Lisa Blair blog: Back to no wind

On Monday February 21, Australian sailor Lisa Blair set sail from Albany, WA in a second attempt to sail solo, non-stop, around Antarctica in record time aboard her yacht ‘Climate Action Now’.

In her latest blog post, light winds slow down Blair’s record attempt.

Blog day 49
Latitude 51 36.98S
Longitude 44 38.119W
Barometer 1004
Air Temp 5c
Local time 0738 UTC-3
LIVE TRACKER

Hi all,

Well, when I went to bed last night the winds were still blowing in at 25 to 30 knots and we were still humming along.  I was expecting the conditions to ease by this afternoon so when I woke up at 7pm my time to get prepared for my live cross to Studio 10 today I checked the winds again and we were already down to 10 knots of wind and our speed was suffering. 

I still have two reefs in the mainsail so there simply wasn’t enough sail up for the strength of the winds, however I didn’t have enough time to shake out the two reefs, so I was going to have to put up with the slower speeds for a little longer, until after I crossed to Studio 10.

I went live from the Southern Ocean at 8pm my time which was Sydney 11am and I have to say, every time I have a zoom call or get the opportunity to chat with people from all the way down here, it blows me away.  I have been alone at sea and suddenly I am crossing live to a TV station in Sydney. I must do a shout out here to Pivotel for doing such a great job of setting up all the communications. 

On board, I am carrying an Iridium Vessel Link system, and this is what allows me to zoom.  This runs through a device called a red port optimizer and that device basically ‘optimizes’ the signal and stops things like software updates from happening on my Microsoft Surface book 3.  And so here I was chatting to studio 10 and hopefully sharing my story and the message of Climate Action Now with more people.

After my friendly interview I found myself procrastinating about going on deck.  I could hear the patter of rain and I just didn’t want to be climbing out of my warm cabin to get hit with freezing rain.  After a short delay, and a little whinge, I geared up in my Musto waterproofs and climbed on deck.  The ocean was almost a millpond around me with a small residual swell from the previous winds. 

It was just enough to roll us around, so while I was winching up the mainsail and shaking out those reefs the boom was banging back and forth making a heck of a racket.  I need the mainsail to be pointing directly into the wind when I am shaking or putting in a reef (shortening the sail).

Instead of turning the boat into the wind we (aka me and Climate Action Now) ease out the main sheet (the control line for the boom and mainsail) and alter its angle to the wind, but with the sideways rocking all it was doing was crashing to port one second and back to starboard the next. 

In the Dimension Polyant mainsail there are five fiberglass batons that stretch the sail out and help to give it the best shape. It is the wind that pushes these batons the right way. Well, the winds were so light now that my sail was on the starboard side, but the batons were curved the wrong way to port.  I tried to flick the sail using the mainsheet rope, but it just wasn’t happening.

In the end, I was rescued by a small gust that was enough to pop the batons the right way and straighten the sail up so it actually looked correct again.

I had been on deck for an hour now, so I finished securing the boom with the preventer line to stop it flapping around, re-set the course and went below.  My hands were prunes now and I immediately set the kettle on the stove with salt water and refilled my hot water bottle. 

Once it was heated, instead of just hugging it like a normal person, I unzipped my foul weather salopettes (like overalls) and shoved the hot water bottle down my front to get me warm again before turning and going to change out the next set of micro plastic samples.

The rest of the evening was quiet, I had all my sails up, the full mainsail and the No 1 jib, but without wind there wasn’t a lot I could do.  The winds had yet to drop out to the point where the auto pilot couldn’t steer, but they were still very light. So, while I had a flat surface, I decided to cook up a lovely big hot meal.  Because have been struggling to get any real sleep for days, I have mostly been surviving of porridge, so I took the opportunity to get creative. 

I ended up making a freeze-dried coconut almond curry and then fried up some naan breads on the stove adding butter and garlic to them.  It was soooo good and much needed.  And now as the first of the new day has arrived I am ready to get some sleep with my new food baby.

Before I go I would like to thank todays wonderful degree sponsors.

Thank you to:

50 West – Huge shout out and thank you to John & Anne Leece and the Balmoral Boatshed for your support of my solo circumnavigation of Antarctica allowing me to raise awareness of Climate Action Now and complete valuable citizen science

45 West – Glass Australia P/L – Huge thanks to David, Shelia, Claire and Renee Weatherly for your amazing support, Glass Australia has supporting this project with a total of 9 degrees so a massive thank you to you all.

Good night all.

Lisa

Note from mum – Just in case you missed it, here is a great interview from Studio 10. Lisa looked very tired (as she keeps telling us), but well. There seemed to be a bit of confusion with some video from the 2017 attempt, but apart from that, the coverage was really good. See: https://www.facebook.com/Studio10au/videos/1055942291659523

How to follow Lisa Blair’s voyage:

Track Lisa Blair’s position on her website – https://lisablairsailstheworld.com/

To sponsor Lisa Blair, see – https://lisablairsailstheworld.com/sponsors

Lisa Blair’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/LisaBlairSailstheWorld

To purchase Lisa Blair’s book ‘Facing Fear’, see – https://lisablairsailstheworld.com/eco-shop

Coursemaster Autopilot
Windcraft
Nav at Home
Lagoon 51
Pantaenius Sailing
M.O.S.S Australia
Nav at Home
Lagoon 51