A British sailor and grandmother has become the oldest person to sail around the world alone, non-stop and unassisted. Jeanne Socrates, 77, left Victoria last October aboard the 11-metre S/V Nereida, and spent more than 330 days at sea alone before returning to Victoria Saturday afternoon. "This is one of the greatest voyages of all time," said her friend and fellow sailor Steve Illman. "A 77-year-old woman who has battled unbelievable hardships on this trip."
Illman said Socrates' boat sustained damage to its radar dish and backup sail. Her mainsail was also ripped and solar panels washed overboard.
Socrates told the local press, Chek News: “The wind gods have not been with me, two cyclones off Hawaii to avoid, and a cyclone off the Indian ocean to avoid, I wasted a week with that.” Socrates took up sailing with her husband shortly after retiring in 1997. The pair travelled across Europe, the Caribbean, and the US. After her husband died in 2003, Socrates continued to sail alone, describing it as “quite a daunting task, getting to know the various systems onboard Nereida and dealing with a variety of problems,” on her blog.
She attempted to complete her first non-stop sail around the world in 2009, but rigging problems forced her to abandon the attempt. Another attempt in 2012 had also failed, but Socrates persevered and was awarded the Guinness World Record in 2013 for being the oldest woman to sail alone non-stop and unassisted.Socrates has been able to overcome a number of setbacks in her career. In 2017, she fell off her boat, breaking her neck and ribs as she prepared for a previous record attempt.
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