Australian to circumnavigate Antarctica in eco-powered yacht


Australian sailor Lisa Blair is hoping to become the first female to circumnavigate Antarctica solo, unassisted and in a record time.

The 31-year-old ocean racing veteran will take part in the Antarctica Cup Ocean Race, and she was hoping to complete the 16,000 nautical mile length in only 90 days. 

Her voyage, to be completed in a 15m eco-powered yacht, looks to raise awareness for greater environmental care.

Ms Blair said she's has seen rubbish and debris in the ocean during previous expeditions.

"I've sailed 50,000 miles and I haven't yet seen an ocean without plastic and pollution and I see it on creatures. It's really disheartening." she told SBS. 

"Just to be out in the middle of no where, where it's pristine in this amazing environment with whales, dolphins, birds and you're all alone out there, but yet you see the affects of human impact directly. It's heartbreaking."

She hoped the journey would inspire others to make a small step towards considering the environment.

"For me, I really just want to focus on that message that, as an individual, as a person in your living room at home right now, you can create a difference. You just got to start with one step."

Her trip will see her sail clockwise from Albany in Western Australia, past New Zealand, South America and Africa, before returning home.

Businessman and adventurer Dick Smith, who is funding the voyage, has praised Ms Blair's decision to sail solo.

"This is a very risky endeavour," he said. 

"I would not be game to do what you will be doing. You are going to be an incredible inspiration whatever happens, I think it's fantastic."

Ms Blair looks set to sail in January and she will record her journey in daily blogs. 

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