Jeanne Socrates aboard Nereida after running aground and nearly being washed out to sea in Mexico, June 2008
“People in the boating world are normally so friendly and helpful to each other; it’s how humanity should be but mostly isn’t, it seems. I think being on a boat is the best possible way to be living life…I can’t think that I’d be happy being anywhere but on the water. I think once you’re bitten by the bug, you’ve had it. It’s very difficult to give it up.”
British sea queen Jeanne Socrates, 71, is one of the hardiest, saltiest people you’re likely to meet. In 1997, she and her husband took an early retirement and though neither of them had any real experience, decided to take on sailing. They bought and outfitted a Najad 361 (a 36-foot single-masted sloop), named her Nereida (“Sea Nymph,” of Greek and Spanish origin) and sailed from Sweden to the Caribbean. Sadly, while Nereida was being prepped for her next journey in 2003, Mr. Socrates lost a battle with cancer. This might have brought an end to the cruising days of many a widow or widower, but Mrs. Socrates had been badly bitten by the sailing bug, and her only rationale was to start sailing solo.
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