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Oldest female solo circumnavigator to arrive Hobart after 55 days

by Nancy Knudsen on 31 Mar 2012
Nereida approaching Tasmania .. .
Jeanne Socrates, 68-year-old British solo sailing grandmother, the oldest woman circumnavigator, has almost completed another Southern Ocean crossing and is expected to arrive in the most southerly Australian city of Hobart sometime on Tuesday 3rd April.

In her latest communication Jeanne tells how she has had extremely variable weather, everything from 50 knots to almost windless, and the fifty-five days she had been at sea has been a 'long leg'.



But then, Jeanne is used to 'long legs'. The circumnavigation which earned her the 'oldest solo female circumnavigator' title also followed a 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 to 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.

Her website is www.svnereida.com

Southern Spars - 100Kilwell - 1InSunSport - NZ

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