Lisa Blair

Record-breaking Antarctic sailor Lisa Blair

“That Feeling’ is the feeling of peace watching the perfect sunrise or the feeling of sheer adrenaline as I surf waves the size of highrises in the Southern Ocean. It's that feeling of accomplishment when I go through all the many challenges on a record and succeed in setting a new record. The ocean is my happy place and I feel completely at home in the sea”.

Growing up in the sweltering rainforest of Australia’s Sunshine Coast, Lisa Blair gave little thought to the wild seas of Antarctica.But, it is there in 2017 that she entered the record books - as the first woman to sail solo around the continent.

Now Lisa, 37, is spearheading a new global influencer campaign for the Yacht Coatings division of AkzoNobel which will see her celebrate her lifetime of adventures at sea - while revealing what That Feeling means to her.

Lisa got her first proper taste of sailing relatively late in life - as a hostess on a yacht at the age of 25.

But she immediately knew she had found her calling. She recalls: “Working in the sun and enjoying all the adventures that boating life had to offer I couldn't get enough. It was that sense of problem solving, fun and action all rolled into one that really caught my attention”.

Lisa learnt to sail on an 80ft former America’s Cup racing yacht called Boomerang that had been converted to a passenger boat taking holiday makers around the Whitsundays in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

“I was incredibly fortunate to have a very encouraging deckhand and skipper who would quiz me on all the terms and spend their free time aboard teaching me about sailing”.

Lisa took sailing to a whole new level when she set off to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica in 2017.

But the adventure wasn’t plain-sailing. She recalls: “Seventy two days into the record and three quarters of the way around I suffered a catastrophic dismasting more than one thousand nautical miles from land while sailing in six to eight metre seas and with 35-45 knots of wind. That night was harrowing but through my efforts I was able to cut the mast free and save the boat but there were many moments when I might not have made it”.

After a detour to Cape Town, South Africa to repair the hull of the boat and some time to process the experience Lisa knew she needed to give the record another attempt.

“So, this year 2022, I set off again and I think that while the winds were less overall, the seas were larger and more violent, and mentally this was a huge challenge in meeting and facing my fear. Ultimately I proved successful and set a new world record completing the trip in 92 days and knocking 10 days off the previous record’.

Lisa continues to take passengers on adventures. These days it's through the activity on her social media platforms, blog or in her debut book ‘Facing Fear’.

“I am most proud of the platform that I have been able to create by using my trips as an educational point for Climate Action Now and all the good that comes with that from school talks to the science I complete while at sea. I am able to use these adventures to create lasting change and I think that is incredible”.

Lisa’s emotions and experiences are as varied as the challenging seas she has sailed through.

Find out more about Lisa:

Image Credit: Corrina Ridgeway

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Songs For Sailing

Our influencers have come together to curate this playlist for you to enjoy when you are out on the water.