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Kirsten Neuschäufer voted female 2023 Rolex Sailor of the Year

Kirsten Neuschäufer has been voted female 2023 Rolex Sailor of the Year, after becoming the first woman to win the solo Golden Globe Race (GGR) trophy. During the race, which uses only 1960s navigation technology, she also rescued fellow competitor Tapio Lehtinen after his yacht sank.

Kirsten set out with the clear goal to win the 2022 Golden Globe Race and, at the same time, make history for women sailors. Her determination to achieve her goals involved choosing a boat that she believed could cope with the extremes of the Southern Ocean and be fast enough to win the race. Hours of refitting, hardwork and preparation got Minnehaha, a Cape George 36, ready for the race start. Throughout the GGR she pushed the boat hard, with many hours hand-steering rather than relying on the self-steering and going to the extremes of diving the boat for 8 hours to remove barnacles.

Zhik provided Kirsten with a variety of technical apparel, including the heavy duty Zhik OFS900 Ocean foul weather range and lighter weight, highly durable CST500 coastal gear. “We are all thrilled for Kirsten that the Rolex Sailor of the Year award recognises her outstanding achievement and her entering the record books,” comments Johnny Rogers, Zhik’s Marketing Partnerships & Global Sponsorship Manager.

“We like to feel Zhik played a small part in Kirsten’s success. Our team sailors have to be highly resilient and so does Zhik gear. All of Zhik’s products go through many hours of detailed design, development, testing and tweaking with professional sailors such as Kirsten, so we can ensure each garment provides highly durable, waterproof, breathable protection, day-in-day-out. What’s really rewarding for our design team is when our sailors achieve their goals and also when we get amazing feedback from them.”

During the race Kirsten sent a written note back off the boat to her team manager Charly Hewett, who passed it on to Zhik. Kirsten writes, “Another thing I’m really enjoying is my foulies! Man, that Zhik stuff is the best foul weather gear I’ve ever worn.

Usually it’s such a drag to get into foulies, but with this new stuff it’s a real joy. I can’t believe you managed to pull that off at the the 11th hour and that they were so willing to be supportive. Please tell them a big thank you from me and put it on a Facebook post how thrilled I am with the gear!”

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