Late Monday, we got an email from Jeanne Socrates, who’s been aboard her Najad 380 Nereida for over nine months in an attempt to become the oldest person to sail alone, nonstop and unassisted, around the world. The letter was written in the third person.
“When she expected to be well on her way to passing through the Hawaiian Island chain and finally on her last leg back to her finish in Victoria, B.C., she’s finding not just one, but two hurricanes expected to cross close to her path in the next few days. Erick and Flossie are now on their way towards Hawaii, and Nereida.”
Following our recent update when Socrates was near Tahiti and Moorea, the soon-to-be-77-year-old singlehander finally crossed the equator last week, but unexpectedly came into the path of the hurricanes. “With no option but to heave to and keep out of their way, if she can, she’s finding it difficult to come to terms with the situation,” read the third-person letter. “She already had one cyclone delay her by a week while crossing south of the Indian Ocean in March/April and was hoping not to meet up with any more — but fate has intervened.”
On her blog this morning, Socrates talked about the current conditions. “Rolling around a lot, every so often from side to side. Not much wind, maybe eight knots from the northeast, but quite a big swell, which really heels us over. Overcast sky and grey clouds with frequent but light showers. Very quiet with so little wind. Trying to download latest weather to see which way Erick is heading — due west or slightly more west northwest as it heads this way. A big difference from my point of view!”
“I’m about to go up on deck to reef down — there would be less time spent hove-to if we can slow down more. There’s likely to be extremely light wind to the south of both systems, so we could well end up becalmed if it isn’t possible to get underway as soon as Erick passes to north of us.”
Socrates was hoping to finish her record run before the end of August, which was over two months longer than she expected. It’s not clear what kind of delay the two Pacific hurricanes will cause. “As it is,” the third-person letter read, “she’ll still be at sea on her birthday, coming up on August 17, when she’ll be 77 years old. She sincerely hopes still to get back to complete her record-setting nonstop unassisted sail around the globe before September.”