29-Year-Old Cole Brauer Became The First American Woman To Sail Around The World Solo


It’s a story about a 29-year-old girl from Long Island, New York who shattered stereotypes and tamed the wild vast ocean. Cole Brauer made history on the 7th of March when she became the first American woman to race solo around the world.

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She dreamed of conquering the ocean and she definitely made it!

Image credits: northsails

In July, 2023 Brauer raced in the Bermuda One-Two, not only winning the yacht race, but becoming the first female to do so. For her, it was a turning point in the career because before she didn’t feel support: “Nobody took me seriously. I was always just the ‘girl in the van’” said 29-year-old.

For this one-of-a-kind journey, Brauer chose a very special boat: “I’ve always wanted to sail around the world and envisioned doing it on a boat I know, love, and trust. For this reason, I chose First Light. To me, she embodies all of this. When we’re at sea, I talk to her as if she were my child. When she’s fine, I’m fine. We have a wonderful relationship and deep mutual understanding: when things aren’t going right, I feel she’s showing me she’s doing her best to improve the situation. Furthermore, as a Class40, she was born and built sturdy and resilient for challenges like this.”

Image credits: Samuel Hodges Photography

First Light is designed by Owen Clarke Designs and built in the UK by Composite Creations, the same model as ZeroChallenge (formerly Fuji) sailed by Ari Känsäkoski

Image credits: James Tomlinson

The boat’s name also transmits a very strong social message that Cole Brauer tries to bring into sailing and sports: “It reminds me that, even when everything seems to be going wrong, when everything is shrouded in darkness, the sun will always rise. It’s a certainty and it’s very comforting.”

The salty challenge started on the 29th of October, 2023 in A Coruña – a port city in the northwestern Galicia region of Spain, along with other boats. The race took Brauer south along the west coast of Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope and then eastward toward Australia. From there, she continued east, where she was caught by the unpredictable and deadly Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America before continuing northeast across the Atlantic Ocean toward Spain.

Brauer getting emotional at Cape Horn, known as one of the most feared sea routes in the world

Image credits: colebraueroceanracing

Brauer documented her entire journey on Instagram, giving her 500,000 followers direct access to daily updates. Probably one of the most remarkable moments there was Point Nemo in the South Pacific, which in scientific terms means “oceanic pole of inaccessibility”: the place in the ocean that is furthest from emerged land, with no one in any direction within an area of 22 million km².

“Just crossed Point Nemo!” Brauer shared the exciting news. “The closest humans are on the international space station!” she added with some sadness in her voice. At that moment, Brauer was facing difficulties with catching up with the winds and was feeling a bit stuck.

The boat is crossing over Point Nemo: the most isolated place on Earth

Image credits: colebraueroceanracing

Besides some really challenging days, Brauer would enjoy some peaceful sunny moments as well

Image credits: colebraueroceanracing

Despite having some sustained rib injuries around the midpoint of the race, the 29-year-old finished in second place. She was the youngest skipper, at 5 feet, two inches and 100 lbs., as well as the smallest and the only female sailor in the fleet of 16 boats.

Being raised in a non-sailing family, Brauer couldn’t hold back her joy: “This is really cool and so overwhelming in every sense of the word. It would be amazing if there was just one girl that saw me and said, ‘Oh, I can do that too.’”

Cole Brauer is making history as the first American female to race solo across the globe

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Image credits: James Tomlinson

Cole Brauer crossed three oceans and 30,000 miles to arrive at the finish line

Image credits: James Tomlinson

Even though it was a solo voyage, it wouldn’t be possible without a strong and supportive team.

“My team has made this journey possible. Before meeting them, I was losing weight due to stress. I called upon the universe for help and was gifted the best team I could have ever wished for. I cannot thank them enough for all the work and energy they’ve invested in this project. I am very happy to be able to share this adventure with them. Special thanks go to the core group: Duncan Nevard, Brendon Scanlon, Jimmy Carolla, and Sammy Hodges, but also to everyone else” said Cole.

“Through my sporting challenge at the GSC, I want to promote the idea that any individual, no matter how ‘small’ or limited they might seem, can achieve great things. Every member of my team, at some point in their lives, has felt overlooked, underestimated, or rejected for who they were. Each of us carries stories of pain and challenge. We came together with the common purpose of realizing this dream, supporting one another,” Brauer shared a very important message.

The supportive and loving team made Cole Brauer’s accomplishment possible

Image credits: James Tomlinson

What is truly beautiful to mention is that Cole Brauer crossed the finish line on First Light at first light. In this way, she became not only the first American woman to ever complete a solo race, nonstop, around the world but as well an infinite source of light, example of consistency and inspiration for all the women around the globe.

Cole Brauer celebrating probably the most magical moment in her life

Image credits: James Tomlinson

People on the internet were sharing support and love for Cole Brauer


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