Cole Brauer: When dreams become real
Published on October 26th, 2023
Twenty solo skippers have entered the inaugural Global Solo Challenge, with a pursuit format for boats from 34 to 70 feet having start times in A Coruña, Spain from August 26 to January 6.
Nine competitors are to start on October 28, and among them is Cole Brauer who seeks to become the first American woman to race a sailboat solo around the globe.
At 29 years old, she is one of five Americans and the only female sailor in the fleet. Sailing the Class40 First Light, she hopes her participation sends a message to sailors in her country.
“If young American women growing up can see, through my campaign, that this is possible, they might dream even bigger than what I’m doing,” says Brauer who doesn’t see gender as she prepares for the race.
“I don’t notice myself being any different than the other competitors. There’s no gender when you’re alone on the ocean. You’re just a sailor who’s out there, who has to make it work.
Brauer is a Long Island native who began sailing while attending the University of Hawaii at Minoa. After moving back east, Brauer spent several years captaining First Light, then called Dragon, for a previous owner who raced the boat primarily in on the east coast and Caribbean circuits.
New owners purchased the boat in late 2022 and offered to let her continue sailing it for the season, during which Brauer won the 2023 Bermuda One-Two with co-skipper Cat Chimney. The duo were the first women to win the event in its 24-edition history. After that victory, Brauer set her sights on the Global Solo Challenge.
She likes her chances, and finds her gender as an advantage. “When I’m standing on a dock with some of the women on my shore team, I can tell that the energy is different. You can tell that having women on the campaign makes it a better atmosphere, so I don’t know why there’s so much resistance to equal pay and equal involvement for women in this sport.”
After completing the Ocean Globe Challenge, she intends to campaign for the 2028 Vendée Globe, the premier solo, non-stop around the world race in the 60-foot IMOCA.