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29-Year-old Becomes First American Woman to Race a Sailboat Solo Around the World

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A 29-year-old woman has become the first woman to race non-stop around the Earth when she arrived in A Coruna, Spain, on Thursday.

Captaining her 40-foot vessel First Light for months, Cole Brauer crossed three oceans and 30,000 miles to arrive at the finish line. She was the only woman who set forth on the Global Solo Challenge.

She is neither the first woman to sail around the world nor the first woman to sail non-stop around the world, but she is the first to do it as part of a competition, and ipso facto also set the world record for the fastest, solo, female, non-stop circumnavigation at 130 days.

Satellite communications allowed her to keep in touch with a logistics team, as well as a horde of over 400,000 followers on social media.

“Solo sailors, you have to be able to do everything,” Brauer told NBC News’ Today Thursday. “You need to be able to take care of yourself. You need to be able to get up, even when you’re so exhausted. And you have to be able to fix everything on the boat.”

Her route took her from Spain down the west coast of Africa where she hugged the Southern Ocean reaches from the Cape of Good Hope, to Australia, to Cape Horn, and up again to Spain across the Atlantic.

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