Former Sunshine Coast sailor Lisa Blair is preparing to become the first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica.
Former Sunshine Coast sailor Lisa Blair is preparing to become the first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica. DEAN KOOPMAN

Last minute twist delays sailor's record Antarctica bid

UPDATE: A last-minute electrical fault on board Lisa Blair's yacht has delayed the launch of her world-first Antarctic adventure.

The former Sunshine Coast resident said a piece of back-up equipment had not worked when she was doing final tests on Saturday afternoon.

She worked into the night trying to rectify it but came to the conclusion she would need to order a replacement part in.

Lisa was due to leave Albany in Western Australia on Sunday afternoon to become the first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica solo.

"Given where I am going, I want everything to be perfect," Lisa said.

"I'm actually really grateful it happened before I left."

She said it would have been more disappointing to have to turn around and come back or be stranded without help.

Her new launch date will be determined by how quickly she can get a new part.

Frank Mitchell drags empty water containers behind his mobility scooter as he and Brenda Bimrose (right) help prepare Lisa Blair's yacht for a trip around Antarctica.
Frank Mitchell drags empty water containers behind his mobility scooter as he and Brenda Bimrose (right) help prepare Lisa Blair's yacht for a trip around Antarctica. DEAN KOOPMAN


It could have to come from Perth, Sydney or the United Kingdom.

She was disappointed because a lot of people from the Albany community had come to see her off on Sunday.

"We've still got plenty to do on the boat."

SATURDAY: Helping her daughter through the hectic days before an Antarctic sailing expedition has helped to ease Maroochydore mum Linda Blair's worries.

Her 32-year-old daughter Lisa Blair will sail from Albany today (Sunday) on a journey no woman has before completed.

Lisa arrived in the Western Australian port nearly two weeks ago, having sailed the last 15,000 miles of her journey solo from Sydney aboard her 15.25m yacht named Climate Action Now.

The former The Yandina State and Sunshine Coast Grammar school student will set off at 3pm Sunshine Coast time in an attempt to sail solo around the world's southern-most continent.

Lisa's mum Linda, father Jerry Blair, sister Shelley Blair, grandfather Frank Mitchell and aunt Brenda Bimrose have travelled to Western Australia to help her prepare for the trip.

Lisa Blair (left) and volunteers prepare her yacht for a journey around Antarctica
Lisa Blair (left) and volunteers prepare her yacht for a journey around Antarctica DEAN KOOPMAN

She and friends have rallied support from complete strangers in Albany who have volunteered a lot of hours to help her prepare.

Their efforts have included collecting about 1200 empty plastic milk bottles and gluing lids on them to act as emergency floats.

The bottles were bound in netting and packed with other empty water containers into the yacht's two forward-most water-tight compartments to add buoyancy in case the vessel should suffer damage from an iceberg.

Linda said the preparation had been so busy she didn't really have time to worry about the things that could happen to her daughter.

"Every now and then you get that knot in your stomach," Linda said.

But she has watched her daughter grow her skills over the past six years or so through dedication to sailing and other solo journeys.

"I'm a lot more confident in her abilities now.

"She has done so much work, she knows what she is doing.

"We are not expecting any major dramas."

Former Sunshine Coast sailor Lisa Blair is preparing to become the first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica.
Former Sunshine Coast sailor Lisa Blair is preparing to become the first woman to circumnavigate Antarctica. DEAN KOOPMAN

Lisa was excited for the journey.

She has been preparing for it for the past three years.

"It has been a long slog to get here," Lisa said.

Lisa said local volunteers had helped her team get about a month of work done in 13 days.

"It's amazing to see the community support.

She said it would irresponsible if she wasn't a little nervous about what she could encounter.

"I have a deep respect for the ocean I'm going into.

"I do get nervous before a storm because you never know how bad is bad."

If it all goes to plan, she should be back in Albany in about 90 days.

Her boat is covered in affirmations people made to reduce their burden on the environment.

They include things like having shorter showers.

"These are actions people are already doing in their homes," Lisa said.

"Hopefully we can inspire people to create a change."

For more information on Lisa's journey visit www.lisablairsailstheworld.com.


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