Please select your home edition
Edition
Auckland On Water Boat Show

Jeanne Socrates becomes world's oldest female solo circumnavigator

by Nancy Knudsen on 8 May 2011
Jeane Socrates route - Cape Town to Cape Town .. .
She's done it! British solo sailor Jeanne Socrates, 68 years and the female answer to the world's oldest male circumnavigator, Japan's Minoru Saito, has crossed her outbound path in the waters to the south west of Cape Town, to make her the oldest female solo circumnavigator.

Only the birds around her witnessed her achievement: 'Under a bright sunny sky, witnessed by a pair of circling albatross, several petrels and a pair of shearwaters, we crossed our December 2nd 2009 path south from Lanzarote towards Cape Town.'

But of course that doesn't mean she can relax. There is still a major weather system threatening between her and her destination of Cape Town, and, instead of celebrating, she's planning to heave-to to survive the coming storm.

Here's the way Jeanne expressed it soon after briefly celebrating her achievement:

'Been spending an age downloading and looking over weather info and options and plotting points/routes on chart to see Implications.... none very good or pleasant!! Basically, although it's pretty rough now, it's going to get even rougher - ESE gale is very likely, offshore from Cape Town on 7th-8th May with 5-8m seas possible.... '

She is expecting even then to have to heave to again sometime tomorrow and overnight into Sunday possibly, when the winds increase and/or swells get too much for comfort, but she is hoping to arrive Cape Town on the 11th May.

While she waits for the seas to roughen, it doesn't stop her from reveling in the natural world around her: 'Just around sunset, we left the rainclouds behind and the sky overhead cleared completely ... to show a lovely crescent moon hanging above the sea.... some bright stars.... and the wind even died down a bit for a time, giving some relaxing sailing in less swell.'

Her just completed circumnavigation followed a fairly long route. She started from from Cape Town, across the Indian Ocean, past Cape Leeuwin, through Bass Strait and Cook Strait to Kauai in Hawaii, then on to Cape Flattery on the west coats of North America, then to Victoria. South from Victoria, in Canada, around Cape Horn to Ushuaia, on to Falklands and back now towards Cape Town.

About Jeanne's voyages:
Jeanne seems to have been sailing circumnavigations for years, so it gets to be confusing to try to keep up with her many voyages. Her last two attempts have been for non-stop circumnavigations, but bad luck has dogged her two attempts, and a previous circumnavigation ground to a halt, literally, when, due to an autopilot failure, her previous boat, also called Nereida, went aground on a Mexican beach just 60 miles short of her final destination.

Her next attempt was to circle the globe solo and non-stop. She set out in October 2009 from the Canary Islands, but had to make unplanned stop because of rigging problems two months later in Cape Town, South Africa. Once there, she found she had to replace the boat’s engine.

Three months later, the hardy grandmother was heading eastward south of Australia sailing directly for Nelson in New Zealand. She ended up in Port Townsend, Wa., for repairs in preparation for her next attempt.

Jeanne, who was born and lives in London, UK, chose Victoria, Canada, to start her next voyage, and set off again in October 2010. By now it was her third attempt at a circumnavigation, and second attempt at a non-stop circumnavigation.

However, bad luck dogged her again, as she suffered a severe knock-down which severely damaged her boat including the snapping of her boom, just 100 nautical miles west of Cape Horn, while hove to waiting for a weather system to pass. Rejecting help from local vessels, she limped into Ushuaia, unaided.

The damage to the yacht was severe, there was little in Ushuaia in the way of facilities, and, at the time, Jeanne was uncertain as to how to proceed. However, with incredible perseverance, she repaired Nereida once again, and set off from Ushuaia heading for Cape Town, where she had previously spent two months replacing her engine.

Somewhere along the way, Jeanne and her team realised that by reaching Cape Town, she would have completed a circumnavigation - by default.

Congratulations Jeanne, well done!

Socrates posts a blog of her journey at www.svnereida.com.

InSunSport - NZAncasta Ker 40+ 660x82T Clewring - Generic

Related Articles

2015 -16 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - This day last year…
Around St Katharine Docks, air was full of nervous energy and a sense of anticipation as Clipper Race crew said goodbye 2015 -16 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Around St Katharine Docks, the air was full of nervous energy and a sense of anticipation as the Clipper 2015-16 Race crew said goodbye to the thousands of well-wishers that gathered to bid them farewell on their round the world adventure.
Posted today at 5:37 am
America's Cup - Advice for young Sailors
Hear the America's Cup skippers' advice for young sailors looking to follow in their footsteps. Hear the America's Cup skippers' advice for young sailors looking to follow in their footsteps. Interviewers talk with Dean Barker, Jimmy Spithill, Glenn Ashby, Iain Percy and Ben Ainslie and get their advice, plus how and when they started sailing.
Posted on 30 Aug
Volvo Ocean Race - Enright and Towill ready to go again in 2017/18
Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put their experience to use. Team Alvimedica were the youngest team in the race last edition, and now skipper Charlie Enright and his long-time buddy Mark Towill are eager to put that experience to use. Volvo Ocean race's Jonno Turner caught up with Mark and Charlie to chat about everything from the transition back into 'real life', their reflections on the 2014-15 campaign - and the future.
Posted on 29 Aug
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA's AC50 well underway in Warkworth
Oracle Team USA’s new America’s Cup Class boat is taking shape at the team’s build facility in New Zealand Oracle Team USA’s new America’s Cup Class boat is taking shape at the team’s build facility in New Zealand, Core Builders Composites, Warkworth, 40 minutes north of Auckland. The major components for the 15-meter platform, including the hulls and cross beams, have now been built.
Posted on 28 Aug
America's Cup - Oracle Team USA play catch up with Softbank Team Japan
Back in April 2017, Softbank Team Japan mastered the foiling tack in their AC45 Surrogate boats Back in April 2017, Softbank Team Japan mastered the foiling tack in their AC45 Surrogate boats, claiming to be the first AC team to have achieved the move. Two days later Oracle Team USA claimed to have done the same.
Posted on 28 Aug
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Crew catch up - Meet Dhruv Boruah
After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations, some decide on a future in the marine industry, some take time out to assess their next move in life and others seek their next challenge.
Posted on 27 Aug
SoftBank Team Japan achieve first foiling tack
SoftBank Team Japan announced today that they cracked foiling tack earlier this year while training with their AC45 boat SoftBank Team Japan announced today that they cracked the foiling tack earlier this year while training with their AC45 Sport test boat in Bermuda.
Posted on 26 Aug
The Clipper Race turns 20!
Throughout the race, tales of crew celebrating birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion Throughout the race, tales of Clipper Race crew celebrating their birthdays on board filter back and they are always a special occasion, likely to remain a completely unique event in their lifetime.
Posted on 23 Aug
America's Cup - Architect of NZ Qualifier withdrawal steps down
The Commissioner for the America's Cup General Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped down from the role The Commissioner for the America's Cup General Dr. Harvey Schiller has stepped down from the role and will finish at the end of the month. The move was confirmed today by America's Cup correspondent Bernie Wilson of the Associated Press.
Posted on 23 Aug
An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug