Winning Clipper Round the World Yacht Race sailor Lisa Blair will team up with world record-breaking Australian skipper Bruce Arms to attempt a new speed record sailing around Australia.
Australian Blair, 27, will join Team Extreme Sailing Australia to try to break the 2005 French-held record of being the fastest crewed multihull around the country.
Blair was a shop assistant before she circumnavigated the globe in the 2011-12 edition of the Clipper Race onboard winning boat Gold Coast Australia.
She is now running her own global sailing campaigns full time and the pair aim to attempt the 6,500 mile circumnavigation in 2014 after other smaller record attempts including the Sydney to Lord Howe Island record.
The Australia record is held currently by the French trimaran Geronimo skippered by Olivier de Kersauson and stands at 17 days and 12 hours.
Blair says: “Doing the Clipper Race has given me the skills, experience and confidence to attempt this exciting challenge. It is a very tough one and harder than sailing the open seas. There are many reefs, narrow straights, light winds and lots of shipping in the tropics where we will be travelling at high speed.
“Then there is the Southern Ocean and the westerly fronts and getting the timing right there will be crucial. The Clipper Race has completely changed my life. Before I was a dreamer but now I am achieving those dreams and making it happen.”
Arms, a solo Trans-Tasman winner and current I.S.A.F WSSRC Singlehanded Around Australia World Record holder, says Lisa's fearlessness makes her a great crew member.
“The Clipper Race experience has made her very competitive and she is now a great helm and also has the strength of mind required. She is great at going up the mast and her seamanship skills are right for the challenge.
“We want to take the record out of French hands and bring it back to Australia,” he adds.
Clipper Race founder and chairman, the legendary yachtsman Sir Robin Knox-Johnston who became the first person to sail solo, non-stop, around the world in 1968-9, has paid tribute to Blair's ambition.
“It is great to see how the Clipper Race not only develops competent ocean racing crew but also generates a desire to take on new adventures and challenges. I wish Lisa every success in her desire to break this record.”