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.

That round-the-world phenomenom, Jeanne Socrates, continues her voyage in the Roaring Forties proving she is a strong-minded gal at 76, even if no-one really doubted it.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Awards ... Back on land, Jeanne Socrates' long distance sailing was well admired and awarded.
Singlehanded, Jeanne, single-minded Jeanne, over the last few days has been facing one of the toughest human challenges for round-the-world sailors.

She rounded Cape Horn on her very unusual journey from the Pacific coast of the US, came close to the coast of the Falkland Islands before making some northing to return to less challenging seas.

And she has continued crossing from the South American side of the South Atlantic towards the African side.

Famous for hospitality

It was here - it is here - that Cape Town lies, a city famous for its wonderful hospitality for yachtsman, especially for singlehanded sailors. Jeanne knows for she visited the port for repairs a few years ago on another circumnavigation and spent rather longer onshore than intended.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
All ok? ... Jeanne checks the equipment before setting off alone.
Cape Town is that sort of place. The people there know how to make sailors welcome. They certainly know how to make a challenge of getting back out into the wild and perilous Southern Ocean.

It seemed very likely indeed that after 133 days at sea, Jeanne would be ready to put her feet up, to enjoy the Cape's famous red wine, and intoxicating company.

However, determined lady that she must be, Jeanne has not taken a left, not turned to the port side, towards that famous city.

Not a word about it

Perhaps helping to keep temptation away, her logbook contains no reference to the closeness of the companionable Cape.

Early this Valentine's Day morning, Jeanne noted, '4am: We passed S of Cape of Good Hope about one hour ago. Day just breaking - first light. Waypoint due South of Cape Agulhas is under 65 miles away, so should pass later today.

'Seas still big but well-spaced and not throwing us about quite so much, with very little surfing on a passing wave now, although still plenty of vigorous rocking around. Having to hold on carefully when moving around.'

Jeanne says she is trying to edge a little south of 40°South in the hope of finding stronger winds. The forecast, she reports, promises an approaching calm.

'The weather a few days ahead will make it difficult to make good progress.'

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

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