One of the world's most adventurous sailors, 67-year-old Jeanne Socrates, on her third attempt to solo sail a circumnavigation, has been knocked down while trying to round Cape Horn, and it could be the end of her circumnavigation non-stop and unassisted.
All was going well on her Najad 38, Nereida, until the wind increased from 35 knots to 70 knots and the seas up to six metres. Her blog on the 6th January said 'Very busy conditions at this time' but the next word was from from Falmouth Coastguard who had received notification that she had suffered a knock down. On her blog appeared the cryptic message NEREIDA HAS FLIPPED BUT UPRIGHT, CAPTAIN JEANNE OK ... KC2IOV Nereida Capt Jeanne Knocked down (Turtle upside down).
While information is scarce at this early stage, in the knock down she apparently suffered a broken boom, and there is a line around her prop.
Falmouth Coastguard in the UK have been negotiating with the Chilean Navy and their coastguard to take her yacht in tow to the coastline if necessary. It is currently under tow from a Chilean fishing vessel.
Socrates was rounding the Horn at the right time of year, and it is simply bad luck that she suffered conditions severe enough to cause the knockdown. Two of her recent predecessors, Abby Sunderland and Jessica Watson, experienced nothing like 70 knots in their rounding of the Horn last summer.
In 2009 she was wrecked just 60 miles short of a solo circumnavigation when she ran up onto a beach and lost her earlier boat, also called Nereida. Then in 2010 another attempt was foiled when she had to put in to Cape Town for rigging repairs and an engine replacement.
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