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.

You've got to hand it to the girl: solo yachtswoman Jeanne Socrates is doing amazingly well on her 173rd day away from humans, on her own.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
A smile of success ... Jeanne Socrates, not far from the Great Australian Bight now, has been on her own at sea for 173 days, and nights.
Jeanne is down in the Roaring Forties, almost-roaring herself in her smart yacht Nereida, towards Australia, south of Australia, and the notoriously stormy Great Australian Bight.

Look to the South, to where the sun is at noon, and very far that way plus a little to the left, there she is a few Southern Ocean swells (plus 7,100 miles) away.

It's easy to report that she has been at sea, on her own, for 173 days which is almost 25 weeks.

Rude awakenings

But then I think of all I have been doing in those 173 days, and invite you to weigh up much of what has monopolised your life since 3rd October last year.

Shopping, driving, walking, Christmas, New Years, being with friends, sleeping soundly without fear of a rude awakening - at least, most of the time, hopefully. Able to go to the doctor if necessary, with a hospital emergency ward usually nearby.

And for we in the Northern Hemisphere, that time includes Autumn, winter, really cold nights and freezing winds. Then, almost suddenly, the sun is back in our hemisphere, and signs of spring are springing up all around - daffs, poppies, blossoms, lawns reinvigorated, favourite shows in television, probably, perhaps even a film show.

However, for Jeanne, what has she seen in all that time? Only her smart yacht, and the sea, and the sky and day and night, and the occasional ocean dweller, feathered or scaled.

Hats off to Jeanne

I'm simplifying her present world, of course, but without any exaggeration, it certainly lacks all the diversions that fill our lives and fulfil them.

So hats off to Jeanne, that very, very determined and talented 76-year-old.

Keep going, dear lady, and you'll have those accolades you desire, 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.

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

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