Australian solo sailor’s dream dashed

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Australian solo sailor’s dream dashed

Justin Deffenbacher | 2017-04-04 13:42:17.0

Lisa Blair never issued a mayday call‚ indicating immediate danger‚ but Cape Town search and rescue remained on standby to assist if needed.

Image by: Facebook/Lisa Blair

Seventy-two days ago‚ Australian sailor Lisa Blair set sail from the port city of Albany. Her goal: to circumnavigate Antarctica in under 100 days solo‚ non-stop‚ and without assistance.

However 40-knot winds and seven-metre swells have forced her to abort her attempt after her mast snapped 895 nautical miles south of Cape Town.

At approximately 7pm SA time on Monday Blair issued a pan pan call – one level lower in urgency than mayday – alerting Cape Town rescue authorities there was a problem with her vessel known as the Climate Action Now.

Blair never issued a mayday call‚ indicating immediate danger‚ but Cape Town search and rescue remained on standby to assist if needed.

As of midday Tuesday‚ Blair was still waiting to motor into Cape Town. According to reports from her media team‚ Blair is in the process of installing a small storm sail to assist her in her journey.

A nearby Hong Kong registered vessel was also requested to assist Blair in refuelling and to provide supplies for repairs. Once moving‚ it will take Blair approximately 10 days to reach Cape Town.

Blair’s spokesperson Tracey Whittaker has remained in contact with her‚ saying Blair remains positive despite the abrupt end to her attempt.

“Lisa is well and focused on ensuring that she and the boat are okay. At the moment she is just disappointed at coming so close. It’s been especially tough having this happen with over 75% of her journey completed‚” Whittaker said.

Blair was aiming to break the current record of 102 days‚ 35 minutes‚ and 50 seconds set by Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov. At her current pace‚ Blair was set to break the 100-day mark‚ making her not only the new record holder‚ but also the first woman to complete the feat.

Despite setbacks‚ Whittaker says this certainly won’t be the end to Blair’s adventuring.

“Our primary focus is to get her home‚ but I know Lisa is an adventurer and a spirited one at that‚ so I am quite confident she won’t be giving up on her aspirations‚” Whittaker said.

TMG Digital/The Times



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