Jeanne's 3rd attempt

Lone yachtswoman Jeanne Socrates, 68, will be approaching Cape Horn on Christmas Day aboard her 38 ft Najad Nereida in her 3rd attempt at a nonstop, unassisted, solo circumnavigation.  

She’s well aware of the problems in the Southern Ocean, having been badly knocked down west of Cape Horn in January 2011. Once past Cape Horn, it will be her third crossing in the Southern Ocean towards South Africa and on towards Australia and New Zealand.

As we went to press she received news of a sizeable iceberg 30 miles south of Cape Horn which had broken into three pieces. She is hoping the many bergy bits in the area will have melted or drifted out of the way by the time she gets close.

Jeanne hopes to round Cape Horn soon after New Year’s Day and will then be trying to head north-east as fast as possible to get to a region of slightly less extreme weather conditions.

Problems have continued to dog her but so far she has overcome them all and her autopilot continues to work well after that earlier repair. Trying to deal with the wind instrument, which had stopped working, meant a difficult climb up the mast in a slight swell – her fingers are still recovering from the deep blisters she incurred as she desperately clung on while being tossed around on her way to the top.  

All in vain, since it was too dangerous to make the last few feet and change the unit over.  So on to plan B – she succeeded in soldering a connection to the unit and constructed a mount for it on the stern arch – and then lead the cable down below to connect up – so she is now delighted to have wind information on her instruments again.

While on her way south, she had the opportunity to double check that Nereida was prepared for the rough Southern Ocean conditions – having been there before, she knows what to expect.  

But she unexpectedly found her wind steering had developed a major problem – and try as she might, she could not undo a bolt to sort out the problem – until last Sunday, when hove-to in far calmer conditions, she finally succeeded in fixing the problem.  

On the same day, she also managed to sort out a major headsail problem from two days before, when she had furled in the big headsail in very strong winds and big seas – and then found the furling line to be just too short on the drum it winds onto – the still partially-unfurled sail flogging badly in the strong wind as a result.  

Trying to fix that at the time, she ended up with a difficult genoa wrap that she had somehow to undo if the sail was to be usable.’I needed a few more feet of height, she said.

Regular news reports, with occasional photos, and positions while on passage are being posted to :