Jeanne Socrates crosses equator
A 70-year-old widow has crossed the equator on day 208 in the final leg of
her solo nonstop unassisted circumnavigation.
Jeanne Socrates crossed the line on 17th May 2013 (day 208) at 1453 GMT (2:53 AM local time) on her way north having spent over three months in the southern ocean passing south of Cape Horn on 7th January and rounding the SE Cape of Tasmania on 7th April.
Progress up the Tasman Sea was delayed by several periods of light winds but she managed to avoid two of the severe weather systems for which it is notorious. Heading east to pass New Zealand was haunted by a developing tropical storm which forced her to pass west of Fiji where frequent calms again slowed her down. She found herself drifting SW in no winds several times – backwards!
“I can’t believe how slow these last few weeks have been and how far west
of my planned route I am now,” she said during her latest circumnavigation update.
She has had to navigate with extreme care to avoid the many reefs, atolls
and islands in the region – she is not allowed to use her engine except in
neutral to charge batteries. She is now heading to the squally conditions
of the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone). Then comes the final major
obstacle negotiating the reefs, seamounts, and atolls of the extensive
Hawaiian Island chain out to beyond Midway Island in the central Pacific.
The most recent problems faced have been total failure of her computers on
board – used, among other things, for sending and receiving emails.
Fortunately, ham radio friends have organized a new email system for her,
using voice contact over HF radio to relay messages.
A major feature on Jeanne’s circumnavigation attempt appears in the current (June) issue of Yachting Monthly.