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March 7, 2024

A Mainer is the first American woman to sail solo, nonstop around the world

peson with trophy Courtesy / Global Solo Challenge Facebook screenshot Cole Brauer of Boothbay was cheerful and energetic as she was greeted by a cheering crowd at A Coruña, Spain.

In a grueling nautical competition that dismasted another boat linked to Maine, Cole Brauer of Boothbay landed in A Coruña, Spain, on Thursday morning, and made history as the first American woman to sail alone and nonstop around the world.

Brauer crossed the finish line in the 26,000-mile race, called the Global Solo Challenge, which begins and ends in A Coruña. The race is considered one of the most difficult contests in sports.

She sailed the 40-foot First Light as the race’s youngest and only female competitor, setting out on Oct. 28.

Brauer told race organizers she would deliberately slow her approach to the port in order to arrive at first light — in keeping with the name of her boat. Her arrival to the port was followed by flotilla of boats and she was greeted at the dock by a crowd of cheering family and supporters.

Brauer, born in 1994, has sailed over 50,000 nautical miles. By age 24, she had just completed watch captain gig on a seven-person team in the Pacific Cup, a race from San Francisco to Hawaii, and had aspirations to do the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race. 

She has said she was inspired to enter the Global Solo Challenge by a co-skipper, Cat Chimney, “because it falls in line with the overall goal of being the first American woman to race solo around the world.”

Overall, Brauer finished second among the race's 16 competitors, who came from 10 countries.

Another entrant, dubbed Shipyard Brewing, lost its mast on Feb. 11 and could not complete the race. The 50-foot sailboat was helmed by Ronnie Simpson and sponsored by the Portland brewery of the same name.

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