Southern sprint

Adventurer and activist, Lisa Blair is poised to set sail aboard her 15.25-metre Robert Hick-designed yacht “Climate Action Now” attempting the 14,000 nautical mile circumnavigation of Antarctica.

08 February 2022


Her objective is to break the current record of 102 days held by Russian sailor, Fedor Konyukhov and her sights are set on smashing it in 90 days.

She is working at a frantic pace to finalise all the safety features aboard her yacht. The aim is to set off this weekend, waiting on the delivery of parts from Brisbane.

“We have to replace a few parts, so we’re waiting on the postal service at the moment,” she said. “Then it’s all systems go.”

In 2017, Lisa made history becoming the first women to sail solo around Antarctica with one stop – an emergency stop in Cape Town on South Africa’s south-west coast to repair a broken mast. She wrote a book about her experience, called Facing Fear, which is an account of the life-threatening challenges she encountered in her quest.


Lisa also holds the record as the first woman to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia in the first 100 percent eco-powered vessel. She set a new overall speed record as the fastest monohull to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia in 58 Days.

Lisa’s yacht, “Climate Action Now” is named to convey her message: Man-made climate change is impacting our environment.

Since taking up sailing in 2005, Lisa has been a witness to the health of the oceans, prevalence of storms and the real risk of collision with ice as glaciers melt at a rate never before observed.

“These are all symptoms of man-made climate change,” she states. “What we know is that action needs to be taken and a greater awareness needs to be reached.”

As well as her record attempt, on her agenda are various projects, including measuring the impact of plastic pollution, deploying weather buoys and surveying the seafloor.

“The United Nations has declared the next 10 years the ‘Decade of Ocean Research’,” explains Lisa.

“I attended the Sydney meeting of the United Nations in December and met various leaders in Science who I am now collaborating with on research which will have tremendous input to our knowledge of the Southern Ocean and deliver that insight to the public.”

Lisa’s yacht has a research unit onboard which will collect information at various “data points” along her journey with a mission to discover more about ocean health.

“This includes dissolved CO2, acidity, salinity, ocean temperatures, barometric pressure which is crucial for readings on climate change, and carbon trapped in that part of the ocean which impacts on various species.”

Building on the “Climate Action Now Post-it Note campaign” which raised awareness of Lisa’s expedition, she says her personal commitment to the next generation is creation of a school program which covers her multifaceted voyage.

“The adventure narrative is the hook to engage them with the science,” she explains.

Using the Canva platform, Lisa will post video updates, host live Zoom sessions and prepare topic templates that will be available to schools Australia-wide, with the vision of going global.

“I’m offering schools a six-month school program for free; live streaming and providing educational templates rolled into the curriculum in marine studies, geography, climate change, maths exercises – the scope is nearly unlimited.”

After a massive refit (rebuild) at Rivergate Marina & Shipyard in 2021, Lisa sailed from Brisbane on 18 December to Albany, WA where she has been preparing for her epic endeavour since December.

After more than 30,000 nautical miles aboard “Climate Action Now” and being totally involved in every aspect of the four-month refit project, Lisa says she’s as ready as she will ever be.

“My family and friends think I’m crazy, but they accept this is my goal. I have everything onboard for self-rescue, all my supplies, equipment and I’ve been hands-on during this refit, so I know every inch of the boat.

With the extra weight of the Southern Ocean data collection on her shoulders, Lisa says her broader mission remains the same. “Positive empowerment”.

“I want to inspire people to take small actions towards a better future. It doesn’t matter how small your step is; a small step has as much value as a large step. A million smaller steps can be easier.

Follow Lisa’s voyage here

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