A Queensland shop assistant turned round-the-world yachtswoman has won a last-minute crew place in the ultra-competitive Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race next week.
Lisa Blair, 27 will join Wave Sweeper and the Corporate Initiatives team after a campaign this week to earn a place in Australian yachting’s pinnacle event.
A Last-minute dropout on Thursday means Lisa will set sail in the 600-mile sprint with Morgan Rogers and his Beneteau First 40.7.
Lisa’s ambition and drive helped Gold Coast Australia win the 40,000-mile Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in July this year, the only event of its kind in the world for amateurs.
Lisa, from the Sunshine Coast, says: “This really is the perfect way to end the year after sailing around the world in the Clipper Race. It will be great to put all the new skills that I learnt to use in this prestige race.
“I am so excited and my head is swimming with everything that I need to get done as the race is only five days away.”
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, founder of the Clipper Race said: “Having done the Sydney Hobart race myself two years ago, I can say it is a tough slog, but after sailing 40,000 miles in the toughest race, I'm sure Lisa can handle it and her enthusiasm and energy will lift the team."
Lisa was inspired to take up sailing by reading about the Clipper Race and watching the Rolex Sydney Hobart set off from Sydney Harbour for Tasmania when she was 12.
In the New Year Lisa will team up with world record-breaking Queensland skipper Bruce Arms to attempt a new speed record sailing around Australia.
She will join Team Extreme Sailing Australia to try to break the 2005 French-held record of being the fastest crewed multihull around the country.
More than 50 Australians are following in Lisa’s footsteps, ranging from nurses to bankers, geologists and miners, who are already signed up for the 2013-14 edition of the Clipper Race.