09 Sep LisaBlairSailsTheWorld
Lisa Blair is Sydney based QLD born girl who optimises the spirit of adventure. Starting her sailing career by part-timing as a hostess on a yacht in the Whitsundays, Lisa found a growing passion for the sport though reading salty adventure tales by contemporary sailors of the likes of Kay Cottee, Robin Knox-Johnston and Jessie Martin. With her passion for the sea blossoming, Lisa decided all in and had a career change, switching from Education and the Arts to accrue the skills to become a solo sailor herself. All one word, LisaBlairSailsTheWorld is a self professed mantra as well as her website. With this kind of life mission being ascribed publicly, we know Lisa is a woman with vision. With a laundry list of adventures to be realised, she has been on track setting two world firsts in as many years with her sailing feats.
For those out of the sailing loop, Lisa Blair holds many accolades in the field. After clocking 50K of nautical sailing miles, she was crew in an around-the-world yacht race, and sailed from Australia to New Zealand twice solo across the Tasman sea. All this before she embarked in a record attempt in January 2017 to become the first woman to sail non-stop, solo and unassisted around Antarctica. What does that mean? It means over 100 days by yourself at sea, sometimes 1000 nautical miles from land, with no-one to help you, battling storms and violent sea, brutal winds and bitter cold. Making decisions and repairs, being your own mental coach and emotional support, seeing your goal fiercely and not giving up even when you want to. That’s what Lisa did.
During the sail around Antarctica Lisa encountered a real life or death event. Seventy two days into her voyage, she was caught in a storm and heard the main mast of her ship crack and splinter from the hull of the boat. There are many reasons this is a pretty big problem. Without a mast, the boat can capsize, take on water and sink or, the mast can puncture the boat then sink it. Not a good thing to happen at sea. She made the decision to try and cut the mast free. So, in raging weather, the boat bobbing stationary in the storm, Lisa clung on the side of her yacht, trying between crashing waves to release a pin holding the mast into the deck. She managed to do it, and was now in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on a sailboat, without a sail. She caught a break by getting some fuel from a passing container ship. Putting the record attempt on hold she motored north to South Africa to start repairs.
How does one get so tenacious? Well with a motto like “Just do.. Because the world is changed by doers” and a boat with the word Action in the title, we can assume that Lisa is a woman unafraid of stepping in.
She completed the sail around Antarctica, after setting a new mast aboard her ship in South Africa she carried on. Actually, she got ill and had an even harder time regaining her position back to where the demasting happened. Lisa even had thoughts of quitting and confessed to several calls to her mum during this time. She didn’t quit though. She finished the journey, sailing into Sydney Harbour, becoming the first ever woman to sail solo on her boat Climate Action Now, unassisted around Antarctica with one stop. When interviewed at the harbour, that night she arrived Lisa said it was “Hard as I imagined, and harder at times”.
The boat seems to be a vessel of adventure, but also a vessel for change. Adorned with messages such as ‘I ride to work for climate action now’, or ‘I recycle for climate action now’, Lisa’s boat has become a vehicle to spread messages of people’s actions on climate change. This sharing of actions which people are already instilling in their own lives shows Lisa taking a positive stance. The effects of climate change are sometimes portrayed as a bleak, hopeless, dystopian future. Instead of focusing on the negatives of climate change, Lisa is showing the action in which people are taking, inspiring other people globally to do the same. When you see her brightly coloured post-it-note boat cutting through the harbour, it is hard not to be inspired by these actions!