Lisa Blair – halfway home and enjoying good conditions

Lisa Blair is making good progress on the final leg of her circumnavigation of Antarctica. Having put in to Cape Town after breaking her mast, she is now halfway across the Indian Ocean and heading back to the starting point in Albany, Western Australia.

Evening all,

Last night was a good night at sea with a steady 10-15 knots of wind, initially blowing in from the North East. I was managing a course of 110 True but was able to get a better northerly direction when the winds backed to the North West direction.

I have since been making good time of 7-8 knots on a course of 080 True, getting north a little bit with the 1st reef in the main sail, along with the storm jib that I refuse to take down and the stay sail out. I am being over cautious with the main sail as there are those little holes in the bottom section from chafe so I have been reefing early.

When daylight arrived I could see that it was going to be a cold wet day as there is a heavy fog around the boat with this misty rain. I cant see more than a mile in any direction and the fog has remained all day. With the swell being slight there is an eerie calm around the boat which is slightly spooky, it will be nice to be back in the sunshine again although I hear Australia is having a rather cold time of it at the moment.

Throughout the day the winds built up to 20-15 knots of wind and I put in the 2nd reef in the main sail and partly furled away the stay sail on the Pro Furler and the boat is still cruising along. It is a very nice change to have enough wind to sail by but not so much so that I am in a storm…… a girl could get used to this. The boat is almost flat and the B&G auto pilot is also having a nice time of is as the boat is not getting violently thrown around in the seas. Instead I have less than 3 meters of swell and there is very little sea state on top making it smooth sailing.

I have now been at sea for a bit over 3 weeks, 24 days to be exact and it is good to see how the boat is holding up including the new mast. The mast itself is a very sturdy section sourced from a boat called Thunder Child. The funny thing is that I was actually berthed in Thunder Child's pen at the Royal Cape Yacht Club only to then end up buying their old mast, quite the lucky coincidence. The rigging wire supplied by Arcus Wire and Rigging is holding it up nicely and my Lancelin ropes from My Yacht still look like new. Having weathered some pretty big storms with the new mast I am happy to say it has my full confidence again.

I also spent a little of today doing a bit of house keeping, a general clean up, sponge out the bilges and I also dug out a new food bag so I have a bunch more goodies to get stuck into. I am starting to really think of home. I still haven't crossed the halfway point of this leg of the journey.

Coming up next is the Kerguelin Island, which marks almost exactly the halfway point of the trip and also the last island before Australia. I am sailing towards the NE to get up to the north of this island as there is a large area of shallows that surround it. I will likely be spending all of tomorrow night sailing past and will have reached that halfway point and be sailing home on the final stretch.

Tonight I am expecting a little front to come through with some higher winds but it will be short lived and I don't believe it will have anything over 30 knots.  I might be needing to put that third reef in the main sail through the night though…….. time will tell.


JPK August 2023