Female sailor creates Volvo Ocean Race history
A FORMER world champion, multiple Olympian and Sydney to Hobart campaigner has etched her name in sailing history as the first woman - and mother - to win the eight-month, 45,00 nautical mile Volvo Ocean Race.
Carolijn Brouwer, who lives on the NSW Central Coast with partner and multiple world sailing champion Darren Bundock and son Kyle, was part of the Dongfeng crew - which also included France's Marie Riou and Swiss sailor Justine Mettraux - which claimed victory on Monday in the infamous round-the-world race held every four years.
It was the first leg victory for the Chinese-backed yacht which went into the final leg from Gothenburg to The Hague locked on equal points with two rivals.
"It's crazy. It has been an insane race; it has been an insane leg," said Dutch sailor Brouwer, who also represented Belgium during her Olympic Tornado career.
"We always said that we were going to win a leg and there's no better leg to win than the last one, and here we are and we have won the race.
"I can't describe how I feel.
"My goal was to win the race and to be the first woman to do it is great, but I would really like to thank the team, they were behind us all the way, the shore team and the logistics team while our sailors on the boat pulled it off together."
French skipper Charles Caudrelier and his crew on the 72-foot Dongfeng finished ahead of Mapfre to claim the overall honours.
Aboard Mapfre was Melbourne sailor Sophie Ciszek, one of four Australian women sailing aboard the mixed-crewed yachts in the race around the world.
Both Brouwer and Ciszek sailed aboard the all-female yacht Team SCA in the last round-the-world race.
Both are also expected to compete in this year's Sydney to Hobart in December.