Kirsten Neuschäfer is the 2023 Female World Sailor of the Year

South Africa’s Kirsten Neuschäfer has been named Female 2023 Rolex World Sailor of the Year at the prestigious awards ceremony in Malaga, Spain on Wednesday, 15 November 2023. Photo: Tim Bishop/GGR/PPL

SA Sailing have sent their congratulations to Kirsten Neuschäfer after the Gqeberha sailor was named Female 2023 Rolex World Sailor of the Year, at the prestigious awards ceremony in Malaga, Spain on Wednesday, 15 November 2023.

Neuschäfer was chosen out of a shortlist of four finalists, all nominated by leading figures in the sailing world, after writing her name into the history books by becoming the first woman to finish first in the solo Golden Globe Race, a journey around the world reliant on no modern technology. She also came to the rescue of a fellow sailor during the course of the event. 

“It’s such an incredible honour to be a nominee among such amazing, acclaimed and iconic sailors, but to win this award, to be given this recognition by such an esteemed panel of judges and by the public means so, so much to me. Thank you to everyone who has believed in me and cheered me on.” 

Kirsten Neuschäfer, Female 2023 Rolex World Sailor of the Year

President of SA Sailing Michael Robinson once again hailed Neuschäfer’s remarkable achievements, saying: “We are so proud of what Kirsten has achieved and send our heartfelt congratulations on adding this prestigious award to her already significant list of accolades.

“Kirsten accomplished what no South African sailor has done before – winning a round-the-world race, and what’s more she did it without the use of modern GPS systems and single-handedly. What a remarkable woman she is.

“This award is just reward for all her efforts and we wish her all the very best in whatever challenge she next sets for herself as she personifies that true South African spirit that anything is indeed possible with hard work and a great deal of determination.

“We are immensely proud,” said Robinson, adding that this is the first time a South African sailor has claimed an individual accolade at the prestigious World Sailing Awards.


Main Photo Caption: South Africa’s Kirsten Neuschäfer has been named Female 2023 Rolex World Sailor of the Year at the prestigious awards ceremony in Malaga, Spain on Wednesday, 15 November 2023. Photo: Tim Bishop/GGR/PPL

Photo 2 Caption: The global recognition follows the Gqeberha sailor having written her name into the history books by becoming the first woman to finish first in the solo Golden Globe Race. Photo: Kirsten Neuschäfer on Instagram

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