New York native Cole Brauer becomes 1st American woman to sail solo across the world

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Friday, March 8, 2024
NY native becomes 1st woman to solo sail across the world
Cole Brauer is 29 years old and making major history.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- One New York native just made history as she sailed by herself across the world.

Cole Brauer is a 29-year-old skipper from East Hampton. She took part in a sailing challenge and became the the first American woman to sail solo across the globe.

Not only was she the first woman, by she was also the youngest person to win the competition.

The race took Brauer south along the west coast of Africa, around the Cape of Good Hope and then eastward toward Australia. From there, she continued east where Brauer faced the unpredictable, treacherous and deadly Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America before continuing northeast across the Atlantic Ocean toward Spain.

According to, the journey took Brauer four months to get back to the port in Spain where she began the challenge.

And 27,000 miles later, her historic win was well-deserved, and is an inspiring story as Women's History Month gets underway.

While Brauer is the first American woman to circumnavigate the globe alone by sea, she is not first woman to do so. Polish sailor Krystina Chojnowska-Liskiewicz finished her 401-day voyage around the globe on April 21, 1978, according to online sailing sites.

Kay Cottee of Australia was the first woman to achieve the feat nonstop, sailing off from Sydney Harbor in Australia in November 1987 and returning 189 days later.

The global voyage is not an easy one, even on a vessel with a full crew. One of Brauer's social media posts from Dec. 8 showed her frustration.

"I haven't really had the bandwidth to get into everything that's been going on the past 48 hours, but the short version is the autopilot has been acting up again and I needed to replace some parts and do a rudder recalibration," she wrote. "For once the light air is actually helping, but it's been exhausting, and I'm sore and tired."

"It's all part of the journey, and I'm sure I'll be feeling better once the work is done and I've gotten some sleep," Brauer added. "But right now things are tough."

But she's handled the tough, even though some in the sport believed it wouldn't be possible due to her gender and small frame.

"I push so much harder when someone's like, 'no, you can't do that,' or 'you're too small,'" Brauer said.

"It would be amazing if there was just one other girl that saw me and said 'Oh, I can do that, too,'" she added.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

ALSO READ | All-women flight crew takes off from Newark Airport this Women's History Month

Lindsay Tuchman reports.


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