77-year-old British woman notches long-distance sailing record in Victoria
Jeanne Socrates has become the oldest person to sail around the world alone, non-stop and unassisted
A British sailor and grandmother has become the oldest person to sail around the world alone, non-stop and unassisted, according to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.
Jeanne Socrates, 77, left Victoria last October aboard the 11-metre S/V Nereida, and spent more than 330 days at sea before returning to Victoria Saturday afternoon.
Hundreds of people gathered at Victoria's breakwater at Ogden Point to welcome her.
"This is one of the greatest voyages of all time," said her friend and fellow sailor Steve Illman. "A 77-year-old woman who has battled unbelievable hardships on this trip."
Illman said Socrates' boat sustained damage to its radar dish and backup sail. Her mainsail was also ripped and solar panels washed overboard.
Since 2016, Socrates has made several attempts to become the oldest person to circumnavigate the globe solo, but was forced to abandon each time due to either rough seas, boat damage or injury.
Illman says Socrates' resiliency is inspiring.
"She is not in the best physical shape when she left, but she managed, she survived this journey and repaired that boat against great odds and we are amazed by her resourcefulness," he said.
Socrates already holds the record for the oldest woman to make such a trip around the world. She set that record in 2012 and 2013 with a 259-day journey that also started and finished in Victoria.
Socrates did not immediately speak with media upon her arrival Saturday but waved and smiled to the people who came to greet.
Illman says the Fairmont Empress Hotel has given her a room for the night and meal to celebrate her accomplishment.
Socrates used her trip to raise money for for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in Britain.
With files from CHEK News