After many thousands of ocean miles spread over several attempts, the intrepid Jeanne Socrates crossed her outbound path in Victoria, British Colombia early Monday morning aboard her 38-footer, Nereida, to become the oldest woman to sail solo around the world.
Here is a video from a Canadian news outlet on Jeanne’s accomplishment.
Nereida left Victoria on October 22, 2012 and Jeanne has spent over 250 days at sea, with her ham radio being the main source of communication with the outside world. She was escorted in by a whale watching boat The Prince of Whales and is moored in front of the Empress Hotel, courtesy of the Victoria Harbour Authority.
Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) Commodore John Franklin commented, “Jeanne Socrates is one of our most accomplished sailing members in recent years. She is now over 70 years of age and is engaged in her third solo non-stop attempt in 6 years. This is the Victoria, BC to Victoria, BC circuit pioneered by our own Tony Gooch, who holds the solo non-stop record of 177 days for this circuit. In fact, Tony, who is off sailing on his own adventures at the moment, has given Jeanne great encouragement and guidance in planning her attempt.”
Jeanne has broken many records. She is the oldest woman to circumnavigate solo, the oldest woman to circumnavigate solo via the Five Great Capes, and now, she is the oldest woman to circumnavigate solo non-stop. OCC members Ian and Susan Grant were there at her arrival in Victoria to present her with an engraved plaque as an award of special recognition for her accomplishments, “Your friends at OCC are most proud of you, Jeanne! Thanks for showing us how it’s done.” Jeanne’s website is www.svnereida.com.
Jeanne didn’t originally set out to circumnavigate. She only started sailing in 1990. She and her husband George were spending a leisurely retirement cruising the Mediterranean and the Caribbean when George fell ill with cancer and passed away while on a cruise in the Caribbean.
Jeanne didn’t want to give up sailing but she had not been the skipper on board Nereida. When she heard about an OCC Rally in British Columbia, she decided to participate and recruited a crewmember to assist. However, when she was ready to depart Bonaire, he did not appear. So she took matters into her own hands and took off for Florida. After leaving, she received a message that her crewmember was looking for her in Bonaire, and she replied that he should meet her at the next island. So Dan joined her for the first part of her trip and helped her get accustomed to her new role, but she discovered that she really preferred to sail alone.
Jeanne spent the next few months learning how to fix things on the boat. As she progressed toward British Columbia, her confidence and competence grew until she reached where she is today – back in British Columbia where the adventures all began and at the receiving end of a special award from OCC to recognize that perseverance can lead to amazing achievements if the drive is there to succeed. Congratulations, Jeanne Socrates!
Story courtesy of the Ocean Cruising Club