Sailing Alone Non-Stop Around the World

 Jeanne Socrates, 70, took over 260 days to travel 25,000 miles in her 38-ft yacht.

Let's sail alone non-stop around the world...  Or maybe we’ll just admire the great sailors that have... Joshua Slocum comes to mind to many of us, especially those that have read his Sailing Alone Around The World and wondered, "what if  that could be me?" Would I be strong enough to be alone for almost a year, not starting the motor, going at it by myself with all nature’s got to offer?

Sir Robin Knox-Johnson was the first to do it non-stop port to port in 1969. He’s a friend of Jeanne Socrates, now the oldest woman to make the claim. She completed her circumnavigation Sunday, June 7, arriving in Victoria, BC, her starting point.

The British grandmother, she has overcome losing her husband to cancer and wrecking her last boat and sailed solo around the world. Socrates, 70, took over 260 days to travel 25,000 miles in her 38-foot yacht. It follows a 2008 attempt in which she crashed her boat just 12 miles from the finish of what would have been her completion, wrecking her sturdy Swedish built Najad, now she’s sailing a new 380. Previous to that she did a circumnavigation, and now for the record books another, solo, non-stop.

Socrates crossed the finish line in Victoria Monday morning between 2 and 3 am. The official time will be published later. She is tied up safely in Victoria Harbor. She’s tried to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care's free home nursing for the terminally ill by sailing around the four most southern capes, including Cape Horn, and her voyage sets a standard for her friends and associates, the world’s sailors, her admirers. We praise her and value the standard she has shown, the path she has lead us to.

As a fellow member of the Ocean Cruising Club, I hope to see her again during her next visit to Annapolis, let’s all toast her success.

~Captain Art Ross, author of Sixty Years of Sport: Sailing from the Age of Gatsby to the Grenadine Islands


British sailor, Jeanne Socrates, OCC member since 1999, has succeeded in completing a solo non-stop circumnavigation aboard Nereida, her 38 foot sailing vessel. She has been circumnavigating since 2007, completing four trips around the globe, but the non-stop eluded her until now. Jeanne passed the Victoria Harbour entrance[July 8] where her time was taken as the voyage has been officially recorded by the World Sailing Speed Record Council.  The voyage was completed without the use of the engine for propulsion.

Nereida left Victoria on October 22, 2012 and Jeanne has spent over 250 days at sea, with her ham radio being the main source of communication with the outside world. She was escorted in by a whale watching boat The Prince of Whales and is moored in front of the Empress Hotel, courtesy of the Victoria Harbour Authority

OCC Commodore John Franklin commented, “Jeanne Socrates is one of our most accomplished sailing members in recent years. She is now over 70 years of age and is engaged in her third solo non-stop attempt in 6 years. This is the Victoria BC to Victoria BC
circuit pioneered by our own Tony Gooch, who holds the solo non-stop record of 177 days for this circuit. In fact, Tony, who is off sailing on his own adventures at the moment, has given Jeanne great encouragement and guidance in planning her attempt.”

Jeanne has broken many records. She is the oldest woman to circumnavigate solo, the oldest woman to circumnavigate solo via the Five Great Capes, and now, she is the oldest woman to circumnavigate solo non-stop. OCC members Ian and Susan Grant were there at her arrival in Victoria to present her with an engraved plaque as an award of special Ocean Cruising Club
recognition for her accomplishments, “Your friends at OCC are most proud of you, Jeanne! Thanks for showing us how it’s done.”

Jeanne didn’t originally set out to circumnavigate. She only started sailing in 1990. She and her husband George were spending a leisurely retirement cruising the Mediterranean and the Caribbean when George fell ill with cancer and passed away while on a cruise in the Caribbean.

Jeanne didn’t want to give up sailing but she had not been the skipper on board Nereida. When she heard about an OCC Rally in British Columbia, she decided to participate and recruited a crew member to assist. However, when she was ready to depart Bonaire, he did not appear. So she took matters into her own hands and took off for Florida. After leaving, she received a message that her crew member was looking for her in Bonaire, and she replied that he should meet her at the next island. So Daan joined her for the first part of her trip and helped her get accustomed to her new role, but she discovered that she really
preferred to sail alone.

Jeanne spent the next few months learning how to fix things on the boat. As she progressed toward British Columbia, her confidence and competence grew until she reached where she is today – back in British Columbia where the adventures all began and at the receiving end of a special award from OCC to recognize that perseverance can lead to amazing achievements.