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Isabelle Autissier Biography

Passion For The Sea, Around The World, Capsized, Averting Disaster—again, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments

1956-

French yacht racer

During a decade of competitive marathon sailing, Isabelle Autissier demonstrated nearly supernatural sailing prowess and unmitigated bad luck. She is the first woman to sail around the world alone and she piloted a yacht from New York to San Francisco by way of Cape Horn in world-record time. She also capsized and barely eluded death—twice—in violent, remote seas near Antarctica. Autissier retired from the sport as a national heroine in her native France and is widely regarded as the best woman ocean racer ever. "When you get down to it," Cruising World magazine concluded, "there is no one else on the planet like Isabelle Autissier."

Sketch by David Wilkins

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