British woman becomes oldest person to sail solo around the world

Jeanne Socrates, 77, has become the oldest person to sail around the world solo, non-stop and unassisted.Picture: PA
Jeanne Socrates, 77, has become the oldest person to sail around the world solo, non-stop and unassisted.Picture: PA
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A 77-year-old British woman has become the oldest person to sail around the world solo, non-stop and unassisted, and said she will not let age stop her adventures.

Jeanne Socrates, from Lymington, Hampshire, completed her circumnavigation in Victoria, Canada, when her 38ft yacht Nereida was met by a flotilla of small boats.

She previously claimed the record for the oldest woman to complete the challenge in 2013.

She told the PA news agency: "I have been absolutely and happily staggered and delighted by the amount of support I have been getting on my return.

"The number of people that turned up and waited on the day I was coming because I was so slowed down getting over the finish line was just fantastic and absolutely wonderful."

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During her latest record-breaking 320-day voyage she suffered a ripped mainsail during a storm and lost the boat's solar panels overboard.

She said: "The only thing that was going to stop me was if something major happened to the boat.

"I had a few doubts a couple of times whether I would manage to get back to that point where I could continue."

Her record bid was beset with problems including an accident as she prepared for a previous attempt in 2017 when she fell off her boat in dry dock and broke her neck and ribs.

Ms Socrates said she felt her achievement could act as an inspiration to others of the same age.

She said: "Age is just a number, it's your health and mental attitude that matters, not your age. I don't feel any different to when I was 35/45."

She added the things she missed most during her trip were a "crispy crunchy Caesar's salad, fresh fruit and fresh coffee".

Ms Socrates said that although she is from Lymington, she spends most of her time on her boat, particularly in Canada, where she has been made an honorary member of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

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The mother-of-two said her son and daughter had learned to live with her adventures.

She said: "Neither of them sail or understand at all what I'm about. They know by now that I'm not going to fall off the boat, so they just accept it and I'm going to continue and I seem to be surviving, and accept that I'm not going to stop."

The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Victoria posted on Facebook: "Congratulations to Jeanne Socrates on SV Nereida who has officially completed her solo circumnavigation unassisted, and has set a record as the oldest person to do so at 77 years old!"