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Jeanne Socrates Starts Circumnavigation

When last we checked in with Jeanne Socrates, she’d just sailed her Najad 380 Nereida nonstop from New Zealand to Hawaii for the finish of this summer’s Singlehanded TransPac. Jeanne had left the Canary Islands last October in an attempted nonstop circumnavigation, but unexpected engine troubles forced her into Cape Town — and kept her there for three months — before she could continue on. Since her goal of a nonstop trip around was already thwarted, she decided to take a detour and say hi to her Singlehanded pals. (Jeanne competed in the ’06 Solo TransPac, and was on her way to the start of the ’08 race when her previous boat, Nereida, was lost on a Mexican beach just 85 miles from finishing a 15-month circumnavigation.)

Jeanne Socrates will be leaving this afternoon on a planned nonstop circumnavigation.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Now the determined 68-year-old Britsh grandmother, currently in Victoria, B.C., is setting off again on a nonstop attempt. But this time, she’s going for a record: the first woman to circumnavigate nonstop from North America. Renowned solo sailor Tony Gooch, who holds the record for the first person to circumnavigate nonstop from the West Coast in ’04 aboard his 42-ft custom aluminum boat Taonui, is the official World Speed Sailing Record Council representative for Socrates’ attempt. "He’s my ‘starter’," said Jeanne. "He’s installed a ‘black box’ to track my voyage, and has wired my gear cable so only neutral and reverse are possible."

In the past, Jeanne has been reluctant to share her age. "When people know how old you are, they sometimes look at you — and what you’re trying to do — differently," she explained. But a recent press release announced her age to the world, so it seems she may also have her eye on an ‘oldest woman to circumnavigate nonstop’ record as well — although no organization officially ratifies age-based records. Of course that hasn’t stopped the horde of youngsters out for the ‘youngest around’ record, so why should it stop an experienced and very fit granny?

Jeanne plans to leave this afternoon, but it looks like her first few days are not going to be fun. Originally, she’d planned to leave last week, but a series of storms kept her at the dock. And PassageWeather is forecasting another set of North Pacific doozies swirling up off Russia. "I need to get away from here since the weather won’t be improving," she said. "It would be great to get out of the Strait as it’s often difficult to do that."

The weather doesn’t look pretty off the West Coast of B.C.

© Passage Weather

We wish Jeanne a safe and speedy trip, and will keep you updated on her progress over the next seven months or so. In the meantime, you can stay up-to-date on her website,

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