Lisa Blair's circumnavigation – some unexpected visitors

Lisa Blair is attempting to become the first woman to circumnavigate Australia solo, non-stop and unassisted. She is currently off the north-west coast of Western Australia, where she had an unexoected encounter with Indonesian fishing vessels. Here is her latest blog:

Well it has been quite the eventful 24 hours I must say.  Yesterday just before sunset I happened to go on deck to re-trim the boat when I noticed a sail off my stern quarter. I squinted at it and realised that it was a wooden dow sailing boat like what a lot of island communities use. I was still so focused and the boat appeared to be about 5nm away so I set about adjusting the trip and moving away from the wind to sail a wind angle of 60 degrees and go for speed over height. 

As I reached for the windward sheet I got quite a shock to see a second wooden dow just over a mile from me sailing on a parallel course to me.  My initial reaction was that I had sailed into a fishing ground and I searched the waters around me for any more vessels that I may have missed.  Coming up clear I altered the trip of the boat and bore away 20 degrees as this would take me further from this dow and give me greater speed.  

Once I was making ground on them and pulling away I started to realise that none of my alarms were triggered.  My radar didn’t pick them up as they are a wooden craft so there is nothing to reflect from.  It was a shock and not one that I am very comfortable with given that I was alone on my yacht and 100nm from land.  Given that darkness was falling and these boats were close and heading the same way as me I didn’t feel all that comfortable about the chances of me running out of wind and them not having honest intentions. 

Feeling uneasy I contacted the local Australian Border Force Aircraft to confirm what these vessels were.  It turns out that there is a box section of the ocean that I had just sailed through that was given a MOU by the Australian Government for Indonesia's Fisherman to to fish in.  Knowing that, I wish I had a better look at their boats because they looked amazing from afar, all hand crafted with blue sails, but I was also glad to have pulled away from them and sailed clear of the area before it was too late in the night.

Following on from my shock I had another bird visit the Feathered Inn for the night which kept me entertained.  It was the same type of bird as Simon but it was quite content even though I tacked the boat multiply times through the night it would just hop to the other side and go back to sleep.  The winds were shifty and I had a really cool lightning storm not too far from me so I ended up doing a tack every hour or so but I also had to alter my course quite a lot and in the end I wasn’t able to get to my bunk until after 4am so today I am a little sleepy.

The winds today also went through a myriad of changes and I am now sailing with NNW winds in a very light breeze of 5 knots so my speed hasn’t been the best and it has again become very hot today with the light winds.

Tracker

Pantaenius Sailing
M.O.S.S Australia
Jeanneau ?Yachts
West System Afloat
Coursemaster Autopilot
Windcraft
Jeanneau ?Yachts
Multihull Group