Jeanne Socrates has undergone surgery after a fall from a ladder. She has now abandoned her attempt to become the oldest person to sail around the world solo, non-stop and unassisted

02 October 2017

A fall from a ladder has put paid to Jeanne Socrates’ attempt to become the oldest person to sail solo around the world without touching land or getting help of any kind while underway.

The accident happened just days before British yachtswoman was due to leave Victoria, British Colombia, to try and beat the current record held by Japanese sailor, Minoru Saito, in June 2005.

The Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) is reporting that Jeanne Socrates fell from the top of the ladder while taking on final stores.

Her Najad 380, Nereida, had been on the hard for anti-fouling and inspection ahead of her planned departure on Thursday (5 October).

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The 75-year-old, who is an OCC member, is currently recovering in hospital after undergoing surgery to repair eight broken ribs.

Her neck will be in a brace for three months to allow a fractured vertebrae to heal. Other injuries include a broken nose and a badly damaged right elbow.

A post on Jeanne Socrates’ official blog said: “she is sore and in pain although limbs and nerves are all intact”.

“She took a fall from the top of a ladder while coming down off her boat in the boatyard She is currently in hospital while she begins to recover from her injuries. She will provide more details as soon as she is up to it. Please keep her in your thoughts,” added the post.


29 September 2017

Jeanne Socrates, the oldest woman to sail around the world solo, non-stop and unassisted, is preparing to circumnavigate again.

The 75-year-old Guinness World Record holder plans to set off from British Colombia in her yacht, Nereida, on 5 October 2017.

It will be her fourth solo circumnavigation attempt.

If Jeanne Socrates finishes then she’ll claim the title as the oldest person to sail solo around the world without touching land or getting help of any kind while underway.

The current Guinness World Record holder is Japanese sailor, Minoru Saito, who was 71 when he completed a non-World Speed Sailing Record Council-sanctioned non-stop solo circumnavigation of the world in his 50-foot yacht, Shuten-doji II, on 6 June 2005.

Jeanne Socrates previously attempted the record back in October 2016.

She was forced to abandon the voyage after her 38-foot Najad 380, Nereida, was caught in a 45-60-knot storm which caused damage to the yacht, forcing her to return to port at Victoria, British Colombia, Canada.

She started out again in November 2016, and got further south before again being forced to make landfall in San Diego for urgent repairs.

A white yacht with white sails


At the time, Jeanne Socrates described the move as “a painful but an unavoidable decision”.

By the time those repairs were completed, it was too late in the season to start again.

Since then, the former Lymington and London resident has been making sure Nereida is in good shape, ahead of her third attempt at the record this autumn.

She said she expected the voyage would take around eight months.


Her course will take her south of Cape Horn and the other four Great Capes of the Southern Ocean, before heading north again from New Zealand to return to her starting point of Victoria, British Colombia, Canada.

As well as attempting to break the record, she will also be raising money for the RNLI.

Jeanne Socrates was 70 years 325 days old when she claimed the oldest woman to sail single-handedly around the world title.

She completed her record-breaking circumnavigation on 8 July 2013, having taken 258 days 14 hours 16 minutes and 36 seconds.