Amateur Radio is Aboard during Attempt to Become Oldest Circumnavigator
Jeanne Socrates, VE0JS/KC2IOV, is used to solitude. The lone 76-year-old yachtswoman passed the southern tip of Africa — some 300 miles to the north — on Valentine’s Day as she forged on toward Australia and New Zealand in her 38-foot sailing vessel Nereida. While underway, Socrates keeps in touch with a community of friends via Amateur Radio — although she had to yield to the ARRL International DX CW activity over the weekend — and she’s sticking to a schedule of 7.160 MHz at 0230 UTC daily. Socrates reported making contact with some ham radio friends on the US west coast on February 17. She’s been blogging her progress.
The retired math teacher and UK native also is no stranger to circumnavigating the globe, having already become the oldest woman to complete a solo, non-stop, unassisted round-the-world voyage. Ham radio served as her link to terra firma during her earlier adventures. Since 2013, she’s made two additional attempts to become the oldest person to circumnavigate Earth, the goal she’s now attempting to achieve. She departed Vancouver, British Columbia, last October.
Two earlier attempts were cut short when her vessel was damaged in rough seas. Then, she suffered serious injuries in a fall last year.
Socrates is working around a damaged mainsail. “We seem to be having many more days of light wind giving slow speed, than stronger wind giving good speed — need a wind of well over 15 knots and, preferably, for us to be headed downwind. Any upwind travel immediately gives poor boat speed — that’s when the damaged mainsail is badly missed,” she recounted in a recent blog entry. She’s been using the vessel’s trisail — typically used for high-wind conditions — because the Nereida’s mainsail repair was showing signs that it might not hold up in the wind. Socrates said she'll continue to work on the mainsail as time permits. — Thanks to Southgate Amateur Radio News for some information