Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Polarised and non-polarised readers for sailors

Solo sailor Jeanne Socrates rounds Cape Horn 'in glassy seas'

by Nancy Knudsen on 9 Jan 2013
Jeanne Socrates tracked route for her Cape Horn rounding .. .
This week, in the dark of almost midnight, Jeanne Socrates, 70-year-old solo sailor extraordinaire, successfully rounded Cape Horn in her 38ft yacht Nereida in almost calm conditions and changed course to begin her crossing of the South Atlantic, at the very end of Day 78 of her third attempt at a nonstop, unassisted, solo circumnavigation.

This, amazingly to we lesser sailors, marks the beginning of her third crossing of the Southern Ocean from S. America towards S. Africa and on towards Australia and New Zealand.

At the moment of rounding there was just the Pacific Seafarers' Net to tell, by radio on regular sched. 'I announced it to everyone on the Pacific Seafarers' Net, on the radio just then, who shared the excitement with me!! (Someone blew a trumpet!) ', she emailed soon after.

Almost unbelievably, it is precisely the same date as two years ago, when she first rounded Cape Horn - that time on her way to Ushuaia for repairs after a nasty knockdown had damaged her boat badly on 5th January 2011.

Jeanne rounded the always-dreaded Horn in glassy calm seas, very unlike the reputation of the waters at the world's most southerly cape. 'The wind had died away for most of the day - a calm which continued until just before dawn... the Southern Ocean is not renowned for no wind and flat seas - quite the opposite!!' wrote Jeanne.

In one respect Jeanne lucked in, owing to the fact that the Vendee Globe racers had rounded the Horn in front of her. Icebergs and smaller 'bergy bits' had caused quite a worry on this section of her journey and she told us she has been very grateful to have had the support of the Vendée Globe Race Management team who have kept her posted with the latest ice reports so she has known accurately where problems are likely.

One iceberg in particular looks to be right on her path in the Drake Passage 50 miles on after 'turning the corner' into the S. Atlantic. She says her aim now is to head NE as fast as possible to get away from the ice threat and also to a region of slightly less extreme weather conditions as she makes her way towards Africa.

Onboard gear problems have continued, but she has overcome most of them. Jeanne told Sail-World recent ones have included:
'A shroud came free when a fitting broke holding it to the deck - successfully dealt with in big seas - rig now fine;

'Iridium satellite phone is no longer working - not something I have been able to resolve, unfortunately, despite Iridium Tech Support's efforts to help me by SSB and email;

'Mast track insert came loose just above the boom - now held firmly in place but means I am no longer able to hoist the full mainsail in order not to compromise the remaining track;

'Autopilot went down - but turned into a simple 'fix' and was quickly dealt with;

'Line at inboard end of genoa pole came free from the car used to stow it on the mast track when a shackle disappeared- another trip up the mast was needed (although only to the first spreader this time!) and some ingenuity was required to sort that problem out, so the pole could be used and then stowed easily again.'


One problem that arose recently was with her newly-acquired wind information. In December she had put a replacement wind transducer (anemometer) in place on the stern arch and working. She reports that the data is no longer being received on her instruments, after a short period of erratic display... Not easy to troubleshoot, so not yet something that has been sorted out - so she's back to sailing 'by the seat of her pants', judging the wind strength according to the traditional Beaufort Scale and dealing with her sails accordingly.

'Actually it's quite simple,' Jeanne told us in her typical low-key fashion, 'if we're heeling too much, it's time to reef down!'

Accurate direction is no problem in daylight -'I can read the ripples on the water to tell me the wind direction - not a problem! Having weather forecasts is pretty important. I download gribs and weatherfaxes, when available, on a regular basis and get other weather info.

'If I'm expecting a 'blow', I can sail defensively and if a typical, strong Southern Ocean Cold Front is expected to pass over, I gybe early..'

While on her way south, she has had the opportunity to double check that Nereida was prepared for the rough Southern Ocean conditions - having been there before, she knows what to expect and she's looking forward to completing her circumnavigation in May/June.

'In the meantime, it's been good to have emails (the Winlink team have been very supportive there) and also to be able to speak over the radio regularly to people - especially now that my satphone is no longer working.'

Jeanne's final words were for others, as she made a money-raising plea: 'Please show your support for my sailing in aid of my chosen charity by visiting http://www.justgiving.com/jeannesocrates to make a secure donation to Marie Curie Cancer Care in aid of their free home-nursing for the terminally ill - even the smallest of donations will be welcome! Thank you!'

Related Articles

Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Volvo Ocean Race appoints stadium racing pioneer as new CEO
Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Sail-World forecast the appointment of Mark Turner as Volvo Ocean Race CEO a month ago. We profiled Turner at that time. Today his appointment has been confirmed.
Posted on 31 Mar
Large spectator fleet heading north for boat watching season
I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase, but it is insanely apt and hilarious all at the same time, however. I’m absolutely not going to lay claim to the phrase. It is insanely apt and hilarious, all at the same time, however. Well then, boat watching season is definitely upon us once more. The whales will soon be gathering again off the coast of Queensland to observe all manner of racing and cruising craft as they head North for a Winter in the sun.
Posted on 29 Mar
T Clewring AC72Schaefer 2016 660x82North Technology - Southern Spars