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.

Lone circumnavigator Jeanne Socrates battles on with her two big world record attempts and seems in good spirits in the Roaring Forties, now on the tempting African side of the Greenwich Meridian.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Jeanne's published logs tell of the weather, sail changes, and of course more of the weather. She sails currently in an area famous for strong Westerlies, the Roaring Forties, as the name tells.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Temptation ... The human spirit might be best able to cope with solitariness when temptation lies thousands of leagues away. For Jeanne, it is closing in with every nautical mile. Photo by Mitchel Lensink on Unsplash

However, the wind seems not to be obliging and that's likely to add greatly to the real challenge that Jeanne will be facing soon.

She notes a recent surprisingly long sleep, which suggests her sailing is not exactly demanding at the moment.

And that's not likely to help the lady with the real problem lying just a little beyond the horizon - Temptation.

She and her yacht Nereida are getting closer to the African coast every minute. If she remains at 40˚, then at least she won't see Africa.

Pleasures, delights, hospitality

However, radio signals will be strong, and the pleasures, delights, hospitality, companionship and the area's fabulous scenery - which the eyes must welcome after all this time at sea - will be temptingly close.

Her bid is to be the oldest woman to sail solo ​​nonstop​ ​unassisted around the world​, and the first woman to sail solo nonstop unassisted around the world from North America.

To achieve that, she has to remain in the Southern Ocean and the Roaring Forties till her left turn, to port, after Australia, still a very long way off.

Then follows an enormous stretch up the South Pacific, then North Pacific.

But humanity, a very sophisticated society - albeit surrounded by appalling poverty and circumstances of the modernday Cape - will soon be just over the horizon. And Jeanne knows well the astonishing hospitality that the Cape offers long-distance yachting folk.

... not to give into a pause at the Royal Cape Yacht Club will require superhuman determination. Soon she will have to choose - more ocean, gales, storms, gloom, or the unmatchable hospitality of a big city full of sailing fans.
She visited the Cape in 2009 and remembers, 'Rigging and other problems forced me in to Cape Town and this turned into a three-month stop for an engine replacement with improved installation details.'

As a singlehanded circumnavigator myself, I'd say not to give into a pause at the Royal Cape Yacht Club will require superhuman determination.

Soon she will have the choice of more ocean, gales, storms, gloom, or the unmatchable hospitality of a big city full of sailing fans.

Jeanne's position in the Roaring Forties, which is anything but roaring at the moment, this morning was 40˚ 28'S x 003˚ 20'E . Cape Town, at 34˚S x 18˚East is very close, and will be getting very much closer every day.

She wrote in her blog this afternoon, 'We're in the expected high pressure area with its light winds. Going to be a frustrating day or two!'

Jeanne will certainly earn saint status if she isn't already pondering on the pleasures of the Cape.

Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.

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