Lisa sets off on her Australian world record attempt


d'Albora's Action Project: AUS 360 Blog Update

Presented by Pivotel

Afternoon all,

Well it is official, I am off sailing around Australia solo completing the d'Albora’s Action Project: AUS 360.  The goal is to complete a solo, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation around the whole of Australia, sailing from Sydney north and around.  I aim to become the first woman to complete this challenge non-stop and hopefully establish a new mono-hull solo speed record.  As this is a new project I felt that it would be good to give you some history of Australian sailing solo records.

Starting from the beginning, David Beard set off in July of 1990 and sailed solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia becoming the first person to do so.  His challenge took 68 days 8 hours and 30 minutes to complete onboard his 35 foot yacht Skaffie II.  David was never ratified by the World Sailing Speed Record Council but is still recognised as the first.

In 2005 Margaret Williams attempted to set the solo, non-stop female record on-board 'Against all odds', however, after facing some difficulties with her steering off Albany she was forced to stop to make repairs.  Margaret re-started her record from Fremantle and sailed the final leg back to Mooloolaba.  Although Margaret was unable to secure the non-stop section of the record she is well recognised as the first woman to sail solo around Aus.

Following on from Margaret, Ian Thomson established a new solo mono-hull speed record completing the trip in 42 Days 5 hours 30 min and 2 seconds however Ian needed to also make a emergency stop for repairs so was unable to secure the non-stop section of the record.  Ian was sailing his yacht 'Save our Seas'.

The current holder of the non-stop solo sailing speed record around Aus is Bruce Arms who was able to complete the challenge in his catamaran 'Big Wave Rider'.  Bruce completed the challenge in 38 days 22 hours.

I set off from Sydney yesterday at midday and followed my instructions to go east initially due to an incoming low pressure system.  This unfortunately turned out to be the wrong move completely, as I managed to sail directly into the east Australian Current right as a large series of Thunder and Lighting storms hit and I was pinned over in 30 knots of wind.  Scrambling I got on deck and put in 2 reefs in the main sail.  This is where I shorten the sails to match the increasing winds.  If I don’t do this I end up being over powered by the winds.

It was quite something wrestling my yacht Climate Action Now in all the rain and winds with lightning striking the water not too far away but I managed to grit my teeth and sort the boat out.  That was bad and stressful and after not getting a lot of sleep over the last few days I was quite tired and it was nearing midnight.  I still had yet to fit in a nap to power me up and it didn’t look like I would be getting one any time soon.  As soon as this system passed I was left wallowing in strong adverse currents and 2 metre swells.  I had by this stage been pushed a bit south of Sydney which was my starting point so I tacked the boat and tried to make some Northerly grounds. 

The winds were very shifty and light so whilst I was pointing the boat north my course over the ground was actually south as the current was taking me faster backwards than I could sail.  The next 4 hours were exactly the type of conditions that you don’t wish to sail in on the first day of a speed record and I spent the whole of that time on deck changing all the sail from one side to the other as the winds would shift.  Finally in the early morning the winds settled in to a nice southerly breeze and I was finally able to make some northerly ground.  I tried to get a little sleep for the remainder of the morning taking 20 min naps however there was so many ships around that I wasn’t able to get much.

So I am now tired and my muscles are feeling all the heavy lifting from last night but on a positive note I was able to cover some great miles from sunrise to now and am now sitting between Port Stephans and Sugarloaf point slowly making some headway at 5 knots.  I am tossing up if I should launch the Code 0 tonight or not?  I haven’t yet had this sail up and I will be flying it with my new Karver furler.  These are great furlers but I need a bit of time to set everything up and as night is only a few hours away I will need to make a choice.  

Given that I am also chasing a speed record and I now have many miles to make up from last night I am leaning towards getting the sail up so I will let you know tomorrow how I get on…

Thanks to the following Sponsors for all their continued support: d’Albora Marinas, Pivotel B&G, Australian Geographic, Zhik , Park Fuels, Karver, 3M, White Bay 6 Marine Park, and Great Circle Life Raft