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Jeanne Socrates announces next solo circumnavigation - non stop

by Nancy Knudsen on 3 Apr 2012
Jeanne Socrates on Nereida, her Najad 380. Now resting in Hobart before heading for New Zealand and Canada SW
55 days across the South Indian Ocean, but she's just 'going home'. Jeanne Socrates, sailing maths whiz and the oldest female circumnavigator on the planet, has announced in Hobart she is definitely planning her next attempt at a non-stop solo circumnavigation, but she's going to sail the Pacific first, 'home' to Canada to prepare.

The retired British maths lecturer, who will be tipping 70 by the time she sets off, has made Canada her defacto home in her most recent sailing years and that is where she will commence her next trip around the world. It will be her third attempt at a non-stop solo circumnavigation.

Right now she is taking a welcome rest in Australia's most southerly city Hobart, where she has received a big welcome from the sailing community, who have grabbed her as a guest speaker at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

On arrival she admitted she was looking forward to 'a bath and a haircut', and said it had been a 'tough trip'.

‘‘You’re hanging in there so often, you’re right on edge,’’ she told the local Mercury.

‘‘I was running before 36 knot winds with big seas and wondering if I could keep going or have to stop and just heave to.’’

But she has seen plenty of heavy weather since she started sailing in her fifties with her husband out of Cowes and Portsmouth in the Solent, S. England! Their dream of sailing the world was cut short by her husband's death from cancer in 2003. Jeanne decided to do the trip anyway and she has been almost continuously sailing ever since. During her nine years of almost constant sailing she has experienced almost everything possible on the ocean, from losing her first 'Nereida' on a beach to being stuck in the Southern Ocean with a badly damaged boat and having to limp to shore, refusing a tow.

‘‘I won’t stop, not as long as I can keep going.’’

Her love of the sea comes through in any conversation.

‘‘You’re out there in the middle of the ocean with the albatrosses and it’s just fantastic,’’ she told the Mercury.

‘‘How many people have the chance to be out in the Southern Ocean with the albatrosses above them, it’s a very special time.’’

Jeanne's yacht Nereida is a Najad 380, a superb Swedish-built blue water cruising boat.

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