Photography by Nic Douglass
28 May 2022
On Sunday 29 May, 21-year old Australian, Xavier Doerr commenced The Little Aussie Lap, a solo non-stop unassisted circumnavigation of Australia in his 21ft Mini Transat yacht, Waterline.
He’s attempting to beat the World Speed Sailing and Guinness World Records as the fastest and smallest racing yacht to complete the lap of Australia.
Lisa Blair, who holds the current record for going around Australia in 58 days, completed a solo non-stop unassisted circumnavigation of Antarctica on 25 May in 92 days, beating the existing record by ten days on her second attempt.
Doerr is aiming to complete the lap in 50 days and join Blair as one of few sailors who have successfully completed the solo unassisted non-stop lap of Australia.
Waterline, Mini Transat hull 176, has a rich racing history residing and racing in both France and Bermuda, before making its way to Australia and landing in Melbourne.
Doerr purchased the vessel in October 2021 when it was completely stripped and rebuilt by hand in preparation for its next adventure Down Under.
The circumnavigation of the Australian continent is equivalent to 1/3 of a lap of the globe or 12 Sydney Hobart Races, approximately 7,500 nautical miles.
“I’ve chosen to go counter-clockwise to use the most preferable weather systems and while it is coming into winter, it will be the perfect timing to get the most favourable winds,” said Doerr.
“A huge challenge will be sleep deprivation as I plan to sleep in 15-minute blocks to keep a proper watch and avoid collisions with other vessels and floating debris.
“I have a commercial timer which will ensure I wake every 15 minutes.”
“One of the biggest challenges for me will be social isolation,” Doerr divulged.
“Everyone who knows me well knows that I’m an outgoing person, so being in my own head for that long will be a challenge. I plan to call my team when I can and have packed a Wilson Volleyball as a companion.”
Two years in the making, this campaign wouldn’t be possible without the incredible support of generous sponsors. Aramex, Waterline Dive Cleaning, Deepwater Collective, Zhik, RawCorp, Australian Framing Solutions, Evolution Sails, Rope Solutions Rigging, Ocean Crusaders and his base, the Southport Yacht Club.
The challenge commenced on Sunday 29 May from the Southport Yacht Club, where a flotilla and large media contingent followed Xavier as he made his way out of the Seaway. The start was also streamed on The Little Aussie Lap Facebook Page.