Aussie sailor Lisa Blair becomes first person to solo sail around New Zealand in under 17 days

Aussie sailor Lisa Blair becomes first person to solo sail around New Zealand in under 17 days

An Australian woman has become the first person to sail around New Zealand solo, non-stop and unassisted in under 17 days.

Lisa Blair embarked on her journey from Auckland on May 7, sailing more than 2,672 nautical miles before docking back in Auckland last Friday May 24.

The trip around New Zealand took her 16 days and 23 hours, setting a new world record for mono hull solo sailing around the country in under 17 days. She was able to complete the journey without stopping, surviving on 20-minute micro sleeps.

Blair documented her journey through Instagram reel videos, showing her followers the extreme and the spectacular conditions she faced. 

The Aussie sailor encountered a pod of orcas, albatross and more, on some days sailing in picture-perfect conditions. On other days, she faced enormous waves and sailed through two dangerous storms.

But none of it stopped Blair, and speaking to Sail World after her journey, she said she was “incredibly proud” of herself.

“I really worked hard the whole way around to set a time that I feel will be challenging to break,” Blair said, “and now I have no doubt a Kiwi will have a go soon.”

Blair only started sailing when she was 25 years old, and it was just seven years later that she broke her very first world record. In 2017, she became the first woman to sail around Antarctica solo, non-stop and unassisted.

Surviving a dismasting at sea that nearly killed her, Blair went on to lead the first all-female team competing in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race in 16 years.

Over the next five years, Blair set two more world records: the first in 2018, sailing around Australia solo, non-stop and unassisted for 58 days; and the second in 2019, becoming the first double-handed female team to finish the Melbourne to Hobart Yacht Race, alongside fellow sailor Jackie Parry.

In 2022, Blair went back to Antarctica to set a new record: to become the fastest person to sail around the continent solo, non-stop and unassisted. She beat the previous record by 10 days.

Balir’s latest journey around New Zealand is now the eighth world record she holds.

Climate Action Now

Blair has reached all these achievements in her yacht, which is named Climate Action Now. In 2015, she collected post it notes from the public, calling for environmental action. These notes now adorn her yacht.

At the heart of Blair’s sailing career is her commitment to environmental action.

“I’m sailing to save our oceans and to show people that as an individual we all have the power to create change, it just starts with one action,” Blair told Sail World.

“I’m a firm believer that we can change and so undertake these records to show that together we can create a better future. It just starts with one positive climate action.”

When she sailed around Antarctica in 2022, Blair teamed up with the Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and the Seabed 2030 project, among others, to help their efforts for action on climate change.

During her 92-day journey on her yacht Climate Action Now, she deployed eight weather drifter buoys, one A.R.G.O research float, and collected ocean health readings at all hours of the day. Blair also gathered more than 180 microplastic samples.

Climate Action Now is powered by 100 per cent eco-friendly materials, such as wind generators, solar panels and biodiesel. 

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