It’s not until things go badly wrong that you really get to find out what you’re made of. And in a spot it’s also when you need your clothing to work flawlessly to give you the best chance when battling adversity. Aiming to become the first female to circumnavigate Antarctica singlehanded was always going to be a mission for Lisa Blair, but then, when her mast crashed down after 71 days at sea, life suddenly became a whole lot tougher for the plucky Australian.
Picture left: even for the world’s best specialist manufacturers it remains a technical challenge to develop high performing outdoor clothing materials that offer low weight, good properties of thermal insulation, all combined with the high degree of ‘breathability’ which is essential to evicting sweat and therefore in turn staying drier and avoiding the undesirable chilling effects of evaporation
Blair was grabbing some sleep below decks when she heard strange noises outside as her Open 50, Climate Action Now, battled on autopilot through 40kt northwesterlies in the Indian Ocean. ‘I grabbed my lifejacket and was clipping on as I stormed towards the companionway hatch to get on deck in a real hurry. Just as I was almost there I heard the worst sound imaginable… the noise of metal screaming loudly as it rips apart.
‘It was deafening – the groaning of the mast as it toppled down, taking my chances of a world record with it. I stood there with my eyes closed as I listened, my whole body tense as my afternoon went from a pleasant sleep to survival mode.
‘When the grinding and screeching finally stopped I stood there for several more seconds in disbelief. I was only four weeks from the finish. So close. I bolted on deck in my thermals and midlayers to take a quick look… – Read on.
Title inspiration thanks to Maroon 5.