Jeanne Socrates Attempting Unaided Circumnavigation at 76
Photo: © Jeanne Socrates
Jeanne Socrates is a British sailor born on August 17, 1942. She currently holds the world record for the oldest woman to complete a single-handed, non-stop, unassisted circumnavigation, completing her adventure at the age of 70. She also holds the title for the only woman to have ever circumnavigated the world single-handed from North America. At 76, Jeanne shows no signs of slowing down, as she is currently in the midst of an attempt to become the oldest person of any gender to complete a single-handed, nonstop, unassisted circumnavigation.
Jeanne began sailing at the age of 48 with her late husband George, starting out in dinghies and windsurfers before eventually moving onto larger yachts in 1994. Jeanne and her husband bought Nereida, a Najad 361, in 1997. The couple spent the next few years cruising, visiting places such as Scandinavia, Europe, the Caribbean and the east coast of the USA and Canada. Sadly, in September 2001 George was diagnosed with cancer, passing away in March 2003. Jeanne continued to sail alone, eventually setting her sights on a solo circumnavigation.
Jeanne’s first solo circumnavigation began in March 2007. She was set to complete her journey in Zihuatanejo, Mexico when on June 19, 2008, just sixty miles and less than 12 hours short of where her journey first started, Nereida ran aground on a deserted beach.
Photo: © Jeanne Socrates / Rounding Cape Horn
Even after all her difficulties, Jeanne remained unphased and was determined to complete a single-handed circumnavigation nonstop, and so she tried again in October 2012, completing her journey successfully in July 2013 and finally claiming the record for the oldest woman to complete a single-handed, unassisted, nonstop circumnavigation and the first woman to do so from North America.
Jeanne is now in the midst of an attempt to become the oldest person to complete a single-handed, nonstop circumnavigation at the age of 76. Jeanne departed British Columbia on October 3, 2018, and rounded the South Cape on Stewart Island, the Fifth Great Cape of the Southern Ocean, on May 23, 2019. She is now on the final leg of her adventure, heading towards warmer waters as she makes her way up the east coast of New Zealand and back to British Columbia.
Propspeed's Holly Mills was lucky enough to have a chat with Jeanne by satellite phone as she was sailing past Timaru, New Zealand. Jeanne spoke about the two major highlights of her journey so far, the first of which was rounding the First Great Cape, Cape Horn, for the third time. Nereida made the rounding in the early hours of the morning, however, as it was mid-summer, there was still plenty of light to get a good view of the Cape.
Photo: © Jeanne Socrates / Rounding Stewart Island
Photo: © Jeanne Socrates / Jeanne applied Propspeed to her running gear for her previous circumnavigation. After 259 days, her prop and shaft were spotless but hard shell growth had taken hold on Nereida's hull.
Jeanne is unsure whether she will do another circumnavigation, or if this will be her last. This will be Jeanne’s fourth solo circumnavigation, and second nonstop circumnavigation, and while that might be enough, we’ll still be keeping our eyes peeled and ready to watch Jeanne and Nereida make another trip around the world.
Keep up with Jeanne and her adventures through her website here.
Read our case study on Propspeed from Jeanne’s last circumnavigation here.