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Solo sailor Lisa Blair to complete Antarctic circumnavigation

Australian Lisa Blair, who is set to make history as the first woman to sail solo around Antarctica when she arrives back on the Australian mainland today, says she is “very, very proud” of her achievements.

Blair, 32, set off from Albany in Western Australia in January in an attempt to break Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov’s 2008 record for the fastest solo, unassisted and non-stop circumnavigation of Antarctica.

However, she was forced to abandon her goal when her yacht’s mast snapped in rough seas near South Africa in April.

She spent two months in Cape Town repairing her boat, Climate Action Now, before resuming her journey last month.

In her latest blog post, yesterday, she wrote: “The winds were blowing from the WSW at 30 knots however as I was running with it on a wind angle of 120 T. I was able to carry a lot more sail than I normally would.  I am usually down to the third reef in the main sail by the time the winds reach 30 knots but given that this was one of the last nights of the trip I pushed a little harder and was regularly making 10 knots towards home.  The winds peaked at 35 knots and I still pushed with the 2nd reef in the main sail and the stay sail out.  I basically was sailing the boat how I would if I had a full crew on board and someone at the helm, so I was a little on edge and again didn’t really manage much sleep.”

The boat

Originally named Funnel-Web and commissioned by Ivan and Sibby McFadyen to be raced in the 2003 Melbourne to Osaka Yacht Race. The Duo finished third over the line. Following that the yacht was raced in the 2004 Rolex Sydney to Hobart and finished 48th overall in a race where 59 vessels finished and 57 retired. Again contesting in the 2013 Melbourne to Osaka finally sailed in the 2013 Transpac Honolulu Yacht Race.

Lisa Blair
Photo from Lisa Blair official website

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