Sailing to Purgatory
The final scene in this true adventure shocked the author, too.

‘The reader will be enthralled as Paul, former Fleet Street journalist turned professional yachtmaster, takes us along on his ‘swallowing the anchor’ voyage, his retirement from the sea.

'This self-confessed newish ancient mariner … has spent almost a lifetime sailing solo, as both an ocean going competitive yachtsman, as a DoT Commercial Yachtmaster, and during his circumnavigation to become a singlehanded Cape Horner ... Sailing to Purgatory has all the roller coaster elements of a heart stopping adventure — drama on the high seas, observing life ... undersea volcanoes, a love interest, and waves high enough to scare the pants off most of us.’ - Brenda Vowden, journalist, avid reader

Home from the outside ... St Helenans,
'Saints', round their South Atlantic
island in Midshipman,
en route for Stockholm.

Enterprising forebears ... The house Paul's father designed, and the car his paternal grandfather designed and built.

Running repairs ... crewman Declan checks rig fittings on the superyacht, Midshipman, which Paul sailed from the Cape to Sweden.

Sail power ... Gavin's Howe's beautiful yacht in the Mediterranean.

Rescue in the Southern Ocean ... Yachting World's international edition this month features Paul and Captain Fantastic in its Great Seamanship series.

Pat and Gerry Adamson, two wonderful supporters get Spirit of Pentax ready for her circumnavigation.

Home sweet home ... St Helena islanders, after a voyage round their island home on the superyacht, Midshipman.

Baptism of a Cape Horner ... Lady Chichester names Spirit of Pentax in a ceremony at Brighton Marina.

Homeward Bound 2 is prepared for her attempt on the longest open boat record.

Tri trials ... testing Paul's entry in the singlehanded race across the Atlantic are great friends Ron Pell, Jerry Freeman plus a keen helper.

Cover up ... Bob Abrahams works on cover ideas for Sailing to Purgatory.

Stocking up for 18 months ... Last minute farewells before Spirit of Pentax and Paul left on the long route to become Cape Horners.

Death of a racer ... Baltic Wind flounders after running into a container in the South Atlantic. Paul and a lady shipmate spent eight worrying days in a liferaft.

Wondering where in the world courageous Jeanne Socrates, 76, and her yacht Nereida might be? The good lady is sailing at this minute into the notorious Roaring Forties, that's where, on the singlehander's latest attempt to sail round Cape Horn for a second time.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
South bound ... Jeanne's last few days pressing south for the Roaring Forties, en route to notorious Cape Horn.
She's just endured a series of calms but is underway again, and sliding into the region round the world that sobered experienced mariners back in the days of sailing ships.

Brave gal

They named it the Roaring Forties for a very good reason, as I learned on my way to and from the Horn.

However, brave gal that she is, Jeanne's latest blog entry tells of her work getting the yacht shipshape. 'Made good use of time while hove-to,' she writes in her latest blog.

'Moved some provisions into the galley area, checked my lashings around the mast and used the topping lift to raise the boom end some more.'

Weatherwise and experienced

Weatherwise and experienced mariner that she is, she reports that she has been repaired leaks in the cockpit windscreen.

Feeling cold now ... Dug out my really thick fleeces - I'll be needing those soon.

'We'll be having plenty of seas washing over them in the rough weather to come. I'm hoping to have stopped any leaks into the cockpit.'

The ship's log shows she is no newcomer to the heavy seas of the Southern Ocean, and leaves little to chance. Pouring over charts of the approach to the Horn itself, she found waypoints plotted on her previous rounding in December 2012.

Unlike most Brit circumnavigators, Jeanne began the voyage on America's Pacific coast which means that she is in the South Pacific now.

Likely to be fittest

Presumably, the advantage of sailing from there rather than Plymouth, on the South Coast, is that the very real challenge of Cape Horn is faced very early in the voyage when she is likely to be fittest and the yacht not too sorely tried.

The usual route, of course, means we sail through very serious seas south of Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, and then south of the Pacific via the Southern Ocean before reaching Cape Horn at about 60 degrees South.

'Feeling cold now,' she writes. 'Dug out my really thick fleeces - I'll be needing those soon.' Then, she says, she settled down to enjoy a thick, hot Clam Chowder.

Sorry to miss a blog or two this week, readers. Web problems, but hopefully all works well now. Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.

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