Lisa Blair Update – progress on the new mast

Lisa Blair was 70% of the way to becoming the first woman to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica – when her mast came down. Lisa fashioned a jury rig and after the transfer of fuel from a freighter, motor-sailed to Cape Town where she has been working to get the project back on track. She intends to return to the spot where the mast failed and continue the journey. “Non-stop” and “unassisted” are out of the question now, but she intends to be the first woman to complete the journey. Here is an update from Cape Town:

Evening All

Update time… Over the last week things have been moving forward as fast as they can but unfortunately with shipping delays and international transfer delays I am not quite where I would like to be at this point.  When I first arrived in Cape Town I had visions of a new mast getting installed within three weeks…  I have now been in Cape Town for three weeks and I am still a few weeks away from getting back to sea.

As you will remember in my last blog I spoke about my very expensive typo on the insurance documents where my mast was insured for $20 000 instead of $120 000 and how Edward Williams Marine Insurance and Northern Reef insurance are stepping up to meet me half way on the payout in an effort to get me back to sea.  So this means that I am now working on a budget of $60 000 to replace the mast, rigging and sails.  This was a tall order but with the purchase of a second hand mast for $5 000 it all becomes possible.  I reached out to my industry sponsors for further support and am so thankful, humbled and impressed by there ongoing support.

Arcus Wire and Rigging in Sydney have stepped up and are supplying me with all new rigging wire and fittings.

Wichard Pacific are helping me out with the shackles and two new pro furlers.  I have been sailing with Pro Furlers this whole trip and I have never had any issues with them. They always performed as expected and were one of the most reliable units on the boat.

My Yacht in Sydney are helping me with the supply of new halyards from Lancelin, as with the Pro Furl the Lancelin ropes were very reliable, strong and I found the grips/texture of the covers to be easy to use.

B and G Electronics have also been amazing and are re-supplying me with a new radar and all the wind instruments that were lost on the dismasting.  My 4G Radar was one of my favourite items on the boat, allowing me to get peace of mind with its accuracy.

Harken Australia are also helping me out with the supply of my new mast track and mainsail cars.  I have a lot of Harken deck hardware on the boat and have always found it to be reliable.

And lastly Quantum Sails in Sydney are bending over backwards to help me get some new sails and are making them locally to speed up the delivery time.  Not only this Quantum has done a fantastic sponsorship for me and without this and all the other amazing support I have received it would not have been possible to get back out sailing again so thank you to everyone.

Last Monday a pallet of parts was shipped from Australia and hopefully it will arrive this Monday.  On the Pallet is the rigging wire, rope, Pro Furlers and Harken parts so as soon as this is received we can more forward on the mast.

The Mast has been at Spar Craft getting inspected and modified to fit my boat and we will be stepping it as soon as the deck repairs are complete.  Warren from Associated Rigging will be working overtime as soon as that pallet lands in Cape Town, thanks Warren and team.

I would also like to thank Action Yachting for working so hard.  David even arranged for his fibre glasser to work over the weekend to speed along the repairs which I have been told is almost unheard of in South Africa so a big thanks to you and your team as well.

Repairs on the way

I can't express enough thank you's for all the help I have received and I am just so happy that I will have a new mast shortly and be re-starting my record and sailing back to Albany.  On the work side of things the boat has been getting lots of attention with the repairs and we have found quite a bit of de-lamination from my love tap with a 300 Tone container ship.  Other issues found is that the gear selection cog behind the throttle lever has lost a tooth so Charles, the local guru on these things, is getting a new cog machined, we have also dropped out the rudder as the top rudder bearing has movement which is a worry and it looks like it had a rope catch it during the dis-masting so all of these things are getting repaired as well.

Lifting boat

My hope is that the repairs to the inside of the boat and the stanchions are completed by the end of this coming weeks and then I plan on moving the boat back around to the V and A waterfront for the weekend and I can start re-loading all those milk bottles back into the bow again along with the food and sails.  Then fingers crossed I can step the mast that following Monday.


And in amongst all of this I managed to sneak in a talk at the Royal Cape Yacht Club where I talked for the first time about my dismasting and the building of my jury rig.  It was a great night with a full crowd and I received lots of positive feedback.  I do plan on doing a speaking tour in Australia when I return so hopefully you can come along to one of those in the future.


So I will continue to update you all and I will let you know of my departure date as soon as I have a fixed date.  On another note I have only just been made aware of the fact that the Pay Pal donation button on my website isn't working.  We are working to resolve this and should have this back up and running in a day or so.  If you did try to make a donation I would really appreciate it if you could try again later.  The donations I have received through the website really help up to keep afloat with all of these additional expenses and I am very grateful for your support.  

Also please remember that we have some memorable beanies for sale on the website with the money raised from these helping me to promote the message of Climate Action Now.  

Thank you so much for the support.

– Lisa

Jeanneau JY55
JPK August 2023
Race Yachts
Cyclops Marine
Jeanneau JY55
M.O.S.S Australia
Race Yachts