On Saturday, October 20, yachtswoman Lisa Blair will embark on her latest adventure, in an attempt to become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia. The Australian is no stranger to such a challenge and holds the record for the first woman to sail solo around Antarctica.
Departing from d’Albora Marina in Rushcutters Bay this week, the 33-year-old from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, will set off to circumnavigate the entire coastline of Australia, including Tasmania, anti-clockwise as the only person on board. During the epic 6,536 nautical mile voyage she will not be allowed to stop or be assisted at any part of the journey, taking approximately six weeks to achieve the record.
Unexpectedly, Australia presents even more challenges than her Antarctica venture, where she almost lost her life in a de-masting disaster. One of her biggest obstacles now will be other sea traffic, as well as reefs and constant changes in wind direction and weather, including the impending cyclone season. These challenges will be a constant presence meaning sleep will be a luxury, limited to 20 minute stints.
Lisa comments, “People think this circumnavigation is easier because Australia is right there, about 30-50km away for most of the trip, but there is commercial shipping and private boating all around Australia which means I have to keep a constant lookout. In shallow water, instead of the rolling ocean swell, you also get the peaky, steep, sharp little waves and I have nowhere to run.
“Sleep deprivation will be one of my biggest challenges as I’ll need to check the horizon every 20 minutes. Six weeks of this is going to take its toll both physically and mentally so the Woolcock Medical and Research Institute is taking the opportunity to study me by attaching a fitness tracker to monitor my heart rate and sleep stages. I’ll also be keeping a journal of my moods and unusual sleep activity as well as doing twice daily reactive tests to measure my cognitive functioning.”
d’Albora Marinas is Lisa’s primary supporter and sponsor of this current venture which has now been christened ‘d’Albora’s Action Project: AUS 360’.
Suzanne Davies, CEO of d’Albora Marinas said, "We are delighted to support Lisa in her journey to be the first solo female sailor to circumnavigate Australia and are very proud to be part of spreading positive environmental messages. d’Albora and Lisa are very aligned in support of women putting themselves out there to achieve great things and in spreading positive environmental action. We wish Lisa well for a safe and successful journey. On her way she will pass by all of our seven marinas on the east coast and while we would receive her with open arms, we hope that she doesn’t need to stop back in until she returns home to d’Albora Rushcutters Bay, when we look forward to welcoming Lisa home and working with her to further spread her positive messages.”
Lisa adds, “I’m thrilled to have d’Albora Marinas on-board for this adventure. d’Albora have always supported my missions and I’m looking forward to being their ambassador over the next 12 months. d’Albora plans to add a further three sites to their portfolio by the end of the year and I look forward to supporting them in their own exciting journey too.”
Lisa’s 50 feet foot vessel is 100% sustainably powered, raising awareness of her Climate Action Now message, the name of her boat. Lisa founded the Climate Action Now campaign to focus on positive individual actions people can be take to support clean oceans and her hull is wrapped in post-it note messages provided to her.
Lisa invites the public to join a parade of sail to send her off on this epic journey. She will depart Rushcutters Bay at 10am on Saturday 20 October, setting course to the Harbour Bridge before sailing up the middle of Sydney Harbour to the Heads for an official start at 12 noon for her record attempt.
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.