports personalities, she was honoured with the SEAMASTER Award at the 'boot Düsseldorf' 2024 FLAGSHIP NIGHT
Bielefeld/Düsseldorf, 21 January 2024. Alone at sea – for 233 days. The only woman amongst the sixteen participating boats. In the middle of the race, she rescued her competitor Tapio Lehtinen, who had got himself in dire straits on the Indian Ocean. She successfully battled storms, doldrums and self-doubt. All of this on a 36-foot full-length keel yacht with only a sextant, paper maps and a sumlog on board – just like the participants in the legendary 'Sunday Times Golden Globe Race' in 1968, whose spirit the race honours. Kirsten Neuschäfer won this challenge last spring – and became the first woman ever to triumph in a race around the world, thereby writing sailing history.
'This petite South African with German roots cannot be lauded enough for her achievement,' reckons YACHT editor-in-chief Martin Hager, speaking for the SEAMASTER jury, and adds: 'YACHT was present when she crossed the finishing line in Sables-d'Olonne in France in April 2023, and was privileged to experience how the sailing world was at her feet.' Thousands of fans celebrated the arrival of the new sailing heroine, who is as engaging as she is unassuming, until late into the night.
For this historic sailing achievement, she was honoured with the SEAMASTER Award on FLAGSHIP NIGHT, the world's largest watersports trade fair 'boot Düsseldorf' kick-off event. The 'boot Düsseldorf' trade fair and the publishing house Delius Klasing Verlag have jointly presented this outstanding performance award to an exceptional watersports personality for the past ten years.
Kirsten Neuschäfer has already won numerous other renowned awards. The adventurous professional skipper, who had never taken part in a race before, has already won the accolade of 'Women's World Sailor of the Year 2023', for example; she has also been honoured with the only recently introduced 'Bobby Schenk Cape Horn Award', and not long ago, the Cruising Club of America presented her with its prestigious Blue Water Medal.
The exceptional German sailor and previous SEAMASTER Award winner Boris Herrmann announced the honour in a video message in which he paid tribute to Kirsten Neuschäfer's exceptional achievement. Previous winners of the award for outstanding achievements in the watersports area include the sailing legend Loïck Peyron, the America's Cup skipper Jimmy Spithill and the ocean advocate Emily Penn. The most recent personality to be honoured in this way was the Ukrainian Optimist coach Pavlo Dontsov, who won it in 2023.
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