Woman's bid for sailing record

At the age of 69, Jeanne Socrates from Ealing is aiming to become the first woman to sail around the world alone, nonstop and unassisted.

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Round-the-world sailor beset by technical problems

Jeanne Socrates. Credit: ITN

The 70-year-old is putting a brave face on a host of technical issues, having had problems with wind instruments, her electronic compass and the autopilot rudder reference unit.

"Anything screwed or bolted tries to come undone with the constant motion," she said, admitting that - at times - she was "sailing by the seat of her pants".

She is judging the wind strength according to the traditional Beaufort Scale, a system that estimates wind speeds based on the conditions at sea, and dealing with her sails according to the boat's behaviour.

She said: "If we're heeling too much, it's time to reef down - simple! Telling the wind direction is no problem in daylight - I can read the ripples on the water - not a problem!"

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