Posted by: Scanstrut | August 30, 2012

Jeanne Socrates Completes her World Record!

Jeanne Completes her solo sail around the world via the Southern Ocean’s Five Great Capes

Back in April we gave you an update on Jeanne’s progress. Since then she has been a busy lady completing her journey with several long passages:

  • Cape Town to Hobart (56 days of often-stormy S. Ocean passage)
  • Hobart to Tahiti (37 days – another difficult passage, passing S of New Zealand)
  • Tahiti to Kauai, Hawaii (21 days, crossing the Equator and the ITCZ)

The Londoner actually set a world record on her return earlier this month…. as the oldest woman by far to have sailed solo around the world via the Five Great Capes of the Southern Ocean. She is about to celebrate her 70th birthday and this October she plans to attempt the same but this time non-stop.

Jeanne Socrates

With just over 250 days at sea and sailing over 28,800 miles on this circumnavigation, how has this trip affected Jeanne?

Using her Wi-Fi – which happened to be in the laundry room – we managed to find out the highs and lows of the journey and why these have culminated in her wanting to do it all again!

1. What were the lowest points of the navigation?

There are always low points of any navigation and after the knockdown caused major damage to the boat while hove-to during a storm on 5th January last year, I was forced to stop at Ushuaia for repairs. I wondered whether I was ever going to get away – it was freezing cold and windy – and there was so much damage to put right before I could sail away.

The weather also caused problems in the S. Ocean when huge swell meant I had to heave-to or lie to the Jordan series drogue to stay safe both on my way to Cape Town and also on to Hobart and around New Zealand.

2. Despite this, what were the stand-out moments?

There were so many ‘stand-out’ moments, including the albatross, which were near the boat for weeks – particularly in bad weather. The sunsets and sunrises were also spectacular, especially around the last two of the Five Great Capes.

The wildlife was magnificent and dolphins often came over to greet me when nearing the Capes and little storm petrels, feet in the water, flitting close to the sea always.

3. What was your most important piece of kit?

Definitely my pressure cooker! It allowed me to cook up big, thick, warming stews – which were especially good when a storm was expected.

4. The navigation is so challenging – both physically and mentally. What makes it all worthwhile?

It is difficult to explain the exhilaration and sense of awe at times, when you’re in the middle of the ocean, thousands of miles from land, with those large albatross soaring nearby so majestically – day in, day out, staying near the boat….especially in bad weather. When the seas build, more birds seem to appear and they really impress with their flight, using the uplift off the waves.

It has become a bit of an addiction. Not many people have managed the challenge – boat gear breakages posing the main problem, but the privilege of being out there, in the wild ocean, watching scenes of such natural beauty and being a part of it is what spurs me on to continue with my attempts.

Jeanne – who hails from London, is sailing on “Nereida” (a 38ft cutter-rigged Najad 380) and has been trying, through her solo sailing, to raise donations in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care – a charity that supplies specially trained nurses free of charge, to enable the terminally ill to spend their last days in their own home.


This amazing lady is not even coming up for air before she sets off again in October due to all the necessary repairs needed on Nereida. Her story is one of determination and sheer will power – something we are very impressed by. We are sure you will join us on wishing Jeanne the best of luck on her next attempt – we will be watching closely!

Out sailing……


Her website, with regular news and position updates posted by her while on passage, is:


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