Jeanne Socrates, aboard S/V Nereida, successfully completed a nonstop, single-handed, unassisted sail around the world at 2:26 a.m. on Monday 8th July 2013, when she passed Ogden Point at the entrance to Victoria Harbour, 259 days after leaving Victoria in October 2012.
She became the first woman to sail solo nonstop around the world from North America and the oldest woman to sail solo nonstop around the world (a record noted in the Guinness Book of Records)
This was her third attempt to circumnavigate solo, nonstop and unassisted - eastabout via Cape Horn and the Southern Ocean - all attempts made without the help of a shore-based support team .... "My team is simply 'Nereida' and me!"
She received the Ocean Cruising Club's Special Award on landfall and, in April 2014, their Barton Cup. On 7th March 2014, she was presented with the Cruising Club of America's 'Blue Water Medal' and, in April, with the Royal Cruising Club's 'Seamanship Medal'. She was short-listed both for the 'Yachtsman of the Year Award' (U.K.) and also for the 'Yachtworld Hero of the Year Award' (U.S.A.).
Previous awards received have been the "Duchess of Kent Trophy" (January 2012, from the Cruising Association) and the Award of Merit (2011) and Rose Medal (2009) (both from the Ocean Cruising Club).
In August 2012, she became the oldest woman to have circumnavigated solo via the Five Great Capes of the Southern Ocean and she had previously, March 2007- June 2008, circumnavigated westabout via the Panama Canal (although unfortunately finishing 60 miles short of her starting point in Mexico - see below).(See 'Travels' for an overview of her solo passages and for maps showing her position as she sailed around the world from 2004 onward. See her complete Diary/Web Log here and see 'Articles and Interviews' for some magazine, TV and radio reports.)
Jeanne Socrates’ single-handed circumnavigations from 2007 onward…
1) - from Mexico on 25th March 2007, heading westabout, mainly through the Tropics, pausing in many of the well-known cruising haunts;
2) - first nonstop attempt, in 2009, from the Canaries, in the new Nereida, being forced to stop in Cape Town for repairs, then heading on eastabout to New Zealand and Hawaii, ending in the Strait of Juan de Fuca;
3)- second nonstop attempt, from Victoria (B.C.) in October 2010, with a knockdown in January 2011, west of Cape Horn, ending her nonstop plan… But by continuing eastabout to the Falklands, S. Africa, Tasmania, New Zealand and then on to Tahiti and Hawaii, she completed a solo circumnavigation rounding the Five Great Capes of the Southern Ocean, finally reaching the Strait of Juan de Fuca on 1st August 2012.
The Five Great Capes are: Cape Horn (Chile), Cape of Good Hope (S. Africa), Cape Leeuwin (Australia), S.E. Cape of Tasmania (Australia), S.W. Cape of Stewart Island (New Zealand)
4) - third nonstop attempt ... started 22nd October 2012 from Victoria, B.C., and returned to Victoria in the early darkness hours of 8th July 2013, after well over 25,700 n.ml. and almost 260 days of sailing singlehanded, nonstop, unassisted around the globe, with well over three months being spent in the Southern Ocean, where Cape Horn was successfully rounded (without major incident this time) early in January.
Jeanne's Third Nonstop Attempt: 22nd October 2012 - 8th July 2013 (successful!)
This last solo, unassisted attempt was notable both for the many problems arising and length of time taken... 6-7 weeks longer than hoped for, due to the high incidence of calms and light winds encountered in between the stronger weather (especially on the final, long passage north up the Pacific, where frequent headwinds were thrown in). The problems started with her liferaft 'jumping ship', causing a diversion to San Francisco Bay to replace the raft, while adhering to the 'unassisted' rule of the WSSRC who were validating the attempt. Rounding Cape Horn as the Vendée Globe racers were also doing so, added interest, as did the presence of large icebergs to avoid. Timing and position were almost identical to that of her January 2011 knockdown on the previous attempt - discomforting...! Almost daily radio contact was enjoyed and loss of computers on board two months before finishing (with satphone already having failed on Christmas Day morning) gave rise to immediate help from 'ham' radio friends who were able to maintain posting of daily position and log reports plus emails.
