British sailor Jeanne Socrates successfully completed a 259-day, solo circumnavigation, sailing into Victoria Harbour, B.C., before dawn on July 8. The voyage aboard her 38-foot sloop, Nereida, was completed without auxiliary power or aid.
This successful voyage is Socrates’ third attempt at circumnavigation in six years. Her first attempt at a solo circumnavigation was in 2009. It was thwarted by rigging problems forcing her to stop in Cape Town, South Africa. The second try in October 2010 failed after a knockdown 100 nm west of Cape Horn ended that non-stop attempt after 72 days.
Although this Victoria to Victoria circuit was completed by Tony Gooch in 2002/2003, Socrates, at 70 years old, holds the record as the oldest woman to circumnavigate solo, the oldest woman to circumnavigate solo via the five great capes, and the oldest woman to circumnavigate solo, non-stop. A member of the Ocean Cruising Club, she was honored by OCC members Ian and Susan Grant with a plaque on her arrival in Victoria.
Socrates only began sailing in 1990. While cruising with her husband in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, George fell ill and died of cancer. Not wanting to give up sailing, Jeanne soon took the helm into her own hands and now at 70 she shows no signs of slowing down.