Sailor Lisa Blair in Antarctic record bid

Cape Horn. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Cape Horn. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Lisa Blair has sailed out of Albany at the bottom of WA to try to break two records: become the first woman to circumnavigate the Antarctic and do it in the fastest time ever.

The 32-year-old Sydney-based Queenslander will at times face waves nearly the height of a 10-storey building, wild storms and "psychotic" 80-knot winds, below freezing temperatures, icebergs and whales.

She says the Southern Ocean is the most dangerous on the planet but also beautiful.

"Even with its perceived risk factor, I've always just been so fascinated with the Southern Ocean," she told AAP before embarking on the 16,400 nautical mile voyage on Sunday morning.

"It is so beautiful down there, so raw and rough."

Ms Blair has been sailing professionally for a decade and but it was participating in the gruelling Clipper Round the World Yacht Race in 2011 and 2012 that she says "really opened my eyes to what I was capable of".

There is a set racetrack for the "Antarctica Cup Ocean Race" that Ms Blair has begun, in which she will head east aiming to pass Cape Leeuwin at the bottom of WA, Chile's Cape Horn and South Africa's Cape Agulhuss.

But only two people have completed it: Russian Fedor Konyukhov whose 102-day record in 2008 she is trying to break and the only other person to circumnavigate solo, non-stop and unassisted around Antarctica, Australian Jon Sanders.

She believes she will start to enjoy it and relax once she has negotiated her first big storm with her 15-metre fibreglass yacht, which is forecast in about one week and will occur at least once or twice a week during what is hopefully a three-month voyage.

"Once I know the boat is happy I can just sit back and enjoy the storm ... admire the power of mother nature," she said.

"I have no real issue with being on my own, but I don't think it has really set in yet that I will be completely alone for three months .. once I've been at sea a couple of days I think it will all come crashing down on me and I will realise the enormity of what I've undertaken."

The worst part will be the cold, which she says is painful, but she has a heater on board, custom-tested and designed clothing and will be communicating with a support team daily on satellite communications.

The boat is called Climate Action Now. Ms Blair wants to raise awareness about climate change and has attached to her boat messages from people about what they are doing to help the environment as part of a "post-it note" campaign.

"I'll be 3000 miles from the nearest land mass, but there will be debris and rubbish, you can't escape it, the human impact," she said.

Her progress can be followed at

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