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.

How’s that amazing lady, Jeanne Socrates, doing on her own down there in the mighty Southern Ocean, and all alone for the 167th day?

This is the, well, elder with her heart set on two astonishing world titles, 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.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Lonely sea and the sky ... Jeanne photographs her neighbourhood, far from land in the Southern Ocean, midway between the continents of Africa and Australia.

And the 76-year-old has been alone on her 38-ft yacht, Nereida, since 3rd October.

She left the Pacific coast of the US, sailed down through the North then South Pacific, the into the very grown-up waters of the Southern Ocean and rounded notorious old Cape Horn.

Utter determination

Now’s she followed the Roaring Forties to South Africa, had the strength of mind – and utter determination – to keep sailing and is now nearly halfway across the oceanic gap between South Africa and Australia.

Will the temptation to be back in human company be too strong, and will she turn slightly North-East for very hospitable Freemantle and Perth?

The temptation must be there, at least in the back of her mind, and of course, every day she that she plots her position on a chart, she sees how much more alluringly close she is getting to complete and completely safe hospitality.

She knows it, but her logbook ignores it singlemindedly. It gets not a mention.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Half way across ... Jeanne's voyage on her yacht Nereida is half-way between devilishly attractive landmasses and the deep blue sea.

'Solitary white-chinned petrel soaring around nearby. Back with (self-steerer) Fred in charge of steering - nice and peaceful without the autopilot motor running.

'He's coping well downwind. Still making 4.5 knots ENE.

'An enormous Wandering albatross glided close by as I was on deck - white 'splashes' on its dark grey upper wings, white body (either a Snowy, Tristan or New Zealand albatross, my reference bird book tells me) ... Lovely to see...

Major risk

'Such large birds, but at major risk from long-liner fishing boats, especially illegal ones.

'It would be very sad if these wonderful birds became extinct simply due to a few fishermen's lack of care, as could well happen. Many of them are under threat, with their numbers plummeting due to being caught in the long liners' hooks.

'They mate for life and don't come to breeding maturity until they're over ten years old.

'0900: 2,303 nautical miles from both Cape Town and from Treeton in West Australia! Midway between.'

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

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