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.

Talented friend, Robert Graham, has a new poem which I've just uploaded to his website. It's feels as important to wintry life as Vitamin C, and this gifted poet is offering exactly the right dosage just when we need it.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Can Spring be far away? ... Winter must be doomed, surely, when crocuses put on their style in our gardens. Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash
Winter! January can leave you feeling so drab, but along comes February and just when it seems winter will never end, a few bulbs bow their way into our consciousness.

I was to meet up with another friend, Zsolt, today in a pleasant cafe that offers a very welcome coffee.

Plenty of time said the BBC forecast to cycle to Kew Bridge to Cafe Rouge, or to walk there beside that historic river before London is, er, blessed with another night of wretched wintry downpouring.

The heavens opened up

And yet it couldn't have been more inaccurate. As I was about to leave, the heavens opened up. No sense in getting soaked again this week.

Robert's poem arrived in the inbox this evening and somehow took away much of the wintry mood. It was a pleasure to code it and get the encouraging words onto healing gardens dot click.

I hope many readers here will find pleasure in his words, too. His site is here. I'm sure they will.

. . . . . . . . . .

Solo sailor Jeanne and real temptation...

Someone in mid-ocean certainly would, I'm sure. Circumnavigator Jeanne Socrates is progressing well through the Roaring Forties towards, well, eventually back to her beginning port on the Atlantic coast of the US.

As I mentioned on my last story about Jeanne, this very experienced 76-year-old wants 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.

Probably the greatest challenge at the moment to that crowning is Temptation.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Far from anywhere ... This is Jeanne's position tonight shown on a cloud map. Not so far away lies Temptation itself - very hospitable Cape Town.

Her position tonight is at 40° 27 S x 11° 39'E. She's all alone, of course, and plans to stay that way for some considerable time.

However, at 33° 55'S x 18°25' lies perhaps the most hospitable city in the world, whose population adores solo sailors.

Jeanne knows the city well and the hospitality. She was 800 miles away from temptation earlier this week when I first wondered about the extreme temptation of visiting the Cape.

Tonight, the distance is a mere 508 nautical miles and doubtlessly such a capable navigator will have recognised that.

A slight turn to her port is all that's needed and then in a few days she will be surrounded by admirers, in probably the most beautiful city in the world.

Will temptation win? Watch this space!

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

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