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Senior's circumnavigation voyage hits rough waters after Victoria start

Nov 10 2012
Jeanne Socrates, 70, left Victoria aboard Nereida on Oct. 22. 

Jeanne Socrates, 70, left Victoria aboard Nereida on Oct. 22.

Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist , Times Colonist

A British woman who left Victoria last month on her third attempt at setting a record as the oldest woman to sail around the world non-stop and unassisted has reached Mexican waters.

Jeanne Socrates, 70, left Victoria harbour without fanfare on Oct. 22 aboard her 38-foot sailboat Nereida, turning south toward Cape Horn. She hit strong winds, and the life-raft fell off the boat and submerged, but was still connected by rope.

"I had to cut it away," said Socrates in an email.

She decided to stop in San Francisco and replace the life-raft, but had to obey the rules so her voyage could still be recorded as nonstop and unassisted.

She stayed on the boat as a new life-raft was ferried out to her. The next day, she attempted to leave, but there was no wind and the tidal current was weak.

"A boat came up, recognized me, and offered help," Socrates said. "I had to explain I couldn't accept any, nor could I use my motor to help move me along."

She finally got away and crossed into Mexican waters on Thursday.

The grandmother used Victoria as a starting point because it gives her the mileage to meet requirements of the record books.

She arrived in August after being away for 22 months on an earlier attempt, much of it spent in port for repairs. In October 2010, her sailboat was knocked over in stormy seas, breaking the boom.

Socrates, a retired schoolteacher, learned to sail at 51. She has said this will be her last attempt to complete the voyage.

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