Insight | Case study: Lisa Blair


Case study: Lisa Blair


When sailing solo around the world, having a satellite communications lifeline is vital not only for safety, wellbeing and morale but also to share the extraordinary adventure with a worldwide audience. Inmarsat and Pivotel joined forces to provide adventurer and ocean sailor Lisa Blair with communications whilst sailing solo around Australia.

The challenege

To maintain communications with an onshore support team and have continuous access to phone, email, text and internet while sailing solo on a circumnavigation of Australia. 

The solution

Inmarsat Partner Pivotel provided Lisa with Inmarsat’s Fleet One voice and data communications service to ensure she could maintain contact with her onshore support crew at all times, access weather forecasts, safety alerts and update her blog and social media channels throughout her voyage.

Adventurer and solo sailor, Lisa Blair. Photo credit: Dean Koopman

Staying in touch at sea

Australian adventurer, world-class sailor and multi-world record holder Lisa Blair made history by becoming the first woman to sail solo and unassisted around Antarctica with one stop. In 2018, she announced her next record-breaking adventure; to become the first woman to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around Australia.

Her remarkable expeditions require meticulous planning, mental strength and reliable communication systems at all times. “From a mental health point of view, eight weeks at sea on your own is very difficult to do,” says Lisa.

“Being able to have a quick phone call with your family or friends when you’re travelling through such isolated locations really helped keep me going through some of the toughest days of the challenge.” 

“Getting updates from your team helps keep you focused and makes you feel like you’re not alone” 

 Lisa Blair, Solo Sailor

Communications you can rely on

Lisa was supplied with our Fleet One maritime solution which enabled her to keep in touch with family and friends as well as her onshore team, meaning she could raise an alarm should she sustain any injuries, complications with her boat, or find herself in trouble while at sea.

Offering 99.99% availability, Fleet One provided Lisa with uninterrupted satellite communications she could rely on wherever her sailing course took her.

Via Fleet One, Lisa was able to make calls, send emails, check weather forecasts, access the latest navigation and safety alerts, update her social media accounts and post to her daily blog. The Fleet One terminal was also paired with a RedPort Optimizer, a device that provides data compression technology, to enable higher speeds and cost savings for Lisa. 

A record breaker

Lisa successfully completed the circumnavigation of Australia to set two new world records. Fleet One proved vital to the success of her mission.

“Getting updates from your team helps keep you focussed and makes you feel like you’re not alone. I could send and receive emails and photos, text messages, and phone calls to onshore support with the same convenience you could have in the modern world, and without it being expensive,” says Lisa.

“I’m the first woman to circumnavigate Australia solo, non-stop and unassisted, and I established a new mono-hull speed record around Australia of 58 days. It took two weeks longer than planned because I had bad weather all the way round. You plan for the worst and hope for the best.”

Despite the rigours of long-distance solo sailing, Lisa is already planning her next adventure. “As brutal as it is out there, there’s a part of you that loves it. It strips back the rush of the modern world. That lifestyle, as hard as it can be, it’s still an amazing journey to go on every time.”

Now she’s hoping to circumnavigate Antarctica again and has her eye on beating the men’s speed record. “I de-masted on the Antarctica circumnavigation off the coast of Africa. I was able to set a world record but I did it with one stop (for repairs). I want to do it non-stop and I want to challenge the men’s record.”

Benefits of Inmarsat Fleet One:

  • Cost-effective basic voice and data communications for the leisure market
  • Flexible subscription packages
  • Easy to install and operate– simply plug in set sail
  • Works instantly on your computer, tablet or mobile
  • Access emails, electronic charts, weather report and more
  • Supports telephony functions and SMS 
  • Access to Inmarsat’s free 505 emergency call system
  • Data connectivity up to 100 kbps 
  • Location monitoring