Jeanne Socrates arrived at Victoria, B.C. on Saturday afternoon just under a year after she departed on Oct. 3, 2018
It might have taken the 40-year-old (and fictional) Phileas Fogg 80 days to complete his journey around the world, but that feat was completed thanks to the help of his ingenious French valet Passepourt and royal ladylove Aouda.
As of Saturday afternoon, Fogg must tip his hat to a successor who holds not one but two world records. British yachtswoman Jeanne Socrates, 77, is being hailed as the oldest person — and only woman — to sail around the world non-stop from North America, without help. The previous record-holder was Minoru Saito, who completed the journey when he was 71 years old in 2005, according to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.
Socrates arrived Saturday at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in B.C., 391 days after she set sail on Oct. 3, 2018. She was greeted by hundreds of supporters waiting at Ogden Point.
“Time doesn’t stand still (& bodies don’t get younger!),” wrote Socrates in her blog, “so I felt it was the right time for me to ‘sail around the world’ in a reasonable short time, as a sailing challenge, rather as the sailors of olden times did.”
Socrates has not immediately responded to the National Post’s request for comment but her blog detailing her voyages offers a glimpse into the challenges of her trip. While she has not yet included documentation of the 2018-2019 trip, she has written extensively about her travels between 2009 and 2013 and included an interactive Google Map, where users can track her adventures.
According to her blog, this is Socrates’ fourth successful solo circumnavigation of the globe and second sail without help or stops along the way. She completed her first solo circumnavigation in 2008, at the age of 66. A second successful attempt in 2011 almost came to a tragic end after her boat was shattered by strong winds west near Chile.
“I was knocked down on 5th January 2011 while lying hove-to-well west of Cape Horn,” she wrote.
“I was quite devastated but, by a stroke of luck, personally uninjured although the boat suffered major damage: broken boom, sprayhood torn away, windscreen windows smashed, seawater ingress & general chaos down below, washboard broken in half, carbon pole broken, staysail furler broken … .”
In 2013 she crossed another landmark when she successfully sailed around the world with no stops, earning the title, marked in the Guinness Book of World Records, as the only woman to successfully do so.
As per her blog, she also attempted to set sail around the world in October and November 2016, but was thwarted on both occasions by boat damage due to stormy weather. An attempt in 2017 came to a sudden halt after she broke her neck and ribs from a fall from the deck of the boat.
Her boat, named SV Nereida, is a tribute to the nereids of Greek mythology, known as the handmaidens of Poseidon, Olympian god of the sea.