Antarctica solo challenge for former Clipper Race sailor

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Winning former Clipper Race crew member Lisa Blair is to attempt to become the first woman ever to circumnavigate Antarctica solo, non-stop and unassisted below 45° South.

Only two men have ever completed the 16,400 mile feat.

Australian Lisa, 28, was a shop assistant before changing her life and becoming a professional global sailor following her achievement on board winning yacht Gold Coast Australia in the 2011–2012 Clipper Race.

She aims to make history and break Russian Fedor Konyukhov’s current standing speed record of 102 days, 0 hours, 56 minutes, 50 seconds. She aims to start from Albany, Australia, in November 2014 and complete the circuit in 80 days on board her Open 40 sailing vessel.

Only one other man has ever been successful in the circumnavigation when Jon Sanders set the original record 18 years before Fedor beat it in 2008.

Lisa says: “I will be taking on the gigantic swell of the Southern Ocean with all of its stormy anger while dodging icebergs and sailing in the frigid temperatures blowing off Antarctica. 

“I finished the Clipper Race one year ago and that journey has shown me what we are capable of if we work hard and put our minds to it. 

“I know I can achieve this and want to become a part of history after my incredible Clipper Race experience.”

Yachting legend, Clipper Race founder and adventurer Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said: “One of the phrases we use when inducting new crew is that we want you to say, at the end of your voyage, ‘That was the best thing I have done with my life’.  I then want to hear them say ‘So Far’. 

“Then we know we have changed people and widened their horizons.  Lisa is showing everything we hope for.  She has found for herself a new challenge and is going for it. Good Luck Lisa.”

Since winning the 2011-12 Clipper Race, Lisa went onto sail with former Clipper Race skipper and Vendee Globe yachtsman, Alex Thomson.  She launched her own global yacht racing campaign and managed to get a last-minute place in the elite Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race in Australia.

More than 65 Australians ranging from nurses to bankers, geologists and miners are taking part in the 2013–14 edition of the Clipper Race.