Long distance grandma crosses her own track

Posted: May 11, 2011 08:34 am EDT

(By Jon Amtrup)Jeanne Socrates (68) isnt like most other grandmothers. Last Friday she crossed her own track as she sailed in to Cape Town. Her first attempt on a circumnavigation alone ended on the beach only 12 hours from completion. Her next trip was more successful, but also included drama on the high seas.

Its not only a few young guns that casts of and sails around the world. Grandmas with a taste for adventure also shows that there is a way for us all as we get older.

Jeanne Socrates is a retired British math teacher who in march 2007 set out from Zihuatanejo in Mexico. 15 months later she was just 60 nautical miles away from her starting point having sailed around the world. But it wasnt meant to be and the boat ended up a on a steep surf beach and her 36 feet yacht Nereida was lost.

Such an incident would have broken most people, but Jeanne Socrates was determined to get back in to the sailing life. The boat had been her home since her husband died of cancer in 2003.

A massive effort from her and her friends resulted in the new Nereida. A boat of the same yard, Najad from Sweden, was commissioned and she was of again in June 2009. Her dream of sailing alone around the world started again

- On 10th March 2010, with repairs completed and new engine installed, I left Cape Town to continue heading east from South Africa to pass south of Australia, making landfall in Nelson, New Zealand, after 62 days at sea, and then on to Hawaii - well over 12,000 miles in total. It proved impossible to make San Francisco to start the Single-Handed TransPac Race in mid-June, but I did manage to meet the racers finishing in Hanalei Bay, Kauai, in early July, before heading north with the intention of re-starting my non-stop circumnavigation via Cape Horn early in October 2010, she writes on her homepage.

The meeting with the famous Cape Horn was to rough for the 68 year old as she got 70 knots of wind and giant seas. This is a lot more than sailors like Abby Sunderland and Jessica Watson got when they where in those waters. The conditions knocked the boat over and snapped the boom. She limped in to Ushuaia unassisted, and after assessing the damage she was uncertain if she would continue. But she preserved yet again, and managed to fix it all.

Friday 6th May she crossed her own track outside Cape Town. The Britt grandma had finally achieved her goal.

According to Sail World Jeanne joins a very select group of female sailors; of the some 260 sailors whove circumnavigated solo, fewer than 20 are women.

Adventure grandma Jeanne Socrates reaches Cape Town and fulfills her dream of sailing around the world alone.
Nereida at anchor in Reid.
Nereida off the Reid glacier.
Jeanne Socrates track with stops.

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