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Why Not a Fourth Solo Circumnavigation?

Although in her 70s, Jeanne is revved up to do her fourth singlehanded circumnavigation. The last one was nonstop and unassisted, as she hopes this next one will be. This photo was taken last year in England where she received several prestigious honors.

Jeanne Socrates
©2016Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The amazing Jeanne Socrates has announced that she’ll soon be attempting her fourth solo circumnavigation starting later this year. She is currently the second-oldest person to have ever done an unassisted, solo nonstop circumnavigation. If she is successful with her next attempt, she will, at age 73, be the oldest.

Jeanne posted the following on her website:

 “I expect to be at sea for seven to eight months, hoping to get safely around the Five Great Capes of the Southern Ocean and back to my starting point without any outside help and without using my motor. The motor will be sealed. I’ll post daily blogs to my website, and I’ll be talking to people on land around the world each day using my HF radio. I also use that for emails, so I shan’t be quite alone!

"If any problems arise — and they usually do! — I’ll have to deal with them using whatever tools and spares I’ll be carrying on board. In addition, I’ll be taking all my food with me. Fresh eggs that are turned daily should last several months, onions and potatoes most of the way, and I’ll also have canned and dried foods.

 "Drinking water will come from a watermaker working off my batteries, and I’ll have long-life milk and fruit juices as ballast. My batteries will be mainly powered by the sun and the wind, with a small backup generator to help on windless, overcast days.

"I’ll do my own weather routing using my radio to get the information. ‘GRIB’ weather files will come as email attachments, and weatherfaxes will come direct from onshore transmitters located beside whichever sea area I happen to be in. It’s useful to know when a storm is expected — they’re very frequent over a good part of my route. In planning my route, I’ll try to stay out of both calms and storms, and as far as possible, in favorable wind.

"I’m hoping to use my sextant to practice navigation skills made rusty from frequent use of GPS. The Southern Ocean is often overcast, so taking regular sights won’t always be possible. But when well offshore, it’s not a problem.

"This will be my fourth solo circumnavigation and, I hope, my second successful unassisted nonstop circumnavigation. Support from my friends will mean a lot to me and help me to succeed. Friends can do so by donating to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in England. The RNLI is independent of government funding, and the crews of the lifeboats are all volunteers. They need our support to keep them well-trained and their equipment up to date if they’re to be able to launch safely and succeed in their lifesaving efforts night and day."

Jeanne has been a great friend of Latitude‘s over the years, but the Wanderer didn’t get a chance to really get to know her until a few months ago in Mexico. At that time we had a unique opportunity in which to interview her — while we drove her from La Cruz to the Costco store in Puerto Vallarta and back. That interview appears in the next issue of Latitude. It was during that time that we first learned Jeanne was contemplating yet another unassisted solo trip around the globe.

"All I’d have to do to get to the starting line again is sail to Hawaii and then up to Victoria," she said. "But that’s nothing." Nothing for Jeanne.

A few days later Jeanne joined us and about 15 other people for a daysail on Banderas Bay aboard Profligate. We found her to be one of the most charming people we’ve ever met. She knocked the socks off everyone else on the boat, too. She’s a very special person. Unlike many other singlehanders, the former math professor doesn’t have that faraway look in her eye, and is very social and charming.

You can follow Jeanne’s dream and adventure on her website. If we’re not mistaken, the way the fundraising works is that she would get a certain percentage of any money donated to the RLNI in her name.

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