259 days at sea, 25,000 miles… and a lone grandma at the helm: Briton, 70, becomes oldest woman to sail solo round world non-stop

A British grandmother has become the oldest woman to sail solo around the world non-stop – at the third attempt. Intrepid Jeanne Socrates, 70, from Ealing, west London, set off on her mammoth journey from Victoria in Canada, in October last year.

She sold her family home to take up the gruelling challenge after the death of her husband, with whom she learned to sail in her 50s. The former maths teacher was skipper, navigator, engineer and chef on her 38ft yacht Nereida.

It was third time lucky for determined Mrs Socrates as she failed in her previous two attempts to complete the 25,000-mile circumnavigation.

Now after 259 days at sea, she has become the oldest woman to solo non-stop circumnavigate the world. The grandmother-of-three will have to wait for experts to carry out an inspection on sensors on board the boat to have her record verified.

Speaking after she docked in Victoria, Canada, in the early hours of Monday, she said her achievement was a victory for the elderly. She said: ‘I am the oldest by a long shot. Who else would be crazy enough to do it?

‘As soon as you mention your age and number to other people, they get very ageist.
‘They classify you and put you in a pocket as being old and no good. ‘But we shouldn’t be – we are no different as people.’
Explaining how she survived the voyage, Mrs Socrates said: ‘Everything ends up cold and damp so you need your sleeping bag to get warm, and dry out a bit. In my gear as well.’

Emailing from her boat during the challenge, she said: ‘I’ve gone around [the world] several times now, so I figure it’s time to get my name on the list.

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