Lisa Blair receives the OCC Seamanship Award in Sydney

Lisa Blair receives the OCC Seamanship Award in Sydney

Regional Rear Commodore Paul Furniss caught up with Australian solo sailor and featured speaker Lisa Blair at the Sydney International Boat Show

By RRC Paul Furniss - 03/08/2018

Earlier this year in January, the Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) announced the recipients of awards that recognise achievements in blue water sailing over the preceding 18 months. Australia’s Lisa Blair was named recipient of the OCC Seamanship Award, which was presented to her at the Sydney International Boat Show. This award recognises acts of bravery or extraordinary seamanship.

The Ocean Cruising Club chose the 2018 Sydney International Boat Show to present the 2017 OCC Seamanship Award in recognition of the significance of the OCC Seamanship Award, the importance of the Sydney International Boat Show in the marine industry, and Lisa residing in Sydney when not aboard her yacht Climate Action Now.

The award is in acknowledgment of Lisa’s solo circumnavigation of Antarctica, which included a dismasting. She had sailed three-quarters of the way around the world solo, non-stop and unassisted in support of climate action when her mast came down in storm conditions. After a four-hour battle in freezing conditions she was able to save her Open 50 yacht Climate Action Now and her life. She called a Pan Pan then motored toward Cape Town to effect repairs. An attempt to transfer fuel from an 80,000 ton container ship resulted in a collision and further damage, but again she saved her boat, constructed a jury rig, and sailed to Cape Town, and two months later returned to her circumnavigation attempt. Lisa became the first woman to complete a solo circumnavigation of Antarctica, with one stop.

On a more recent voyage, Lisa battled an engine fire and was once again able to save her boat. She has recently completed the Sydney to Hobart Race with an all-female crew, in partnership with the Magenta Project. Her book Demasted is due to be released soon.

The Commodore Anne Hammick stated ‘We had an extraordinary group of nominees this year with high achieving women up there along with the men.” Paul Furniss the Regional Rear Commodore for South East Australia commented that the seamanship demonstrated by Lisa was exceptional. “This recognition combined with strong messages can only promote the issues regarding climate action to a wider audience with more impact,” he concluded.

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