Lisa Blair has set off from the Western Australian town of Albany on Monday, as she attempts to be the first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica solo, non-stop and unassisted in less than 100 days.
The 32-year-old sailor from Queensland will have to navigate through the Southern Ocean’s Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn and Cape Agulhas, which are regarded as some of the world’s most dangerous stretches of water.
The risk of huge seas, strong winds and icebergs are only some of the challenges Blair will have to contend with.
“I’ve been out doing sea trials, we’ve done four or five hour sails every afternoon just testing all the equipment and going through the paces and making sure the electronics are working correctly and I’m pleased to say it’s all good,” Blair told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
In such harsh conditions, steel boats are generally considered to be safer, however, Blair’s 1600 nautical mile voyage will be an undertaken in a fiberglass boat, raising some safety concerns.
“Lisa has worked for me on a couple of occasions as a skipper, and would have prepared very well,” Sydney’s Liquid Edge sailing instructor, Ron Lilburne, told Xinhua.
“You could argue that a steel boat would be better for icebergs, but I image she has worked out where she needs to be to miss them,” said Lilburne.
“It’s a question of getting a boat that is safe, and fast enough for the journey because if you get a boat that can that can deal with ice, it’s too slow to beat the record.”
“She’s a great sailor with a lot of offshore racing experience, I would certainly be worried about the wind though!”
But the Australian adventurer remains unconcerned, saying to local media “Once I clear 45 degrees south, there’s my first storm rolling through, I just can’t wait to get in it and test the boat and see how she handles, put her through her paces.”
The designer of the boat, Robert Hick, named the vessel Climate Change Now in order to highlight environmental issues and raise money for climate action.
If Blair beats the previous 102 day record, she’s expected to arrive back in Albany at the end of April. Enditem.