Senior sailor en route to Victoria after near-disaster during trip around the world

Jeanne Socrates is slated to take the record as the oldest person to sail the world in a solo trip

The Victoria sailor aiming to break a world record is on her way home.

Jeanne Socrates, age 76, launched her ship, Nerida on Oct. 2, 2018 in an effort to earn the title as the oldest person to sail a solo trip around the world.

Socrates already earned the title as the oldest woman to do so in 2013.

On day 243 of the sail, Socrates reported being docked at Timaru Port, New Zealand, the last major port before heading north back to Victoria. It was a holiday, she wrote in her blog, and gave her a good opportunity to catch up on sleep and to work on some much-needed repairs after a near-miss a couple days before.

ALSO READ: Victoria’s record-breaking senior sailor hits rough waters

On day 239 while heading towards Timaru, Socrates checked her position near 4 a.m. when she noticed something strange.

“[I] smelled a seaweed smell which surprised me, being a good distance off the shore… But a short time later, to my horror, I realized that we were dangerously close to a large, long, rocky, unlit breakwater. I jumped to the wheel and had to hold it full lock to get us away in very little breeze,” Socrates wrote in her blog.

“I could not believe that such a large structure, invisible in the darkness until close up to it, could be left totally unlit … It was very difficult getting away since there was very little steerage in such a light wind.”

Luckily, thanks to the guidance of some local fishermen, she was able to get to Timaru and port at a buoy there.

Jeanne Socrates’ position on day 243 of her sailing trip (mmsn-shiptrak.herokuapp.com)

ALSO READ: Senior sailor leaves Victoria to sail around the world — again

After over 15 hours of sleep, Socrates felt better and got to work on some necessary repairs.

She used the last role of Gorilla Tape to hold together a tear in her sail, untied broken lazyjack riggings, fixed wood at her air vents and made a note that she needed to bleach down large portions of her boat where mold is starting to appear due to constant condensation. She’s also working to understand why her overall battery charge seems to be low.

ALSO READ: B.C. sailor’s attempt to break record crosses Equator line

After nine months at sea, the rations were getting low, but Socrates got a nice surprise while cleaning.

“[I] finished checking on food stowed away – had a nice surprise finding five one-litre packs of mango juice I’d forgotten about and some more tins of beef chunks in gravy,” she wrote.

When she finally got some shut-eye, she didn’t sleep long.

“Woken by machinery starting up on docks close by– always one to three big ships nearby unloading or loading– Timaru is a busy port,” she said.

As of day 239 she’d sailed 19,963 nautical miles.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


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