When Lisa Blair signed up for the Solo Trans-Tasman Yacht Race, there was just one problem: she didn’t have a boat. Neither that, nor the fact that it was her first solo sailing voyage, could stop her. It’s this level of commitment that has seen Blair become the first woman to sail solo around both Antarctica and Australia.
On January 2017 Lisa sent out with the goal to not only become the first woman to sail solo and unassisted around Antarctica without stopping, but also the fastest person to do so. To achieve this, she would need to beat Russian explorer and adventurer, Fedor Konyukhov’s time of 102 days.
But 72 days into her voyage Blair’s boat dismasted after a shroud snapped in extreme weather. Blair, a skilled offshore sailor, was lucky to survive in the dead of night in horrendous hyperthermic conditions. She set up a jury rig and sailed to Cape Town, South Africa, where the boat was repaired, allowing her to continue her journey.
On July 25, 2017, Lisa Blair became the first woman to sail solo and unassisted around Antarctica — with one stop.
Proud of her accomplishments Blair returned to Australia a celebrated world record breaking sailor. But for this tenacious sailor she knew she had unfinished business in the Southern Ocean and set her sights on a second attempt.
Almost five years later, the 38-year-old Queensland-born sailor is off again. On Monday 21st February 2022, Blair departed from Albany, WA, to finish what she started in 2017.
On this journey Blair is using her time at sea to collect valuable data in the Southern Ocean such as water temperature, carbon dioxide levels and salinity levels. That information will then be used by the Clean Ocean Foundation (COF), Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Bureau of Meteorology to better understand the impacts of climate change on the Southern Ocean.
Photo Credits: Corrina Ridgeway