Aussie sailor issues distress call 895NM south of Cape Town

By AG Staff April 4, 2017
Reading Time: 2 Minutes Print this page
After 72 days at sea, AG-sponsored adventurer Lisa Blair has been forced to call off her attempt to set a new record circumnavigating Antarctica.

AT APPROXIMATELY 0300 Australian Eastern Time this morning, Australian sailor Lisa Blair issued a distress call 895 nautical miles south of Cape Town, South Africa.

Lisa made the call when her boat, Climate Action Now, was dismasted in 40 knot winds and 7m swell. Specifically, she issued a PAN-PAN emergency call, which signals a state of urgency, as opposed to a mayday call, which means there is imminent danger to life or the viability of the vessel.

According to a statement published on Lisa’s website today, she is well and uninjured, and Search and Rescue in Cape Town are waiting to provide assistance if required.

Lisa blair adventure sailor

The mast of Lisa’s fibreglass yacht broke 895 nautical miles south of Cape Town. (Image courtesy Lisa Blair)

The alert was issued 72 days into Lisa’s attempt to become the first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica solo, non-stop and unassisted.

The 32-year-old school teacher, who set off from Albany, WA, in January, was also attempting to break the current speed record for sailing around Antarctica of 102 days, set by Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov in 2008.

Lisa blair adventure sailor

Lisa Blair’s adventure was sponsored by the Australian Geographic Society. (Image courtesy Lisa Blair)

Lisa’s trip was being supported by the Australian Geographic Society as the recipient of our annual Nancy Bird Walton Sponshorship, awarded to an Australian woman planning an adventurous pursuit. The sponsorship is awarded in the name of legendary pioneering Australian aviator and adventurer Nancy-Bird Walton, former Trustee of the Australian Geographic Society.

“Risk is a fundamental part of any adventure of this level. We commend not only Lisa’s courage in undertaking this record attempt, but her spirit of responsible risk-taking in her decision to pull back at this point – an attitude we encourage in all of the adventurers we sponsor,” said Chrissie Goldrick, Australian Geographic Editor-in-Chief.