VICTORIA - The oldest female sailor to make a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe has finally reached her goal.
Seventy-year-old Jeanne Socrates set out from Victoria's Inner Harbour in her 11-metre cruiser Nereida on October 2012, and a note on her website says she returned to the harbour just before 3 a.m. Monday morning.
The pre-dawn arrival ended several days of anticipation as light winds along the west coast of British Columbia stalled her return, which was expected on July 5th.
Socrates, from London, Eng., has made two previous attempts to sail solo, non-stop, around the world.
The first ended in Cape Town, South Africa in 2009 and the second journey ended with damage to the boat in a storm off Cape Horn, at the southern tip of South America in January 2011.
The grandmother and retired teacher is raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care, a British program that provides free home nursing for terminally ill cancer patients. (CFAX, The Canadian Press)
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Know The Rules
Transport Canada has a different set of rules for pleasure crafts and non-pleasure crafts. You're likely to be on a pleasure craft. The rule that you will likely be most concerned about is the one that governs alcohol use on board. Like driving a car, the operator of a boat (not likely to be you) will face fines and possible imprisonment if driving while intoxicated. Also, in most provinces, alcohol may be legally consumed on board a pleasure craft only if: The vessel has permanent sleeping and cooking facilities; a permanent toilet; and is anchored or secured alongside a dock.
Know Your Limit
If you do drink while on the water, be sure to keep it in check. Stumbling around on dry land may land you face first on the pavement. Doing so on a boat will get you into a whole lot more trouble and danger. If you've never been on a boat, your sense of balance is likely to be wonky, even before you sip a beer. It's best to wait until you get your sea legs before you indulge, and if you find you have motion sickness, best not to drink or eat until your stomach settles.
You may not know how your body will react to the water until your captain raises anchor and drives off from the surety of the dock. If your stomach can't take the water, it's going to be one long cruise. Motion sickness is an awful thing to deal with. Bring Dramamine, or another motion sickness relief tablet, or see if your friends who are inviting you along carry some with them. Once motion sickness hits, it's not likely to go away fast.
You're not going to find shade once you drift away from the skyscrapers and the cool provided by branches of trees. The sun will beat down on you in the open water. It can be harsh and if you're not prepared you can burn or even suffer heat stroke. Bring the proper sunscreen lotion for your skin, along with enough towels and water to ensure you stay hydrated. If you think you might be on a long boat trip, it's also a good idea to bring along a bag with long-sleeved shirts and jeans, in case the weather shifts later in the day and becomes chilly.
A pleasure cruise in the harbour of your city or on a lake in cottage country is a hugely enjoyable activity, especially if you are in the company of friends. Relax, and remember that thousands and thousands of people partake in boating activities every summer in Canada with only very few accidents occurring. Your knees will feel wobbly, your head might swoon, your friends may laugh at your newbie missteps, but it's all part of the fun. And, like many new experiences, you are likely to discover something about life you didn't know before, and perhaps feel less like a fish out of water next time you're out at sea.
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