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Australian sailor Lisa Blair to go for Antarctic record

by Nancy Knudsen on 8 Feb 2014
Fedor Konyukhov crosses the Finish Line: Official Finish Time 1056:50 WST, 0256:50 UTC, 07 May 08 Antarctica Cup Antarctica Cup Racetrack © http://www.antarcticacup.com

Russian solo circumnavigator Fedor Konyukhov has held the Circumnavigation of Antarctica record at 102 days since May 2008. However, now there's another sailor, Australian yachtie Lisa Blair, who is gearing up to break his record.

If she succeeds, Lisa will also become the first woman ever to circumnavigate Antarctica solo, non-stop and unassisted below 45° South.


Australian Lisa, 28, was a shop assistant before changing her life and becoming a professional global sailor. She aims to make history and break Russian Fedor Konyukhov’s current standing speed record of 102 days, 0 hours, 56 minutes, 50 seconds. She aims to start from Albany, Australia, in November 2014 and complete the circuit in 80 days on board her Open 40 sailing vessel.

Lisa says: 'I will be taking on the gigantic swell of the Southern Ocean with all of its stormy anger while dodging icebergs and sailing in the frigid temperatures blowing off Antarctica. Lisa already knows the Southern Ocean well, having previously finished the around-world Clipper Race in the winning team just over a year ago. She says the experience will stand her in good stead.

'That journey has shown me what we are capable of if we work hard and put our minds to it.'

Only two men have ever completed the 16,400 mile feat. The other was Jon Sanders, who set the original record 18 years before Fedor beat it in 2008.

Yachting legend, Clipper Race founder and adventurer Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, has said: 'One of the phrases we use when inducting new crew is that we want you to say, at the end of your voyage, ‘That was the best thing I have done with my life’. I then want to hear them say ‘So far’.

'Then we know we have changed people and widened their horizons. Lisa is showing everything we hope for. She has found for herself a new challenge and is going for it. Good Luck Lisa.'

A challenge it will be, as Fedor discovered. Setting out from Albany with his Open 85ft monohull Trading Network Alye Parusa on 26th January 2008. he braved a succession of storms, freezing temperatures, the ever present threat of icebergs and collisions with whales. Konyukhov came through it all unscathed, returning to King George Sound at 02: 56:50 UTC (10:56:50 WST) to record the time of 102 days 00 hours 56 minutes 50secs for this 16,400 mile circuit of Antarctica.

The boat Lisa has chosen, Sea Quest:
The Graham Radford-designed IOOD50, (the International Open One Design 50) is designed specifically for short-handed, long distance sailing. The cockpit and cuddy cabin is ideal for the purpose with all the control lines leading to the relatively small cockpit where everything is within easy reach. The cockpit has liferaft stowage and four large tail boxes for all the sheets and halyards.

The cuddy cabin gives excellent 'on deck' protection for the sailor and further shields the watertight companionway door. There are four watertight bulkheads. The keel foil is fabricated from 2205 duplex stainless steel, which is plasma cut from plates of various thicknesses.

All aspects of rudder and steering incorporate double redundancy and the ability to sustain major impacts without damage. The hull and deck are FRP / foam sandwich construction with high-density foam in the slamming areas of the hull and compression areas of the deck.

Custom engineered by Allyacht Spars QLD, double spreader anodised with internal sleeve. The design has American Bureau of Shipping plan approval for Category O.

LOA: 15.24m
LWL: 14.5m
Beam: 3.66m
Draught: 3.25m
Displacement: 8.5tons


To find out more about Lisa's Quest, or to support her, click here

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