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Isabelle Autissier

Around The World

Autissier entered the 1990-91 running of the BOC around-the-world yacht race, the first woman to compete in the contest. The grueling race, which has been renamed Around Alone, is run every four years and requires sailors to travel 27,000 miles over eight months. It begins and ends on the East Coast of the United States, with stops in South Africa, Australia, and Uruguay. During the second leg of the race, Autissier's 60-foot yacht, named Ecureuil Poitou-Charentes, lost its mast in rough seas and high winds as she neared Australia. She fashioned a makeshift rig, limped into port, made repairs, and set out again. She completed the voyage, finishing seventh. It was the first time a woman sailor had circumnavigated the globe alone. "It was wonderful because I discovered everything: I discovered sailing alone for a long time, the Southern Ocean, everything," Autissier said in a Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service article. "It was really a wonderful experience.… I came back to Newport (Rhode Island) and … I thought: I did what I have wanted to do in life. Since I was a little girl, I wanted to sail around the world, and now I have done it. The rest of my life is extra."

Autissier again displayed her sailing prowess—including expert understanding of weather patterns, currents, and navigation—while setting a world record in the spring of 1994. She and a three-man crew piloted her new yacht, the Ecureuil Poitou-Charentes 2, around Cape Horn from New York to San Francisco in just sixty-two days, five hours, and fifty-five minutes—beating the old record by two weeks.

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Famous Sports StarsOther SportsIsabelle Autissier Biography - Passion For The Sea, Around The World, Capsized, Averting Disaster—again, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments