Jeanne to raise cash for cancer fight

British sailor Jeanne Socrates has started a solo circumnavigation to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. She left Victoria, in British Columbia, Canada, on 25 October in her 38 foot yacht Nereida to sail solo & non-stop around the world back to Victoria. Her route will take her south of Cape Horn, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Jeanne, a 68 year old retired maths lecturer/teacher from Ealing, W. London, has logged well over 55,000 miles of ocean sailing. She (almost!) completed a solo, 15-month ‘cruising-style’ west-about circumnavigation in June 2008 but lost her boat (a Najad 361, also named “Nereida”), due to autopilot failure, on a Mexican surf beach north of Acapulco, within half a day and 60 miles short of her starting point of Zihuatanejo, which she had left in March ’07.  

Determined to keep sailing, Jeanne bought a new Najad 380 and after sailing it from England to the Canary Islands, she set off in October 2009 to sail non-stop solo around the world. After overcoming several major challenges in mid-ocean, Jeanne was forced to pull in to Cape Town in early December for repairs that couldn’t be fixed on the passage down the Atlantic. After an unexpected 3-month delay for an engine replacement, Jeanne sailed to New Zealand nonstop (62 days) and then on to Hawaii (36 days) before making for Cape Flattery & Port Townsend, WA, USA (21 days) for major repairs in preparation for a second nonstop, solo, RTW attempt to start from Victoria, B.C..

When asked ” Why do it?”  Jeanne replied: ‘Partly simply for the challenge of all it entails, partly to experience the long passages & being ‘at one’ with the elements & nature – it’s another world! … I’ll be at sea for 7-8 months. …. my first-ever rounding of Cape Horn (early in the New Year 2011) will be ‘the ultimate test’ – The Mt Everest of sailing!  Having experienced the frequent storms and fronts of Southern Ocean weather during my five months of sailing there recently, I now know what to expect, but rounding Cape Horn could well get much nastier, so I have to be prepared for that – and after Cape Horn I will have to sail South of the other ‘Great Capes’ before returning north to Victoria”.

She’s had a tough time making her way south due to Pacific storms or no wind, but is presently 300 miles due W of Los Angeles, on her way SSE towards Cape Horn – just under two months’ away.