Odyssey of an Amazing Sailing Grandmother - Jeanne Socrates

There is a big difference between sailing around the world on a sailboat or by ship.  We did the later three times on ocean liners. Not as paying passengers, but as guest artist, teacher and lecturer.  It was the time-honoured barter system. In exchange for our contribution, we were given ‘cabin and food’. In the process we experienced cultures and traditions from dozens of ports of call, besides the clean ocean air, sea life including albatross and shearwater, and free Vitamin D.

On the other hand, Jeanne Socrates, a 70-year young widow and grandmother, sailed solo around the world non-stop, arriving here at our doorstep in Victoria BC at 03h00 Monday morning and setting a new world record. 
It was her third effort, two previous voyages failed due to various circumstances. 
We knew she’s be returning very early yesterday at the beautiful Inner Harbour.  Her 38 ft. Sloop “Nereida” sailed in the dark past the Ogden Point breakwater, a 5 minute walk from our abode, at 02h20. There was a crowd of well-wishers at the Inner Harbour in front of the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel -  including us at that hour. Jeanne Socrates is a retired mathematician.   

The 70-year old woman lives in London, UK.  Now a widow, she and her husband learned to sail twenty years ago.  Her husband died of cancer. This motivated Jeanne to circumnavigate the globe solo, to raise funds for the Marie Curie Cancer Care centre that provides free home nursing for terminally ill cancer patients.Her extraordinary, non-stop journey over 289 days covered more than 40,000 km (21,600 nautical miles).  

Later that morning: Jeanne Socrates at Victoria Inner Harbour.  Photo Darren Stone, Times Colonist.

Now that is what I call a true circumnavigation of the globe – ‘the crown jewel’ of travel.

Henri van Bentum