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New NZ solo circumnavigation record set by Australian Lisa Blair

by Ella Sagnol/RNZYS Media 25 May 17:47 NZST
Lisa Blair celebrates after setting the record for a solo monohull circumnavigation around New Zealand © RNZYS Media

Australian solo sailing adventurer and environmental campaigner Lisa Blair has set a new mono hull solo sailing course establishing the record for Auckland to Auckland around New Zealand in 16 days and 23 hrs in her yacht Climate Action Now.

She was greeted with a spectacular sunrise and glistening moon disappearing as she crossed the start/finish line off Rangitoto Island by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS), who will help adjudicate her new record.

“I'm so incredibly proud to have become the first person to sail solo around NZ, I faced all conditions and sailed through two storms on my journey before finishing at in Auckland Harbour.

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

Her voyage has encountered orcas and albatross along with monster waves and storms, surfing a swell at a record 23 knots for the trip, through to virtual becalmed conditions as she pushed hard to establish the new voyage time, a first for a solo mono hull record.

She also encountered floating plastics is pristine waters off the southern coast of New Zealand, something she is campaigning to raise awareness about the destructive impact and extent of plastic pollution in the far reaches of the ocean. Her solo Antarctic sailing record surveyed microplastic pollution in every part of the Southern Ocean circumnavigation.

Lisa crossed the start line at 0757hrs (NZST) Tuesday 7thMay and finished at 0742hrs (NZST) on Friday 24th of May, sailing over 2,672 nm.

“I didn’t sleep last night at all, and after micro 20 min sleeps the whole journey, my focus is now on a hot shower, a good meal and very big sleep,” she said.

Only last month she set a fastest time record for Sydney to Auckland as the first woman and solo monohull record of 8 days, 3hrs and 19minutes, taking over 4 days off the existing record, to be ratified by World Sailing Speed Record Council (WSSRC).

The record, to be adjudicated by the RNZYS in collaboration (CYCA) and WSSRC, required her course to enclose the whole of New Zealand including all rocks and islands lying within 8nm of the mainland.

Lisa’s Climate Action Now campaign started in 2015 collecting environmental action post it note messages from the public which adorn her yacht. Having sailed remote seas around the globe where she witnesses plastic pollution, Lisa says her campaign is about spreading a call to 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.

“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.”

Lisa is the current world-record holder for sailing solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica in 2022, breaking the record by 10 days to add to her 4 previous world records and now 2 new pending Sydney to Auckland records.

Lisa has teamed up with film-makers Nathaniel C. T. Jackson and James Blannin-Ferguson to make a feature-length documentary tracking her ambitious and treacherous solo voyage around Antarctica. Screenings of the world premiere of "Ice Maiden" will be at the Doc Edge Festival which plays in Christchurch (19-30 June), Auckland (3-14 July), Wellington (3-14 July) and then nationwide via the virtual cinema (15-31 July).

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