Lisa Blair blog: Excitement of snow

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, Blair gets excited after it ‘snows’ down on Climate Action Now. And she continues to rest up ahead of a storm.

Blog day 57
Latitude 49 52.41S
Longitude 09 39.58W
Baro 992
Air temp 1.5c
Local time 726 UTC
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Hi all,

Well after the mellow conditions I have had for the last little while I was surprised to find the conditions almost completely different today when I went on deck at sunrise. I went to bed last night with two reefs in the mainsail, the storm jib, and the no 2 headsail which was half furled away, effectively reefing it too. The winds had swung to the north again yesterday but they have backed now to the WNW so I was sailing on a broad reach in mostly 25 knots of wind and making some great headway.

I have been so out of sorts with my sleeping patterns that when I woke it felt more like night-time, so instead of making a hot bowl of porridge I ended up making some breakfast toasted wraps with beans and vegan cheese in them. They were wonderful, but as I was making them, the winds started to build. We were starting to get 30 knots of wind as another squall came across. We were pressed by the winds but Climate Action Now was handling the swell well enough so continued with breakfast.

While I was eating it however, we started to get 35 knots of wind and as I knew that there was a low pressure trough passing over us today. I decided that I would need to put the third reef in. My boom is compromised with that small hairline crack, so I also wanted to baby it through these conditions a little, and currently it was a little too much pressure.

I finished shoving food into my mouth and then donned my lifejacket and climbed out on deck. The seas were a wild mess. The seas were only around five metres but were already breaking. We were getting shoved around a little from the white water. I was surprised we had been holding so well. I put the third reef in the sail and went back below. The temperature was down to 3.5 degrees, and it felt like fire on my hands.

Touching anything metal on deck was immediate pain, so when I went below I huddled for nearly 10 minutes with my hands shoved under my armpits and tears pricking my eyes from the throbbing. It really is a unique type of torcher.

Back below and things mellowed out with the winds coming in sections as the squalls hit and would build to 35 knots, one squall blew in at 42 knots and then in the lulls afterwards we would be rolling around in the swell in 20 knots of wind again. As night settled in it seemed that the conditions had eased, and the winds started moving from the WNW to the W and then to the WSW so I needed to put a gybe in.

The winds at the time were 20 knots and so it was a quick and simple affair, but not even five minutes later when I had finished up and climbed back inside the boat, the next squall hit.

I was sitting in the navigation station filling in the log from the gybe when I could hear the pitter-patter of what sounded like rain, but it sounded a little off and little hollow. It was different enough for me to get up and see why. I looked out the hatch and the decks of Climate Action Now were coated with a thin covering of little, tiny balls of ice. Not quite hail but not quite snow. I am assuming it would be labelled as sleet. I got giggly with excitement as this was something new and different.

I stood at the hatch and watched it fall. I checked my temperature gauge, it was now reading 1.5 degrees Celsius. Wow that is cold. As I watched the sleet settled down and started to change and before my eyes, I started to see snowflakes blowing around. Ha it was snowing, very lightly but I am calling it. It snowed, and I was so excited about it.

The squall blew over but the next two also dumped a mixture of sleet and snow and the temperature dropped a little more down to 1.3 degrees Celsius. I promptly went and heated up my hot water bottle and shoved it down inside my Musto Mid layers because, burr its cold out here. I am expecting the full force of the storm to start building tonight and so it’s likely I will be hove to by this time tomorrow so I am going to keep trying to get some more rest but before I go I would like to thank tonight’s amazing degree sponsor.

Huge thank you to:

011 West – Andy Schell in honour of Gail Schell “Hold fast to your dreams”. Thank you Andy for your amazing support and the very inspiring quote from your mother. She sounds amazing.

Goodnight all.


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