The first all-female double handed team d’Albora Climate Action Now placed first in the double handed division, second on the IRC handicap, third on the PHS handicap and fourth on line honours in the 2019 Melbourne to Hobart yacht race led by high profile yachtswoman and Australian adventurer, Lisa Blair, and co-skipper Jackie Parry. Taking 4.5 days to complete the challenging 435 nautical mile course from Port Phillip, across Bass Strait and down the rugged west coast of Tasmania, the duo finished at 18.50.03 on New Year’s Eve.
Despite the challenging conditions, first time entrants of the race, Lisa and Jackie are overjoyed with their result. In conjunction with d’Albora Marinas as their primary sponsor, Lisa hopes their achievement will encourage more women to pursue sailing and to continue to promote positive environmental messages.
Commenting on the race, Lisa Blair says, “Thanks to d’Albora Marinas we were able to compete in this race. We are over the moon with our result. We faced some really rough conditions, but Jackie and I couldn’t be happier with how we’ve gone in our first Melbourne to Hobart. It was an extremely challenging start to the race as there were almost no winds across the Bass Strait meaning it took us two days to reach the top of Tasmania. Moving at less than 3 knots of boat speed, tactically this meant it was any boats race. We sat in wind holes making it really difficult to move forward.”
“As we moved further down the west coast and cleared King Island, the current was pushing north making the boat drift backwards. A fishing boat had laid out crayfish pots just behind us, so it took us 4 hours just to get enough wind not to run over the crayfish pots and damage the boat.”
“As we moved further south, a new weather system arrived with 30 to 35 knots of wind and lightning storms all around us. We used this opportunity to push hard and gain miles with full sail hand steering in the storm for 6 hours straight. This was very challenging conditions however, we enjoyed surfing waves at up to 22 knots. There were tw teams that pulled out of the race due to the lightning storm, so we’re really proud of our efforts to remain in the race as a double handed team.”
“Coming up to the finish line, there were tricky winds as we rounded the bottom of Tasmania. A continuous battle of strong winds and no winds meant it took us longer to get in. Upon arriving in Hobart, it was wonderful to be greeted and cheered by thousands of people along the waterfront for the Taste of Tasmania Festival.”
Lisa continues, “Overall, we knew the Melbourne to Hobart yacht race would be extremely challenging as a lot of navigation and tactical skills are required constantly to manage the variety of strong winds, small winds and big seas. It was definitely a lot of hard work and coordination of effort and communication between us both. We’re delighted that we made it in to Hobart with a strong finish.”
“In the history of the Melbourne to Hobart race founded 49 years ago, there have only been two other all-female crews that have competed. We are so proud of our achievement to be the first all-female double handed team. Thanks to the support of d’Albora Marinas, together we want to empower more women to take on challenges and give them the confidence to take on the ocean.”
Commenting on the result, CEO of d’Albora Marinas, Wayne Taranto says, “The first all-female double handed team in the Melbourne to Hobart yacht race is a great achievement for Lisa and Jackie. We are delighted with their result and to be able to support and encourage other women to challenge themselves into the sport.”
“This has been such a significant moment for women in sport and particularly in sailing. I’m looking forward to challenging myself again in 2020 by revisiting my record in Antarctica later in the year. I hope to return to the Melbourne to Hobart yacht race in the future,” concludes Lisa.
For more information on d’Albora Marinas, visit www.dalboramarinas.com.au.