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Going solo: Lisa Blair's next record attempt

by Carolyn Grant 14 Aug 2018 22:16 PDT
Regional Rear Commodore Paul Furniss caught up with Australian solo sailor and featured speaker Lisa Blair at the Sydney International Boat Show © RRC Paul Furniss

This week, Lisa Blair has announced her latest adventure, to become the first woman to sail solo around Australia with plans to depart in October 2018. The Australian is no stranger to such a challenge and holds the record for the first woman to sail solo around Antarctica.

Departing from Sydney Australia in mid-October, Lisa will be circumnavigating the entire coastline of Australia anti-clockwise and, as a solo challenge, will be the only person on board, taking approximately six weeks to complete the epic journey.

Her latest challenge will also see Sunshine Coast born Lisa circumnavigate the entire of Australia non-stop and unassisted for a total distance of 6,536 nautical miles. Unexpectedly this presents even more challenges than her Antarctica venture with one of her biggest obstacles other sea traffic, as well as reefs, rocks and constant changes in wind direction. These challenges will be a constant presence meaning sleep will be a luxury.

Lisa only first discovered boats when she was 22, working as a hostess on a sailing boat in the Whitsundays, yet had sailed around the world by the time she was 27 clocking up over 50,000 nautical miles. By then, she'd already decided her natural step forward would be to go solo and this has seen her add another 20,000 nautical miles to her experience.

Lisa comments "I now love the solo aspect of sailing and that there's no one else to rely on. If I don't get up and check the instruments or fix what's broken, there's no one else to pick up the slack. For me it's the challenge of keeping both myself, and Climate Action Now together."

Lisa aims to inspire women and youth with her circumnavigation, citing gender bias as one of the reasons that inspired her to complete the 2017 Rolex Sydney to Hobart race with an all-female crew.

"There are some exceptional women in the sailing world at the moment. I feel the recognition is definitely there, but sometimes it takes pioneers to push others to take up the challenge," she said.

Lisa will be re-fitting her vessel to be 100% sustainably powered raising awareness of the message Climate Action Now, the name of her boat. Lisa founded Climate Action Now, designed to focus on the positive actions that can be taken by individuals to tackle climate change. She invites the community to complete post-it notes with an environmental action on her website.

Renaming her yacht to reflect this movement back in 2016, Lisa now digitally transfers her climate change messages into a vinyl hull-wrap proudly showcasing the 100's of commitments.

Lisa was awarded the Spirit of Adventure award by Australian Geographic and the Seamanship Award by the Ocean Cruising Club and finished off last year by partnering with The Magenta Project.org and leading the first all-female team in 16 years to race in the Rolex 2017 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race on board her yacht Climate Action Now.

Lisa aims to become:

  • The first woman to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia.
  • The first 100% sustainably powered vessel to undertake a consecutive non-stop, unassisted, voyage around Australia.
  • The first mono-hull to complete a solo, non-stop and unassisted voyage around Australia where she intends to establish a new speed record.
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