Lisa Blair blog: Tactics for the home stretch

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’.

Blair is still trying to raise money to cover project costs. To sponsor Blair, see: https://lisablairsailstheworld.com/sponsors

You can also support by shopping with Lisa.

In her latest blog post, Blair takes in the moment while under the light of the moon. She also looks ahead to what the weather will be like as she nears the finish line in Australia.

Blog day 84
Latitude 48 01.18S
Longitude 104 33.02E
Barometer 1013
Air temp 6c
LIVE TRACKER

Hi all,

Last night was a beautiful night with a full moon shining lots of light around.  The sky was partially covered with clouds and there was only a small amount of swell around.  The winds were blowing in at a stable 20 knots for most of the night and we were able to hold a beam reach or just forward for the night as well.  I had changed over from the No 1 Jib to the No 2 Jib, but I had left the whole of the mainsail up. 

I am pushing now, trying to make up for the time loss with these frustrating weather patterns, so in normal conditions I would likely have needed to put the first reef in the mainsail, it was on the edge of needing it, but as the seas were as calm as they were Climate Action Now was simply gliding through the water like a queen. On deck, before I went below for sleep, I simply stood there with my head torch off, the light of the moon to see by, and simply watched and enjoyed it.  

It almost felt like I was flying in the dark. It took me a minute to notice that I was grinning like a fool, and it is moments like these that make all the sleepless nights and knockdowns worth it.  It is truly a freeing feeling when you can enjoy a simple moment in the dark, flying across the ocean like this.  After nearly an hour on deck I finally went below with a frozen face.

Sleep was a little hard to come by.  It was close to 6am by the time I got to bed and fell asleep.  I had been watching the winds very closely, and when I shut the Volvo Penta motor off after using it out of gear to charge the batteries, I suddenly found a very annoying noise. 

While the good news was that the wind generators were working again, all of them, the bad news was that the port side unit had a horrible vibration to it.  Not enough to stop using it, but enough to keep someone awake who is trying to sleep on a moving platform. So, sleep was patchy.  I woke still feeling rather tired at noon. 

I am trying to force myself to wake up earlier as part of an effort to get to bed earlier.  It is not working yet as its already 3am and I am still up writing this blog.  I know that once I reach land in a week or less, then I am going to have to adjust to the real world. Things like staying up all night because of the wind and sleeping most of the day simply won’t be possible, so, if I can adjust a little now, I might not have to suffer through a jet lag of sorts when I return. 

Once I was up for the day and completed the micro plastic sample changes there has been very little to do, so I spent a bit of time looking at the weather that I am likely to get between now and Australia. After some discussion with Bob (metbob) we decided that it would be best to sail a more north course now. 

Currently the winds are blowing in from the NW to WNW, so I could sail directly to the rounding mark on a broad reach or sailing on a NE course of 040 True on a beam to close reach sail angle and get a bit more northerly ground under me.  Currently the winds are manageable but soon they are forecast to move to the North and even to the NNE a little and fill in up to 40 knots. 

I would be sailing close hauled in this and going nowhere but sideways, so hopefully by getting some more north direction now instead of in a day or so time I can then have a slightly better angle to the winds when this next front hits, allowing me to maintain speeds and reach Australia a little bit earlier.  So that is what we are doing at the moment.  

I am still able to make some good speeds averaging 8.5 knots and covering over 200 nm in the last 24 hours which is a whole lot better than the 100nm from the day before.

Bob currently has me rounding the official turning point of 45 S and 115 10E this coming Friday, and after that it is a short 500 nm back to Australia.  It is not a record requirement that I cross my track below 45 degrees south. For me though, I believe that it is better to be able to say that I have crossed all tracks and completed the whole circumnavigation below 45 south deep in the Southern Ocean.

Officially the clock won’t stop until I pass the official finish line, which is between the Emu Point Lookout and the Lighthouse off Breaksea Island in Albany.  Then, and only then, will I be successful. Things are looking good though at the moment, with such a short distance left to sail.  I still have two storm systems to go through between here and there so I am still playing it as safe as can be.

Before I go tonight, would like to take a moment to thank the following degree sponsor. 

Huge thank you to:

102 East – d’Albora Marinas – Martha Cove, Mornington VIC – d’Albora Marinas were my very first sponsor way back in 2015 when I first purchased Climate Action Now. It is my honour to be able to say a huge thank you for your enduring support and I look forward to many more projects to come.  I am proud to partner with a brand that delivers a great marina berthing experience and takes caring for our marine environment seriously, so thank you.

Goodnight, all.

Lisa

Pantaenius Sailing
M.O.S.S Australia
Sun Odyssey 380
West System Afloat
Coursemaster Autopilot
Windcraft
Nav at Home
Lagoon 51