Lisa Blair sets new record

Yachting World - - Front Page -

Aus­tralian sailor Lisa Blair, 32, has be­come the first woman ever to cir­cum­nav­i­gate Antarc­tica sin­gle-handed be­low 45°S.

Blair, 32, a for­mer Clip­per Round the World Race watch leader, sail­ing in­struc­tor and ad­ven­ture sail­ing skip­per, set out from Al­bany in Western Aus­tralia in Jan­uary 2017.

Her goal was to break Rus­sian ad­ven­turer Fe­dor Konyukhov’s 2008 record for the fastest solo, unas­sisted and non-stop cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion of Antarc­tica. How­ever, she was dis­masted nearly 900 miles south of South Africa on 4 April in 40+ knot winds and 7-9m seas.

Blair gar­nered a strong fol­low­ing by re­count­ing her ad­ven­tures from on board the Open 50 Cli­mate Ac­tion Now in ex­ten­sive blogs. Af­ter her dis­mast­ing she de­scribed be­ing faced with a Hob­son’s choice of hav­ing to go onto the bowsprit to clear the rig­ging.

‘I was kneel­ing frozen on the bow another rope snapped that was hold­ing the mast above the deck. I was run­ning out of time and I didn’t have a choice. It was go out on that bow and free the rig­ging or loose the boat. Los­ing the boat was not an op­tion.

‘I watched for a gap in the swell and crawled out on the end of the prod­der. A few sec­onds af­ter I sat down we were hit by a large wave and the boat started rolling even harder. My legs were clamped so hard and I was grip­ping the re­main­ing bit of rail­ing with a death grip as I held on.

‘I re­mem­ber look­ing to the left at the waves and see­ing only dark­ness, but there was just enough dif­fer­ence in colour for me to just make out the waves. They were well above me, the height of your av­er­age tree.’

Hav­ing safely made it to Cape Town un­der en­gine and jury rig she spent eight weeks repairing Cli­mate Ac­tion

Now, be­fore re­sum­ing her voy­age on 11 June. She suc­cess­fully com­pleted a full cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion of Antarc­tica on 21 July af­ter 104 days at sea. an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Tis all a Che­quer-board.

Born in Leigh-on-sea, Es­sex in 1924, Deeth at­tended Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity be­fore train­ing as a pi­lot for the Royal Air Force. He flew for the RAF un­til 1947, then moved to In­dia to join his fa­ther’s im­port-ex­port busi­ness. It was in In­dia where he met Ann and bought his first boat, Kelpie, which they raced suc­cess­fully.

Deeth re­trained as a com­mer­cial air­line pi­lot and was hired by Bri­tish West Indies Air­lines. The cou­ple moved to An­tigua in 1960 and built and opened The Inn at English Har­bour.

Given his pas­sion for sail­ing, Peter, along with friends Des­mond Ni­chol­son and Howard Hul­ford, de­cided to start a friendly rac­ing event to mark the end of the tourist sea­son. This event, which Peter co-founded and chaired mul­ti­ple times, be­came An­tigua Sail­ing Week, which has cel­e­brated its 50th an­niver­sary.

Some­times de­scribed as a ‘force of na­ture’, Peter did not let much stand in his way once he had set his mind to some­thing. The world is poorer with his loss.

Ge­of­frey Pid­duck

Full-on con­di­tions for Lisa Blair on her Open 50

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