The gods are certainly with our senior yachtslady, Jeanne Socrates, 76, as she battles her way across the Tasman Sea to pass south of New Zealand.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Birds of a feather ... Jeanne keeps going unfalteringly on her 222nd day out in the wilds of the oceans, all alone but for ocean birds, and yet never a word from the courageous 76-year-old about how she wishes she could be home, safe and dry. Photo by Lalo on Unsplash
The Tasman is a wild sea. Very wild.

When I crossed it first I was an eight-year-old. With the family, I had sailed on the 20,000-ton Orontes from Tilbury, on the Thames, to Sydney, and hadn’t felt a hint of mal-de-mar for all those leagues of ocean.

We changed ships to a smaller liner for the Tasman crossing to Auckland.

The torture

Scarcely one day out, I learned about seasickness. I was certainly ill and so chronically that for many, many years I could hardly look upon a seascape without my stomach reminding me of the agony.

The memory of the torture took some overcoming when I returned to the sea as a young adult.

I competed in Royal Ocean Racing Club events and then a two-handed round Britain, and a singlehanded race to the Azores and back. When I circumnavigated to become a singlehanded Cape Horner, there I was on the Tasman again, a wild, wild Tasman, and yet when Jeanne is there, as she is now, it becomes a very different stretch of ocean.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Happy days ... Jeanne before the 76-year-old began this huge round-the-world voyage, all alone still on her 222nd day Out There.
She reported yesterday, ‘Sunday 6 am - Lovely sunny day with some scattered white cumulus. Wind from the west, up a little, so making around four knots.

‘10am: I heard it's Mother's Day in Australia. I think that's the second or third one I've been told about it this year?!


‘11:30 am: ‘Wind increased an hour or so ago - now up to 23kt. Trying to keep our speed down to five knots or just under - ironic! Have had to furl in the genoa to do so.

Winds are expected to build up to 30kt, gusting a lot higher, by Monday and then another system is coming along on Tuesday with eight-metre swells until Thursday.

‘The seas have built up - often seeing big 4-5 metre ones.

‘Bright sunshine still, with plenty of blue sky between the clouds. Seas rolling us around as we go up and over them and down the other side.

‘A magnificent wandering albatross with 'splashes' of white on its dark upper wings is soaring around astern and a few prions are fluttering and swooping nearby also.

A bright half moon

‘The birds love the strong winds – South Westerlies of 30 knots just now. We're making 5kt or more under genoa furled to the second reef mark.

'5pm: Almost dark. Not many clouds around and a bright half moon high up. Seas are knocking us around a lot and frequent big ones come crashing onto our beam and washing over the side decks.’

Jeanne reports that at the end of Day 221, she had made 93 nautical miles, distance made good over the 24 hr period - measured in a straight line between her two 1900 GMT positions. ‘Total distance covered from Victoria, British Columbia, to the end of Day 221 (by daily distance-made-good 19,062 nautical miles,' she reports.

Thanks very much for visiting the Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory

An earlier story of Jeanne

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