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January 23, 2022

World record-breaking sailor takes out SCU’s Alumnus of the Year Award

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If you’re seeking a bit of inspiration in your life, look no further than Southern Cross University’s Alumnus of the Year, Lisa Blair.

A three-time world record-holding ocean sailor, Ms Blair is also an environmentalist, keynote speaker, teacher and a published author.

Lisa set her first world record in 2017 when she sailed solo around Antarctica with just one stop.

SCU’s 2021 Alumnus of the Year, Lisa Blair. Image: SCU

Ms Blair then followed that up with a solo, non-stop, unassisted voyage around Australia, becoming the fastest monohull to do the trip and the first woman in history to complete the voyage.

And she is about to set sail again – this time for Antarctica where she is seeking to break yet another world record, circumnavigating the icy continent at record speed.

Graduating with a Bachelor of Visual Art and Bachelor of Education from Southern Cross University (SCU), Lisa has a talent for combining creativity with an engaging, educational message.

Her 50-foot yacht is wrapped in a colourful design of post-it note messages from the community about environmental action.

Her goal is to inspire individuals that they have the power to create change, it just starts with one small action.

‘My friends at uni, they all helped me grow into the person I am today and without that experience I don’t think I would be sitting here accepting this award or having set three world records,’ Ms Blair said.

The ocean sailor and teacher was one of five alumni who were recognised as part of SCU’s 2021 Impact Awards.

Joining her was Young Alumnus of the Year, Nic Brown, Early Career Alumnus of the Year, Dr Cooper Schouten, and International Alumnus of the Year, Neelkamal Darbari.

A Community Impact Award was also given to Hank and Sue Bower for their incredible ecological regeneration work on Lord Howe Island.

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  1. I salute you Ms Blair, truly inspiring. We have something in common, both graduates of SCU, one of us is a sailor, the other is a guy who ‘goofed’ around in a boat. I assume Kay Cottee was probably an inspiration to you. As a surfer/ex sailboarder/ex yachtie/ex navy , I know what the ocean can throw up at you and just how dangerous and lonely it can be. Well worn yachtie saying, owning a blue water yacht can be best described as “standing under a cold shower tearing up money”. But the rewards are unbelievable. As for the marine forecasts, I hope that has improved since the late 90’s & Sydney Olympics. My foray into sailing was Xmas eve ’98, Church Point, Pittwater buying a Huon Pine version of SUHALI c1955. Days later the horrendous Sydney to Hobart, struth! I’ve never seen waves that big in my 5yrs at sea in the Navy, that also includes watching surfing at Nazare Portugal. Not a good start to solo boating. I was on a swing mooring in McCarrs Creek when that massive storm hit that destroyed half of the Eastern suburbs. So I goofed around on that boat for a few years during the Sydney Olympics. Marine forecast: I was anchored inside Nth Head Syd Harbour about to head back to Pittwater solo. 10-15kts S/E, perfect, so I set off at 0800. By the time I reached Queenscliff SLSC it was 20kts S/W, by the time I reached Collaroy’s tall apartments it was 35kts+ & building from the S/W. I just had the mast re-worked & had no reefing points. So I reassessed landfall to the current situation being somewhere on the west coast of the Nth Island of NZ. I finally got full control of the boat just behind a very small beach break at Palm Beach. I then motored back to McCarrs Creek trembling like a dog attempting to pass razor blades. At the other end of the horror scale was coming into Port Stevens under a 1700rpm 3 cylinder diesel, auto pilot , sunrise, glass table conditions, dolphins diving around the bow and a flyby from 3 jets out of RAAF Williamtown. Fair winds and following seas Ms Blair.


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