The saying goes, “difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations” and South African sailor Kirsten Neuschäfer is a true testament to that. Neuschäfer recently made history by becoming the first woman to win a solo, round-the-world yacht race. Her achievement is a testament to the power of determination, hard work and perseverance; values that we at XA Global Trade Advisors strongly believe in.
The race that Neuschäfer won is the 2022 Golden Globe Race and she crossed the finish line which is just off of Les Sables-d’Olonne in France on Thursday night (27 April). She spent almost 235 days alone at sea, having set off on the epic 48,000km journey on 4 September last year. Although she crossed the finish line around 10 hours behind competitor Simon Curwen, the British sailor was relegated to the Chichester class because he had been forced to make a land stop for repairs.
Neuschäfer’s journey was not without its challenges, as it included a dramatic mid-ocean rescue when one of her fellow competitors got into trouble and needed urgent assistance. However, Neuschäfer’s love for adventure, the unknown and her own inner journey fueled her to keep going. She explained before setting off on the challenge, “I truly love adventure – it really is what drives me. And I love to undertake these adventures alone and know that I only have myself to rely on once I am out there, to know that I will have to dig deep within myself to find the strength that I need to overcome the inevitable obstacles.”
Neuschäfer’s solo, round-the-world yacht race victory is not her first massive solo adventure. A few years ago, she cycled solo around 15,000km down the African continent from Europe to South Africa. SA Sailing President Michael Robinson heaped praise on Neuschäfer, saying, “South Africa has had other sailing heroes like Bertie Reed and John Martin who have done the circumnavigation, but Kirsten is the first South African to do it non-stop and unassisted. How’s that for a gender statement?”
At XA Global Trade Advisors, we believe that difficult challenges can lead to great rewards. Neuschäfer’s incredible achievement serves as an inspiration to all of us, demonstrating the importance of hard work, determination and perseverance in achieving our goals. We applaud Neuschäfer for her remarkable accomplishment and her determination to push beyond her limits.