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Unsurprisingly, sailing around the world isn’t easy. Doing it alone in a racing capacity? Well, that’s another matter entirely. Cole Brauer did just that, and in doing so, became the first American woman to solo race around the world in a boat driven by wind. 

Cole Brauer, 29, became the first American woman to solo sail around the world

University of Hawaii graduate Cole Brauer took off and returned to the coast of Spain. By the journey’s end, her boat, “First Light,” had covered 30,000 miles and crossed three oceans. However, in the end, Brauer was immortalized as the first American woman to solo race around the world in a sailboat. 

Consequently, Cole Brauer also holds the record for the fastest circumnavigation by a solo woman sailor. That record will stand until another brave soul attempts a continuous race trip around the globe in a racing context. It should be said, that Brauer isn’t the first woman to sail around the world. That title belongs to Polish adventure sailor Krystyna Chojnowska-Liskiewicz, per Reuters

Cole Brauer waves flares aboard the 'First Light' after a sail around the world.
Cole Brauer on the ‘First Light’ | Instagram @colebraueroceanracing

She is, however, the fastest American woman to take on the task. What’s more, at 29, Brauer was the youngest skipper in her race. She’s in top-tier company, as well. Brauer follows in the footsteps of greats like Dame Ellen MacArthur. Dame MacArthur crushed previous records with a 2005 circumnavigation that covered over 27,000 miles in under 72 days.

Brauer’s voyage took 130 days, during which she lived aboard “First Light” and cataloged her life. She started from the Spanish coast and made landfall again A Coruna, Spain. Her route took her south along the African coast, around the southernmost tip of South Africa, and then east toward Australia. From there, endless seas took her past Cape Horn in South America before she crossed the Atlantic Ocean on her way back to Spain.