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Victoria woman, 76, set to beat world sailing record
Published Tuesday, September 3, 2019 1:09PM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, September 3, 2019 5:10PM PDT
Jean Socrates is chasing a new title, oldest “person” to circle the world single-handedly, hoping to blast away the record set by a 71-year-old Japanese man. (Photo: svnereida.com)
A 76-year-old Victoria woman is set to beat a world sailing record when she returns to Vancouver Island on Wednesday.
Jeanne Socrates set sail on Oct. 3, 2018, in an attempt to set the world record for oldest person to sail around the world solo without the use of an engine.
The daunting voyage is one that Socrates has endured before. In 2013, she completed her first successful solo sail around the globe in 259 days at the age of 70.
The journey earned her the world record for oldest woman to complete the sail unassisted around the world and the first woman from North America to ever do so. However, her crown for oldest sailor ever was narrowly taken by a Japanese man who completed the journey in 2005 at the age of 71.
Now, nearly one year after her second attempt at the record began, Socrates is expected to return to Victoria on Wednesday.
Socrates's 11.5-metre sailboat has taken her to all corners of the world, from the southernmost tip of Chile to the waters of the Indian Ocean, the shores of New Zealand and beyond.
Particular moments, like when she contacted the U.S. South Pole station, stick out in the sailor's mind.
"[It] felt very special, somehow," she told CTV News back in January.
To complete her immense journey, Socrates carries enough tools, spare parts, and food to make sure her journey can be completed alone and unassisted.
"Just spent a couple of hours trying to 'bandage' a fraying steering cable – it had come off the upper guide on the steering quadrant at its end and was rubbing under the quadrant," said Socrates in her most recent travel update on Saturday.
"I've added cable ties in effort to hold it up and keep it from rubbing and fraying any further. A very temporary 'fix'!"
In case she was ever in dire straits, the sailor had a satellite phone, email, and radio to contact help or speak with friends and family.
While being alone on a boat in the middle of the ocean can seem lonesome, it hasn't necessarily been lonely for the world traveller.
"Mornings are very good times," said Socrates in an early blog update.
"Much as I enjoy the radio contacts, it's also good to be alone with the vastness of the open sea and the sky. Time for relaxation and reflection... This is what ocean crossings are really about – away from the hustle and bustle – and stresses – of life back on shore," she wrote.