Please select your home edition
Edition
Mackay Boats

Jeanne Socrates becomes world's oldest female solo circumnavigator

by Nancy Knudsen on 8 May 2011
Jeane Socrates route - Cape Town to Cape Town SW
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.

Wildwind 2016 660x82Southern Spars - 100Protector - 660 x 82

Related Articles

America's Cup - Close call as Emirates TNZ takes a nosedive in Bermuda
Emirates Team New Zealand was caught in a gust recorded at 24.3kts and nosedived today in Bermuda. With fresh winds forecast to ease later in the day, Emirates Team New Zealand left the harbour at the Royal Dockyard to head for a training session. She was caught in a gust recorded at 24.3kts and nosedived.
Posted on 26 Apr
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ hooks up in Bermuda with Brits +Video
Emirates Team New Zealand were training again on the Great Sound in Bermuda, in fresh winds of over 25kts from the ESE. Emirates Team New Zealand were training again on the Great Sound in Bermuda, in fresh winds of over 25kts from the ESE. MyislandhomeBDA caught the America's Cup Challenger as they had their first real hook-up with another team - lining up against Britain's Land Rover BAR.
Posted on 25 Apr
America's Cup - Tom Slingsby explains optimal ride height
Ever wondered whether there is a difference between riding high or low in a foiling AC50? Ever wondered whether there is a difference between riding high or low in a foiling AC50? Does the old maxim with catamarans apply - that you are at your most efficient with the hull just clear of the water? At what point to AC50's start sliding sideways - like a Laser dinghy with its centreboard raised too high?
Posted on 25 Apr
America's Cup - Artemis Racing shifts into dog-fighting mode
The third round of America's Cup ACC practice racing got underway in Bermuda on Monday, April 24. The third round of America's Cup ACC practice racing got underway in Bermuda on Monday, April 24. Skipper Nathan Outteridge says Match Racing skills have always been a big part of a successful campaign and the team at Artemis Racing is now working hard at improving its “dog fighting” tactics.
Posted on 25 Apr
New addition to North Sail for Volvo Ocean 65 racing machines
Their sails have powered eight out of nine Volvo Ocean Race winners since 1989-90, with Steinlager 2. Instead of assembling cloth panels into a particular sail shape, the Volvo Ocean Race sails are composites. This means that 3Di material 'tapes' are laid in a specific arrangement, offering stable structure to the sail where it is needed most.
Posted on 24 Apr
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ first practise in Great Sound - Video
Emirates Team New Zealand had their first solid day of training on Bermuda's Great Sound on April 23, 2017 Emirates Team NZ had their first solid day of training on Bermuda's Great Sound on April 23, 2017. Winds during the session were averaging 10kts gusting 15kts. As with the other video it is impossible to gauge boat speed, or form an accurate impression of relative speed. However the infrequency of splash down is apparent, as is the very slick gybing and tacking while remaining foil borne.
Posted on 24 Apr
America's Cup - Tech Tuesday - Why AC50's sail bow down - Video
OTUSA tactician Tom Slingsby (AUS) explains why the AC50's sail with bow down trim Why do the America's Cup Class catamarans sail with bow down trim? It's a common question. Helmsman and Tactician Tom Slingsby? provides a detailed answer in this #TechTuesday feature.
Posted on 23 Apr
America's Cup - Touchdown and take-off for Emirates Team NZ in Bermuda
Today the team's America’s Cup Class race boat was out sailing on Bermuda's Great Sound for the first time It is just over three weeks since Emirates Team New Zealand was sailing in New Zealand, and today the teams America’s Cup Class race boat was out sailing on Bermuda's Great Sound for the first time under inquisitive gaze of an armada of competitors' chase boats getting a first hand glimpse of the kiwi boat
Posted on 23 Apr
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ has first sail in Bermuda + Video
Emirates Team NZ has just completed for their first sail in Bermuda, in preparation for the racing phase of AC35 Emirates Team New Zealand has just completed for their first sail in Bermuda, in preparation for the racing phase of the 2017 America's Cup campaign. The team, the last to arrive in Bermuda, returned to their base in the Royal Dockyard around 7.15pm local time (1015am NZT).
Posted on 22 Apr
America's Cup - Images from Practice Race Session 2 in Bermuda.
Images have just been posted by America's Cup organisers of the second Practice Session conducted between April 6-7. Images have just been posted by America's Cup organisers of the second Practice Session conducted in Bermuda between April 6-7. Images are not available from the third session which finished on April 12. The next Practice Session is a five day one beginning on April 24 to April 28.
Posted on 22 Apr