Second Nonstop Attempt / Knockdown / Circumnavigation via the Five Great Capes: 25th Oct 2010 – 1st Aug 2012
This attempt started from Victoria (B.C.) on 25th October 2010, but damage caused by a bad knockdown, about 140 miles west of Cape Horn on Day 72 (5th January 2011), ended the nonstop attempt. After rounding Cape Horn unassisted and making basic repairs in Ushuaia (Arentina), she continued eastabout to the Falklands, Cape Town (S. Africa), Hobart (Tasmania) and on via Stewart Island, New Zealand, to Tahiti and Hawaii. Jeanne then managed to complete a single-handed circumnavigation via the Five Great Capes of the Southern Ocean on reaching the Strait of Juan de Fuca on 1st August 2012.
First Nonstop Attempt, started November 2009
The new Nereida was commissioned on the River Hamble, near Southampton Water, over April to June 2009, after being fitted out in Sweden at the beginning of the year. A Najad 380, she's an updated, re-designed version of the previous Najad 361. Due to the many changes and additions, she's not a 'standard' N380 (one obvious, major change is being cutter-rigged, not a sloop). (See 'Boat Details' )
The plan was to trial her thoroughly around the Solent and Guernsey, before setting off towards the Canaries on a 12-day offshore passage in early September from St Peterport (Guernsey) towards Puerto Calero in Isla Lanzarote (Canaries). There everything was checked/repaired thoroughly again, eventually leaving in early November – near the beginning of the Southern summer. Starting from the Atlantic, planning to sail east-about nonstop in higher latitudes, passing south of the Five Great Capes, which include Cape Horn, the journey through the Southern Ocean back to the Canaries was expected to take 6-7 months….
Jeanne headed down to South Africa.... but rigging and other problems forced her in to Cape Town and this turned into a three-month stop for an engine replacement with improved installation details. Plans were changed and she officially entered the 2010 Single-handed TransPac race from San Francisco to Kauai (Hawaii) but time ran out on passage East, with stormy weather encountered in the Great Australian Bight and around New Zealand, and she only managed, with difficulty, to reach Hanalei Bay just in time for the SHTP Awards evening, on the final day of the Race. By this time, she’d decided to head for Port Townsend (WA, USA) to work on the boat with a view to re-starting another nonstop round-the-world attempt from Victoria (B.C., Canada) later that year.
Previous Solo Circumnavigation, 26th March 2007 – 19th June 2008
On 15th August 2006, Jeanne completed a 'NE Pacific Loop' by sailing to Sitka from Hanalei Bay in Kauai after her finish in the Single-Handed Transpac Race to Hawaii from San Francisco (started on 24th June 2006).
She'd left Sitka the previous year (2005) as part of a cruise of SE Alaska, sailed down the Inside Passage to British Columbia and on to Puget Sound (where she was forced to stop for the winter months) and then on to San Francisco offshore in May 2006.
As a result of these ocean passages, and having to overcome the many and varied boat problems that cropped up en route, she gained in confidence tremendously and set her sights on sailing around the world.
She sailed down from Sitka in September 2006 to San Diego, again via the Inside Passage, and then on to the West coast of Vancouver Island, making the journey from Neah Bay singlehanded offshore to San Francisco for the third time in October 2006. After some necessary work there, it was on to San Diego for a lot more work on the boat with her planned circumnavigation in mind. Then came a fast journey offshore down the Baja (Mexico) in February, ending eventually in Zihuatanejo (Mexico) from where her first solo journey around the world finally started on Monday 26th March 2007.
Cairns (Australia) was reached on 11th July 2007, Richards Bay (South Africa), on 16th November 2007 and she left Trinidad for Panama on 1st May 2008. After crossing the Tehuantepec to reach the west coast of Mexico from Guatemala, she was making for San Francisco to start the 2008 Single-Handed TransPac Race but was then incredibly unlucky to lose Nereida on a steep, deserted surf beach north of Acapulco, before dawn, less than twelve hours and about sixty miles short of completing her circumnavigation ... on 19th June 2008.