Oldest person to sail solo around the world

Posted on 11 September 2019

On Saturday 7 September, 77 year-old British yachtswoman Jeanne Socrates became the oldest person to complete a solo non-stop unassisted navigation around the world.

Aboard her 11.5m, monohull sailing vessel, Nereida, Socrates sailed for 320-day on a solo voyage. She completed the journey when she docked in Victoria Harbour in British Columbia in Canada, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club confirmed on Saturday.

Image: CHEK News/Facebook

Socrates’ record-making sailing starts in 2007/8 when she became the first woman to complete a solo nonstop unassisted navigation from North America. In 2013, she became the oldest woman to sail solo, but this year she becomes the oldest person. This record was previously held by Japanese yachtsman Minoru Saitō, who was 71 when he first completed the circumnavigation in 2005.

However, since she set out last year on 3 October 2018, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. According to her daily online log and social media updates, Socrates encountered cyclones near Hawaii and in the Indian Ocean, and her beloved Nereida also sustained damage to its sails and lost solar panels overboard.

‘I think this is one of the greatest voyages of all time,’ said Steve Tillman, Socrates’ friend who was at the harbour to welcome her back.

Describing her as a ‘77-year-old woman who has battled unbelievable hardships on this trip’, Tillman added that ‘she’s looking forward to having a very long, hot bath, and then eating a lovely meal and a nice glass of wine’.

The sailor from Hampshire, England hadn’t sailed at all before 1990, but took to yachts and sailing in 1997 with her late husband, George, on the SV Nereida. After he lost his battle with cancer in 2003, Jeanne continued sailing. She later set her sights on completing solo and unassisted navigations.

Here’s a map showing Socrates’ initial route:


View this post on Instagram


Hopefully complete !

A post shared by Jeanne Socrates (@sv_nereida) on

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