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First all-female double handed team to race Melbourne to Hobart

by Jonathan Lister 6 Dec 2019 22:27 PST 27 December 2019
Lisa Blair © d'Albora Marinas

On Friday 27th December, high profile yachtswoman and Australian adventurer, Lisa Blair, will make history as the first all-female double-handed team to race in Ocean Racing Club of Victoria's (ORVC) 2019 Melbourne to Hobart Yacht Race.

Joining Lisa on her newly retitled yacht d'Albora / Climate Action Now, co-skipper Jackie Parry is an experienced sailor who has strong support of women on the water and conducts maritime navigation courses.

Working in partnership with d'Albora Marinas, Lisa's double-handed race aims to encourage more women to pursue sailing careers and to continue to promote positive environmental messages.

The Sunshine Coast-born sailor is on a mission to break records and leave her mark in both the sailing and climate action worlds. Holding multi-records at 35 years of age, Lisa is the first woman to sail solo around Antarctica, the first woman to sail solo and non-stop around Australia and the first all-female team in 16 years to race the Rolex 2017 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race. This will be Lisa's first time in the Melbourne to Hobart race.

The annual Melbourne to Hobart race, also known as the Westcoast Challenge, takes approximately two to three days to complete and covers 435 nautical miles, approximately 800 kilometres. Complex and testing, the all-female duo will face diverse sea, wind and tide conditions uniquely associated with the Bass Strait and the Southern Ocean. It's also one of the few blue water races open to two-handed competitors.

Excited by the challenge, Lisa Blair says, "The Melbourne to Hobart is a legendary race where team characteristics such as seamanship, navigation, and tactical skills are key in the outcome rather than the size of the boat. This won't be an easy race to enter, taking us down the west coast of Tasmania before dipping around the bottom into the Southern Ocean where we will be exposed to large winds and waves. One poor decision could cost us the race so we will have to ensure we are focused and push hard the whole race."

Currently based at d'Albora Marina Rushcutters Bay, Lisa and Jackie will set sail for their first time together to Melbourne later this week. Lisa continues, "I'm thrilled to have d'Albora Marinas on-board as the major sponsor for this race. Jackie and I will use this opportunity for some good training, including completing lots of tacks and gybes. Tackling this challenge with Jackie is a great opportunity to align our messaging to encourage more women in sailing, as well as start a conversation about climate change."

Wayne Taranto, CEO of d'Albora Marinas, says, "We are delighted to be sponsoring Lisa in her accomplishment to be the first all-female double-handed boat in the Melbourne to Hobart yacht race. Lisa and Jackie are passionate advocates for encouraging and promoting growth opportunities for women in sailing, as well as a positive environmental action. d'Albora is proud to continue to support Lisa's adventures to achieve this."

Over her sailing career, Lisa has noticed the impact that man-made climate change has had; the storms are more aggressive and less predictable, there is a reduction in wildlife and sea life, and there is an increased risk of collision with ice as the glaciers keep melting. The hull of Lisa's boat is wrapped in notes from the public with pledges for environmental action.

On Saturday 14th December, Lisa Blair will host an 'Open Boat Talk' at d'Albora Marina Victoria Harbour for members and the public. Lisa will share stories from her record-making Antarctic solo expedition, as well as discuss the exciting and challenging Melbourne to Hobart race. Lisa will also provide tours of her yacht, d'Albora / Climate Action Now.

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