Lisa Blair set to break record for circumnavigation of Antarctica – One more sleep until finish line

Albany Harbour, Australia – 5/27/2022 – By Lisa Blair – Blog Day 92 – OMG, I have just had the most intense and exciting 48 hours and there is so much to share with you all. Day 91 was going to be my last full day at sea, and I still had over 150 nm left to sail in the morning.

5/23/2022 USA EDT – by Lisa Blair From her blog post |

Blog Day 90
Latitude 38 29.09S
Longitude 113 52 45E
Barometer 991
Air Temp 13c

Hi All,

I honestly can’t believe that I have now spent 90 days at sea solo and seen only two ships…  It sometimes feels like I have been at sea for years and other days it feels like I only just began with this adventure. This is the longest stretch of time I have ever spent at sea or alone, and I am quite happy with how well I have managed and while it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses the good moments have definitely outweighed the bad.

I didn’t manage that much sleep again last night, mainly because I am too wired with the anticipation of land to really settle down.  I was just starting to think of sleep after finishing the blog and getting prepared for sleep at 4am when I remembered that I was doing a radio interview at 7.30am Sydney time with Macca. With the time difference I needed to call in at 4.30am my time, so I stayed up, and when it was time to call, I double checked with an app on my phone that tells me the time in Sydney. I then realised that I had forgotten about the daylight savings no longer happening and I needed to call in at 5.30am instead.  So, I went to bed, but only managed to start drifting off when the alarms went off and I needed to get up for that interview.  Once it was completed and I was finally back in bed it was well after 6am.

While it took me a while to get to sleep, the sleep that I had managed to get was good and restful, but all too soon it was time to get up at lunch time.  The winds had built to 25 knots and so it was time to put the 1st reef in the mainsail as this new front approached.  Once that was done and after making a hot bowl of porridge, I tried to trouble shoot the science unit again, but with no success.  For some reason I am not getting any power to it but given how close to land I am lucky that we can repair it then.  By the last of the day light the winds had built again to 27 knots and it was time to put the second reef in.

The winds were expected to build, so I went below to keep monitoring things and when the winds built to 30 knots at 8pm I once again went on deck to put in the third reef in the mainsail and to furl away most of the no 2 jib. I still have the storm jib up as I was waiting until after this system to pack it down, but I still needed to have that little tissue of fabric out from the No 2 Jib to track forward at any speeds.  I am amazed it makes any difference.  The wind was ripping through at 30-35 knots, so my apparent winds were giving me 40 knots and poor Climate Action Now was laid over on her side making everything that little bit harder to do.  Moving around on deck became more like mountain climbing that walking. I needed to watch every step as a fall could sent me into the ocean, but I was finally able to get the 4th reef in and Climate Action Now under control.  As I was finishing, I could see on the radar that there was this huge bank of clouds approaching and in the night sky I caught a few flashes of lighting. 

I didn’t really want to be caught on deck when it hit so I rushed through tidying up the lines and getting ready to go below. Within a minute of packing up I ducked under the cuddy and out of the now sheeting rain.  As I watched all this freshwater fall, I felt the overwhelming need to hang my head out and wet my hair.  I haven’t been able to wash my hair since halfway across the pacific, not even a rinse, as it was far too cold to do so, and any time that it was raining it was also in the middle of a storm with the tops of the waves getting ripped off so there was as much salt water as fresh out there.  Now though, the temperature was high enough that I could wet my hair and not freeze to death and a rinse with fresh water just felt like it would be amazing. So, like a lunatic I took my beanie off and poked just my head out of the hatch and allowed the rain to rinse my hair for the first time in months…

After I was thoroughly soaked  I ducked inside to towel off my hair before returning to the deck to add a zip tie around some battens that had come loose and before I had even had a moment to sit the rain had passed and the winds had dropped from 35 knots to 10 knots and we started wallowing in the 5 meter swell with not enough sail up.  It hadn’t even been 30 minutes since I had put the 3rd reef in… I decided to simply wait, as this was likely just a short lull after the rain and the stronger winds will fill in shortly, an hour later the winds were back up to a whopping 18 knots and we were still not getting anywhere fast…  While it was calmer, I decided to make dinner, and as my meals are now limited because I only have a few nights left at sea, I decided to make one of my favourite meals, the bare-naked burrito. As I only had some sliced cheese left, and it wasn’t the kind that melted well, I decided to make little burrito toasties by using some of the sandwich cheese, burrito mix and wraps and cooking them up on the stove.  It was so delicious.

Feeling better with a full stomach I assessed the winds again. We were still not getting much over 20 knots, and I could see little reason to hold the third reef in the mainsail, or keep the jib packed away like that.  I ended up back on deck at midnight and shook out the mainsail to the 1st reef.  While the conditions were light enough to go full mainsail there were still some squally clouds around that were packing a punch. and I wanted to play it safe for now.  In the early morning the winds are due to ease even more and I will alter the trim again then.  After all that rain the stars were now out and the view was spectacular.  I also got the good news today that with how much ground I managed to make last night to the North I could very well be arriving in Albany on Tuesday, later afternoon. This is earlier than expected. If that is the case, than this is my second last night at sea, so I took the time to enjoy the view for a while before going to bed to write this blog.  I now need some sleep so I am going to sign off, but before I do I would like to thank the below degree sponsors.

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