After 320 days at sea, British sailor Jeanne Socrates, 77, arrived in Victoria, British Colombia, on Saturday, completing her latest circumnavigation and in the process becoming the oldest person ever to sail solo, nonstop around the world.
Prior to the voyage, Socrates was already the oldest woman to do so, as well as the first woman to sail solo, nonstop unassisted around the world from North America, titles earned during a 2013 circumnavigation. A second attempt in 2017 was abandoned in the preparation stage after an accident left Socrates with broken ribs and a broken neck.
In October of 2018, she set off again, ultimately persevering despite cyclones, a ripped mainsail, losing her solar panels and a steering system that was barely hanging on. The last 100 miles of her journey, she was becalmed. Friends and fans alike waited as her projected arrival was delayed again and again for five long days. When she finally arrived in-port, she was escorted by a flotilla of boats and greeted by hundreds of fans onshore.
In completing her voyage, Socrates unseated Minoru Saito as the oldest person to sail solo around the world. (Saito was 71 at the end of his 2005 circumnavigation.) Currently, both the oldest and youngest solo circumnavigators are women, with Dutch sailor Laura Dekker holding the latter title after completing her voyage at the age of 16.
For more on Jeanne and her historic voyage, click here.
Ed Note: The World Sailing Speed Record Council no longer ratifies “youngest/oldest” claims.