Lisa Blair started Antarctica Circumnavigation

The 32-year-old Australian set sail from Albany Waterford Marina on January 22, 2017, 03.21 GMT. She hopes to circumnavigate Antarctica solo, non-stop, and unassisted in less than 100 days.

The 32-year-old Australian set sail from Albany Waterford Marina on January 22, 2017, 03.21 GMT. She hopes to circumnavigate Antarctica solo, non-stop, and unassisted in less than 100 days.

“This is three years in the making with so many hurdles and set backs to overcome,” wrote Lisa from the sea.

Setting off from Albany, Australia

About her start she wrote, “Cruising just under main sail I made my way out the harbour and over to the start line. 10 minutes later I unfurled my jib and tasked the boat north of my start line and sailed back past the official start boat skippered by my official timekeeper Mark McRae. At 011.21, 03.21 GMT I crossed the line to the shouts of joy and good lucks from surrounding boats, pointed my boat south and off I went.”

“Once I cleared the final headland the winds built to 35 knots from the SW. I put the third reef in (reefing is when you shorten the sail) so that the boat wasn’t pressed and 10 minutes later I was doing 3.5 knots as the winds had dropped back to 25 knots… So I shook out reef two and continued sailing with three reefs in my main sail and my small jib partially furled. Having only managed a scant three hours sleep the night before I cleared off a bunk and had a sleep.”

January 24 report

Lisa sailed at a good speed of 9 knots, traveling to 45°South, reported her home team. She will then tack and gybe parallel to a storm front, which is sitting just below her, waiting until it passes through.

Lisa reported she still has 2 reefs in the main and is sailing on the smaller jib. “The most average of the winds would be 25 knots W. I am currently on a beam reach which also puts me side on to the swell. The swell isn’t too big yet, however, I have had a few waves try to go over me… The barometer has been slowly falling as I creep south but nothing alarming. Bob McDavitt who is doing all my weather routing, has forecast that I will enter in the 45ºS mark early Thursday morning (26th) and has recommended that I stay as close to 45 initially to allow a low pressure system to pass below me.”

Lisa says she managed to get a good night sleep, but is a bit sea sick and does not have an appetite. “This is quite normal for me on the first few days at sea and will pass shortly.”

“I am now approximately 400nm from Australia and have about another 200nm to go till I can chuck that left hand turn and really feel like I’m on my way.”

Entering the first gate

January 25, Lisa had a tricky repair job. One of her top bunks on the boat was lying a skew. After a closer inspection she realized that the small circle that the aluminium frame of the bunk slots into, had snapped in two. It carries all the food bags and had to be repaired. The job took her more than three hours.

She achieved her fist big milestone on the 25th, Sailing below 45ºS. “When Fedor set the world record in 2008, he was competing in a race called the Antarctica Cup Ocean Race. This meant he departed from Albany sailed in to a gate entry at 45ºS and completed his circumnavigation of Antarctica between 45 and 60ºS. So whilst I am going for the first women’s record I also want a shot at breaking Fedor’s record of 102 Days so in order to comply with the governing body of the World Sailing Speed Record Council I need to conform to the same requirements that Fedor had and sail between 45ºS and 60ºS.”

Lisa said the weather doesn’t look too severe for a few days however the swell is due to increase. Her weather advisor has asked that she stay as close to 45ºS as she can as her first storm is expected by the 29th, 30th.

Latest reports

January 26: the Winds dropped off to 12-15kn at night so she shook out reef 2. Still has small jib out. She didn’t get to bed till 1.00am in the morning. Lisa has been completing regular boat walks to check that everything is in working order. Winds currently 18-22kn barometer stable at 1007.7.

Location January 27, 05:00:06 AEDT 045º 10.778S, 124º 01.884E. Course 83º @ 6.8 knots, 11ºC.

Lisa’s website

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