June 13, 2019

Socrates Just Off Timaru NZJeanne Socrates just off Timaru NZ. Photo by: John Bisset

Timaru is a small town about 150 km south of Christchurch NZ, and Jeanne Socrates has anchored inside the breakwater to try to repair some damage caused by a knockdown in the Tasman Sea a couple of weeks ago. She is accepting no outside assistance so when she leaves, her attempt will still be valid.

The following is an article from the Timaru Herald by Matthew Littlewood. Having survived on very little sleep, a "shattered" 76-year-old British grandmother attempting to become the oldest person to circumnavigate the globe unaided has moored in Timaru as part of her high sea adventures.

Jeanne Socrates, moored at Evans Bay on Friday morning, stopping for unexpected repairs to her yacht, the S/V Nereida, having been at sea for 240 days since she left Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, which sits on the coast of the North Pacific Ocean, in October last year.

In order to break that record, she was not allowed to come into direct contact with the Timaru Port for assistance.

Speaking to Stuff from a satellite phone on the yacht, Socrates said she was "absolutely shattered".

"I"ve been surviving on three-hours' sleep the last few days," she said.

"I'm glad I was able to moor up to Timaru. The conditions have been all over the shop. There are days when we've had too much wind, and days we have had too little."

There were a lot of things that could go wrong at sea, she said.

Socrates said she was unsure how many days she would be moored in Timaru, but has enjoyed many parts of her New Zealand leg of her adventure.

"I loved Stewart Island, once I finally got there. I'm a big fan of birds, so it was great to see the albatross and petrels in full flight," she said.

"It's been so long just getting to this point that you just have to keep on going."

PrimePort Timaru worker Steve Wills said some communications equipment on Socrates' vessel has been damaged.

"We're not allowed to have any physical contact, and she's not allowed to touch land," Wills said.

"She has an amazing sailing pedigree."

In 2013, Socrates became the oldest female to circumnavigate the world single-handed, and she is the only woman to have circumnavigated solo non-stop from North America.

Jeanne SocratesOn September 28, 2017, after major injuries due to a fall from a ladder while working on her yacht, she postponed an attempt to gain the record as the oldest circumnavigator of either sex, held by Japanese Minoru Saitō who sailed round the world in 2005 aged 71.

On October 3, 2018, Socrates started on her latest attempt to circumnavigate the world single-handedly. She has covered nearly 20,000 nautical miles since her adventure began.

Wills said he was in awe of Socrates' stamina.

"I really don't know how she does it. There is no limit to her energy," he said.

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