She says her postal address is in Lymington, but that her home is the ‘Nereida’, the boat with which this 76-year-old retired teacher sailed this month ready to complete around the world solo and nonstop. Nobody has managed to circumnavigate the planet without touching firm ground at that age.
Joanne Socrates moored on October 3 from Victoria (Canada) aboard her boat Nereida. For prow, around the world in solitary and without touching firm ground that hopes to complete in seven or eight months. If she succeeds, she would become the oldest person to circumnavigate the planet without stopping, surpassing the Japanese Minoru Saito, who in 2005 and at 71 years spent 233 days devouring the world’s oceans. The British woman is 76 years old and has an unwavering will when she moves away from the coast.
The septuagenarian navigator took two years to start her last great dream. She made two attempts in 2016, but on both occasions, the weather conditions forced her to set foot on the ground shortly after leaving. And last year, when it was a week before they tried to leave the three big capes (Hornos, Buena Esperanza and Leeuwin) for the port, Socrates broke her hip when she fell down the ladder of her boat.
Once recovered from the injury, the British went to work to resume the project, which finally began two weeks ago. “I like it when they call me crazy,” Socrates acknowledges in statements collected by the Times Colonist newspaper. He adds: “I think we should all be a little crazy for life to be worth it.”
Joanne Socrates was a math teacher with no experience in sailing until the mid-90s when she already had more than 40 springs, she began to practice windsurfing and sailing in light boats. In 1997 she and her husband George launched their pre-retirement status by buying a Najad 361 sailboat which they called Nereida and with which they sailed the coasts of Norway, Denmark, Holland, England, Portugal, Spain and the Caribbean. A dream journey that, however, turned black in 2003 when her husband died.
Without George, Jeanne decided to continue discovering the world through the oceans on her own. She confessed that her compatriot Ellen MacArthur, who in 2001 got a historic second place in the wild Vendée Globe, was a source of inspiration: she also wanted to complete around the world solo and nonstop. Little did she care to be a sexagenarian.
She learned to tame the boat in solitude and in March of 2007 she released moorings in Victoria (Canada) to start the assault on the five oceans with stops. Fifteen months later, in the absence of the last weeks of navigation to complete the round the world, the Nereida ran aground on a reef. She was left without a feat and without a ship.
Far from giving up, the navigator bought a new Najdad, this time a model 380 of 11.5 meters in length by 3.65 of the sleeve. She set sail again from Victoria in 2013 and returned to the same port after 259 days travelling the world. She became that way, at 70, in the oldest woman who manages to go around the world alone and without stops.
But Joanne Socrates did not have that record of longevity. Already addicted to saltpetre, not even her three grandchildren have managed to keep her out of the water for a long time. The widow of the seas again set a more ambitious goal: to be the oldest person to go around the world alone and without stops. For now, she descends with determination through the Pacific Ocean aboard his Nereida, without stopping talking on the radio and recording her days on her blog. Her first goal is to reach the dreaded Cape Horn at Christmas.