British yachtswoman Jeanne Socrates still has her sights set on becoming the the oldest person to sail non-stop, solo and unassisted around the world, despite having to wait until September 2017 to set sail again.
The 74-year-old was forced to put her latest challenge on hold, after sustaining more damage to her 11.6m (38ft) yacht Nereida in her second attempt in November.
She described stopping for repairs a second time as a ‘painful but unavoidable decision.’
In October, Jeanne was forced to return to British Columbia, Canada for repairs after surviving a ‘big blow’ six days into her first attempt. Her restart on 13 November ended 13 days later when she had to divert course owing to urgent genset repairs and a damaged gooseneck.
Jeanne has circumnavigated the globe three times already in Nereida and is the oldest woman to achieve a solo, non-stop and unassisted circumnavigation.
‘The problem I encountered with my last two attempts to get down the US coast was, of course, the very deep lows that have been sweeping east across the Pacific earlier than usual. I’ve sailed down to San Francisco from the Strait of Juan de Fuca several times in previous years without any problem, with a good weather window in October, but the weather this time around was just not helpful.’
Jeanne described ‘sailing in the strongest winds I’ve ever kept going in – winds to 45 knots or so’ during her second attempt: ‘It was encouraging to see how well Nereida sailed, well reefed down, in such conditions. If the two big problems hadn’t cropped up, I was all set for a good onward passage south in excellent trade winds around the time I had to head for San Diego to get repairs made. The gooseneck problem in itself was bad enough, without the generator problem added in to give a resultant charging problem later on due to lack of fuel for main engine charging.’
Jeanne will now relax in Mexico, cruising gently for a few months before heading north in June to restart from Victoria, British Columbia, in September.
She said: ‘An earlier start will hopefully reduce the chances of the storms I met with this year although I will have to keep an eye out for end-of-season hurricanes which normally recurve inshore.’
The cost of restarts is high.
Jeanne said: ‘The World Sailing Speed Record Council cost alone, for validating an ‘official’ attempt is £1,620! Very expensive…’
Potential sponsors are invited to contact Jeanne at http://svnereida.com
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