Lisa passes milestone in Antarctic adventure
SOLO sailor Lisa Blair has reached a milestone on her circumnavigation of Antartica, crossing the International Date Line ahead of schedule.
The former Sunshine Coast sailor had been at sea for 20 days, 13 hours, 4 minutes and 39 seconds when she crossed the line in near-perfect sailing conditions on Saturday afternoon.
The 32-year-old adventurer is attempting to circumnavigate Antarctica solo and unassisted.
The International Date Line, established in 1884, passes through the mid-Pacific Ocean and roughly follows a 180 degrees longitude north-south line on the Earth.
It is located halfway round the world from the prime meridian - the zero degrees longitude established in Greenwich, England, in 1852.
The point in time of crossing is marked with a sense of occasion when traditionally a sailor toasts the Roman god Neptune by offering champagne to the water.
"I am so excited to have reached this milestone of the trip safely,” Lisa said.
"I was lucky enough to enjoy the beauty of crossing the International Dateline in 20 knot northerly winds, a swell of 2 metres and a stunning sunrise.”
Lisa's circumnavigation attempt follows the route of the Antarctic Cup Racetrack - a non-stop race of around 14,000 nautical miles circumnavigating Antarctica and passing the three most notorious capes on the planet - Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn and Cape Agulhas.
Only one man, Russian Fedor Konyukov, has attempted this route.
Departing on Australia Day 2008, he crossed the International Date Line at 21 days, 13 hours and 53 minutes and 17 seconds.
Lisa's current time places her one day and 38 seconds ahead of him.
Konyukov completed his trek in 102 days, 56 minutes and 50secs.
Approaching her 21st day at sea this Sunday, Lisa has passed two other significant milestones:
Passing The Great South East Cape (off Tasmania) on February 2.
Passing The South West Cape (off New Zealand) on February 8.
Her next, the infamous Cape Horn, is located off the coast of Chile and is the southern-most point of South America.
It is an area often frequented by icebergs, huge waves and plagued by gale-force winds and will be Lisa's most challenging conditions on the journey to date.
She expects to reach Cape Horn in approximately three weeks.
"The most difficult part of my journey starts now with the Everest of sailing, Cape Horn.” she said.
"Fedor's logs paint a vivid picture of just how cold and difficult this area can be.
"Both I and my boat are doing really well but this is where both of our capabilities will really be tested.”