P.E.I. supporters celebrate as Kirsten Neuschäfer wins Golden Globe circumnavigation race
STORY CONTINUES BELOW THESE SALTWIRE VIDEOS
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. — The room erupted in cheers.
Champagne bottles had been popped.
Lennie Gallant grabbed his guitar.
It was time to rejoice.
She had carried out it.
Their woman had received – and sailed proper on into the historical past books.
Kirsten Neuschäfer completed first within the 2022 Golden Globe, turning into the one lady to ever win a solo circumnavigation yacht race.
And she or he did it with somewhat assist from her mates in P.E.I.
A pair dozen of them gathered at Summerside’s Silver Fox Leisure Complicated on April 27 to observe the reside feed as Neuschäfer crossed the end line in Les Sable D’Olon, France. Of the 16 boats that began the gruelling race, solely three completed. She had sailed out of that very same metropolis on Sept. 4, 2022, and had not stepped onto land at any level within the interim.
It was a second of profound satisfaction for Susan Cousins.
In 2021, Cousins and her husband Darren had been approached with a request to let Neuschäfer use their massive workshop within the Malpeque space to refit her yacht, Minnehaha, in preparation for the Golden Globe. They ended up not solely befriending the South African sailor however adopting her as a part of the household.
“Now I’ve needed to fear about her for the final eight months,” laughed Cousins.
“I knew she would win. If you meet her and get to know her, what she’s carried out in her life, you knew she was going win,” she added.
“She’s a tremendous girl.”
The truth is, each Darren and Eddie Arsenault, an area jack-of-all-trades who labored tirelessly alongside Neuschäfer for months rebuilding Minnehaha, had been in France, on a ship cheering their good friend on as she crossed the end line.
“I’m simply afraid of what comes subsequent,” mentioned Cousins with a smile.
“She’s going to be on to her subsequent journey and Lord solely is aware of what that’s.”
After he grabbed his guitar, Gallant, certainly one of P.E.I.’s preeminent singer-songwriters, lead the room in a rendition of the music he wrote for and about Neuschäfer, “On the Minnehaha.”
Gallant wrote the music after he and his companion, Patricia Richard, befriended Neuschäfer whereas she was residing in P.E.I.
“It’s nice to see an exquisite individual like that obtain a dream. It means loads,” mentioned Gallant, as the group watched the feed of Neuschäfer being escorted to port by a small flotilla of ships, flares burning, horns blaring and French crowds cheering.
“We’ve been on-line 4 or 5 instances a day checking up on her, so we really feel like we made the entire journey along with her nearly. I used to be very impressed to write down a music about her.”
Arleigh Hudson is one other Islander who shortly developed a friendship with Neuschäfer after assembly her in 2021.
Neuschäfer sailed Minnehaha into port in Summerside one frigid day in January. She solely knew one individual right here and he wasn’t within the province on the time. COVID-19 isolation necessities had been nonetheless in place in order that mutual good friend requested Hudson to be Neuschäfer’s help individual. They hit it off from there.
“Thanks to everybody,” mentioned Hudson, who has continued to work on Neuschäfer’s group.
“I’m so blessed and grateful to have been part of this and to have met Kirsten and subsequently met all these individuals. It’s completely lovely – so thanks.”
Former Summerside mayor Invoice Martin, a sailor himself, was additionally an enormous supporter of Neuschäfer’s efforts and watched with glee as she claimed high place. He and his spouse travelled to France final yr to observe the beginning of the race.
“I don’t know what phrase you’d use to explain it. Exhilarating? Unbelievable? I’ve been monitoring the progress of this race because it began,” mentioned Martin.
“She’s only a fantastic younger girl with unimaginable expertise, unimaginable talent, unimaginable expertise – and now she’ll be a world-class hero.”
“She’s the true deal.”
Martin was a part of a small group that organized a fundraising gala for Neuschäfer earlier than she left the Island and picked up greater than $14,000 to help her dream. They’re planning one other occasion, this time a kitchen get together, for Could 13, 7 to 9 p.m., on the Silver Fox Leisure Complicated. There shall be 200 tickets out there at $50.
Neuschäfer would possibly even put in an look, if solely through a video hyperlink.
She would possibly even have her land legs again by then.