This is just a great story and shows what we can achieve when we put our minds to things. Jeanne Socrates, originally from Lymington in England, just finished a solo, non-stop circumnavigation via the five great capes, those being (in the order that she rounded them) Cape Horn at the tip of South America, Cape Agulhas in South Africa, Cape Leeuwin in Western Australia, South East Cape, the southernmost point of Tasmania, and South Cape which is located on the southern part of Stewart Island, New Zealand.
Ok so that’s a pretty monumental achievement but let’s add to this her age. Socrates is 77 years old and even better, this was not the first time that she has done that trip. Back in 2013 she became the first woman to sail solo, nonstop around the world from North America, and also the oldest woman to sail solo, nonstop around the world, a record that was noted in the Guinness Book of Records.
Jeanne attempted her first non-stop solo circumnavigation in 2009 but she had to pull in to Cape Town for repairs. Her second attempt in October 2010 ended with a knockdown just west of Cape Horn. This latest trip ended with her arrival at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club on Vancouver Island in Canada this past Saturday afternoon after having spent just under a year at sea.
In fact she her voyage took 320 days and was done without any kind of shore support or outside assistance. “It was not easy,” she told a local TV station. “The wind gods were not on my side. I had to avoid two cyclones off Hawaii and I’d already had to avoid a cyclone in the Indian Ocean. I wasted a week with that one.”
Her 38-foot sailboat “Nereida” looked pretty battered when she arrived at the dock after passing through the breakwater and into the inner harbor where hundreds of people came out to greet her including a small flotilla. The solar panels had been ripped off, her mainsail had been shredded and her steering system was barely holding together but she had made a complete lap of the planet and set an incredibly high bar for anyone who wants to break her record.
I am continually amazed by the incredible accomplishments of women in our sport and still find it hard to believe that there ever was or worse yet, still is discrimination against females on yachts. The list of amazing achievements is long and growing longer and Jeanne Socrates has just added one more extraordinary sailing accomplishment and it makes no difference that she is female. She is a true inspiration to all; men and women alike. – Brian Hancock.