The intrepid solo sailing grandmother, who is attempting to become the oldest person to sail non-stop, solo and unassisted around the world, says stopping for repairs is a 'painful but unavoidable decision...'

Urgent genset repairs and a damaged gooseneck have forced the British yachtswoman Jeanne Socrates to abandon her latest attempt at a record-breaking circumnavigation.

The 74-year-old, who has a home in Lymington on the South Coast, already holds the title for being the oldest woman to achieve a solo, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation.

Jeanne has her sights fixed on becoming the world’s oldest person to achieve the feat, single-handed, non-stop and without assistance in her 38ft sailing yacht Nereida, but her challenge has so far been hampered by rough weather.

In October, she was forced to return to British Columbia, Canada for repairs after surviving a ‘big blow’ six days into her first attempt.

SV Nereida set sail again on 13 November, but has again suffered damage which can’t be repaired at sea, amid conditions of rough seas and winds of more than 30 knots.


Jeanne Socrates. Credit: Richard.J.Williams

Jeanne, who has circumnavigated the globe three times already in Nereida, wrote a blog on Saturday, 26 November, entitled ‘A painful but unavoidable decision…’, revealing that she was now bound for San Diego.

Jeanne said: ‘Why San Diego? I’ve had to make the painful decision to head in there for repairs needed to the boom connection and genset, among other, more minor, items.

‘Not a comfortable thought while heading towards the Southern Ocean that the genset would probably be out of action for the next 7-8 months (an epoxy repair would almost certainly not last long, always assuming it could be done and would work at all), giving an ongoing battery power issue with not enough fuel (main engine takes more diesel and is less efficient at frequent topping up of wind and solar power inputs), and the boom connection can only get worse with more rough use and is already badly worn…. Not something I can repair – it needs proper attention.

‘Feeling very disheartened and sad…. So many people have been so supportive and helpful in so many ways, for which I have been deeply appreciative… Thanks to you all!’

Jeanne previously told PBO that the cost of circumnavigation preparation had left her bank balance at ‘almost zilch’.

She said: ‘I don’t really have sponsors as such, but many firms try to help me with repairs or on pricing. Supporters include Icom UK, Simrad, Eberspächer, The Rig Shop, Bruntons and Yachting Sports. Seldén UK have helped on their pricing of terminals needed for a total re-rig of Nereida, as did Jeckells who have made a new main sail.

‘My bank account had gone almost to zilch, I’ve had to cash in a lot of my savings. This is a very expensive thing to do.’

Follow Jeanne’s progress at

Or you can message Jeanne and donate to her chosen charity, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), at

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