World-beater solo yachtswoman Lisa Blair racks up two big sailing records while taking her climate message across the ditch

By Chrissie Goldrick 16 April 2024
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Breaking world sailing records seems to come naturally to Lisa Blair. Her beaming face and calm, but celebratory, arrivals in destination ports give little away of the perils, discomforts and sheer loneliness of the epic ocean voyages she completes.

The 2022 Australian Geographic Adventurer of the Year and 2017 Spirit of Adventure winner has just set two new sailing speed records (yet to be ratified by WSSRC) for the fastest time from Sydney to Auckland, slicing an incredible more than 4 days off the old record to finish in 8 days, 3 hours and 19 minutes on 9 April 2024. She also achieved the first woman, solo monohull record for the ocean crossing.

The journey of more than 1200 nautical miles was marked by unpredictable winds, lightning storms, squalls of more than 30 knots and long hours of calm. There was a dramatic knockdown and close encounters with other vessels.

“On this trip the weather and seas threw every element at me, and because it was a short window I have hardly slept and really pushed my settings the whole way,” says Lisa. “The boat has performed superbly but I’m pretty exhausted.”

Lisa’s campaign is to “Cross the Ditch for Climate Action Now.” She’s raising awareness of ocean pollution and advocating for everyone to make a change for the health of the ocean.

She began the campaign during her most recent round-the-world voyage which she completed on 25 May 2022 when she became the fastest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica. Lisa seized the opportunity to amplify her message of climate action now (the name of her yacht) by collaborating with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Institute of Marine Science and Seabed 2030 to gather weather data and collect water samples for evidence of microplastics and to monitor general ocean health.

Lisa Blair arrives in Auckland after a record-breaking voyage from Sydney.
Lisa Blair arrives in Auckland after a record-breaking voyage from Sydney. Image credit: Ella Sagnol/RNZYS

Society-sponsored Lisa hopes to raise awareness of ocean threats as she heads off on her next voyage. In the coming days, she will embark on a new campaign; a voyage from Auckland to Auckland right around the coastline of New Zealand. She hopes to become the first person to complete the trip, solo, non-stop and unassisted, a journey she anticipates will take 15 to 18 days to complete.

Following the New Zealand projects, Lisa has plans for an Arctic world record. A feature film about her Antarctic voyage, Ice Maiden, will have its world premiere at the Dock Edge Film Festival in New Zealand in June 2024.

You can follow Lisa’s progress on her live tracker.

Setting the record