Cole Brauer - An Inspiration for Women

by Abigail Richardson from MY HERO Staff

In a traditionally male-dominated field, Cole Brauer is a pioneering figure in the sailing world; she has navigated uncharted waters, shattered stereotypes, and carved a path of inspiration for women in the maritime industry.

Brauer's love affair with the sea began at a young age, growing up in Springs, a hamlet of East Hampton on eastern Long Island, New York where her first boat was a kayak that she used to paddle to Springs Middle School in the mornings. She then went to high school in East Hampton, New York followed by the University of Hawai'i where she competed for the university’s sailing team.

In an interview with WindCheck Magazine, Brauer stated, “The first boat I sailed was a CFJ, as part of the University of Hawai’i Sailing Team. My favorite memories of the Sailing Team were the alumni regattas and traveling with the team. My coaches Andy Johnson and Jesse Andrews are to this day among the best coaches I’ve ever had. They pushed me hard to be the best I could be in school and on the water. Andy used to say, “You are never going to look this good and you’re never going to feel this good ever again, so appreciate every second!” And he’s one hundred percent right. I try to appreciate every moment that I have on this earth."

After graduating from Hawai’i with a degree in nutritional science, Cole moved to Maine where she taught sailing at the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club before breaking into the male-dominated sailing community by delivering boats up and down the Atlantic Coast for someone else to race! With grit and perseverance, however, she earned her 100Ton Captain's License in 2018. During the spring and summer, Brauer can be found in Newport, Rhode Island, preparing for races on her boat First Light, a 40-foot yacht.

In 2019, she became the first woman to circumnavigate the globe solo in a sailboat - navigating thousands of nautical miles across oceans and continents, she braved fierce storms, towering waves, and solitude.

155087Cole BrauerWiki Commons

In 2023 Brauer won the Bermuda One-Two© 2023 Yacht Race, 24th Biennial Series completing the 668 nm race between Newport, Rhode Island and Bermuda as the first woman skipper to ever win, not just the first solo leg, but also the double-handed leg back to Newport. Cole completed the single-handed 1st leg in 3 days 4 hours 55 minutes (18 hours ahead of the 2nd place finisher) and the two-handed 2nd leg with mate Cat Chimney in 3 days 1 hour 30 minutes (12 hours ahead of the second place competitor).

Since October 2023, Brauer has been competing, as the only woman, in an around-the-world solo sailing competition that will finish in March 2024 When she crosses the finish line in Spain, she will become the first American woman to sail solo, non-stop around the world.

Throughout her journey, Brauer has kept her more than 400,000 Instagram followers updated and entertained with videos from onboard First Light. On New Year's Eve, she dressed up and danced at midnight, and in another post, she showed off how many pull-ups she can achieve. The trip, however, has been extremely challenging and physically exhausting. Said Brauer in a post from December 2023: "I don't want you guys to think I'm like Superwoman or something. Right now, I've been feeling just broken," she added, describing how she had to fix the boat's autopilot system after injuring her torso against the side of the boat's hull amid intense waves.

Beyond her sailing achievements, Brauer is a passionate advocate for gender equality and women's empowerment in the maritime industry. Through her advocacy and leadership, she has inspired a new generation of female sailors to pursue their dreams and challenge the boundaries of what is possible.

As the only woman racing solo, non-stop around the world in the first-ever Global Solo Challenge, Brauer said she's determined to prove there's nothing women and girls cannot accomplish: "I push so much harder when someone's like, 'No, you can't do that,'" she told NBC Nightly News. "And I'm like, 'OK, watch me.'"

Brauer told WindCheck Magazine: “If you’re interested in sailing offshore and you are a woman, please don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t. It’s all about hard work. Put your head down and work. I started sailing very late but I put my head down, made great contacts, and pushed to make sure that I had a job the next day. One of the best things about sailing is the community!

“I have had many sailing mentors over the years, but I am going to generalize and say that the women in this professional sailing world have been my biggest influences. They have pushed me to be better in every way, not only on the water. Without the professional female sailors, I would not be where I am today.”

We at MY HERO wait with bated as Brauer sets her sights on new horizons and navigates uncharted waters. Cole Brauer is a symbol of hope, resilience, and the enduring spirit of human endeavor, reminding us all that with passion, perseverance, and a willingness to chart our own course, the possibilities are limitless.

For more information, go to: and follow Cole on Instagram:

Page created on 3/5/2024 7:10:39 PM

Last edited 3/5/2024 7:47:28 PM

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