Kirsten Neuschäfer makes history in toughest global solo yacht race

Good news stories from the past seven days

South African skipper Kirsten Neuschäfer
South African skipper Kirsten Neuschäfer
(Image credit: Olivier Blanchet/ALeA/Getty Images)

The world’s toughest round-the-world solo yacht race has been won by a woman for the first time. Kirsten Neuschäfer, a 40-year-old skipper from South Africa, took 233 days to complete the Golden Globe Race. Participants (who were all male apart from Neuschäfer) set off from the west coast of France in September, and were due to sail non-stop around the world via the five Great Capes. By the time Neuschäfer got back to France last week, she was one of just three sailors left from the starting 16. “I’m very happy,” she said, “but I entered as a sailor and being a woman is just secondary.”

Swimmers back pop-up pool scheme

Olympian swimmers including Ellie Simmonds and Adam Peaty are backing a new pop-up pool scheme designed to help more children learn to swim. Starting in the West Midlands, the temporary pools will be installed in marquees in the grounds of selected primary schools, many of them in areas where there are no public pools within easy striking distance. The aim is to teach pupils to swim 25 metres. Currently, almost a third of Year 6 children are unable to swim.

RHS adds treasures to digital archive

The Royal Horticultural Society is offering free digital access to 10,000 treasures from its archive. The items in its new online library, many of which are too fragile to handle, include books, photographs and herbarium specimens spanning 500 years of gardening history. Among the highlights are an 1876 seed book containing prints of rare vegetable varieties, and Capability Brown’s account book, which reveals in elegant handwriting that the king paid him £500 on 26 April 1765, but notes that it had been “due in March”.

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