Golden Globe Race skipper Kirsten Neuschafer is about to make landfall in Cape Town, having sailed from Canada. She will then sail to France for the race start
Kirsten Neuschafer is due to make landfall in Cape Town, South Africa after an 8,000 miles singlehanded non-stop sea trail of her Cape George Cutter, CG36 Minnehaha, as part of her preparations for the Golden Globe Race 2022.
The South African skipper recently completed the refit of her boat in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia before making the voyage.
After stopping in Cape Town for a few weeks, Neuschafer will then set sail on another solo, non-stop, 6,500 miles voyage, to the race start in Les Sables d’Olonne in France.
One of the few skippers in the race to have Southern Ocean sailing experience, the 39-year-old professional sailor has worked for Skip Novak since 2015 aboard Pelagic Australis, sailing to South Georgia, The Antarctic Peninsula, Patagonia and the Falkland Islands.
She chose a Cape George Cutter, CG36 for the race due to its long waterline, stability, seaworthiness and generous rig.
Having found the right boat in Canada, Neuschafer was planning to sail the boat to Maine in the United States for refit but due to COVID-19 restrictions she ended up in Prince Edward Island.
‘I came as an outsider to Prince Edward Island. From the moment I arrived, I’ve only been treated with such kindness and generosity,’ she said. ‘People in the community have taken a genuine interest in this project.’
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The refit of Minnehaha took a year, and was managed by Eddie Arsenault. The boat’s bulwarks have been rebuilt and she has a new deck, chainplates, hull fittings and a new aluminium mast. Reinforcement plates have also been fitted around the spreaders and cap shrouds
Prior to crossing the Atlantic, Neuschafer had only sailed the boat to Prince Edward Island.
She was planning on using the ocean crossing to practice storm tactics like heaving-to techniques, including with a mainsail or storm jib hanked onto the backstay, to find the best heavy weather sailing tactics for the boat.
Neuschafer says she is drawn to the retro aspect of the Golden Globe Race, where entrants race around the world with only the technology available to the original 1968 Golden Globe Race skippers.
This means no GPS, satellite phones, weather routing, chartplotters or autopilots.
Instead, skippers have to navigate their pre-1988 production long-keeled 32-36ft boats using a sextant and rely on a barometer, 100% waterproof HF SSB radio and weather fax for receiving weather charts.
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