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.

The gods are certainly with our senior yachtslady, Jeanne Socrates, 76, as she battles her way across the Tasman Sea to pass south of New Zealand.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Birds of a feather ... Jeanne keeps going unfalteringly on her 222nd day out in the wilds of the oceans, all alone but for ocean birds, and yet never a word from the courageous 76-year-old about how she wishes she could be home, safe and dry. Photo by Lalo on Unsplash
The Tasman is a wild sea. Very wild.

When I crossed it first I was an eight-year-old. With the family, I had sailed on the 20,000-ton Orontes from Tilbury, on the Thames, to Sydney, and hadn’t felt a hint of mal-de-mar for all those leagues of ocean.

We changed ships to a smaller liner for the Tasman crossing to Auckland.

The torture

Scarcely one day out, I learned about seasickness. I was certainly ill and so chronically that for many, many years I could hardly look upon a seascape without my stomach reminding me of the agony.

The memory of the torture took some overcoming when I returned to the sea as a young adult.

I competed in Royal Ocean Racing Club events and then a two-handed round Britain, and a singlehanded race to the Azores and back. When I circumnavigated to become a singlehanded Cape Horner, there I was on the Tasman again, a wild, wild Tasman, and yet when Jeanne is there, as she is now, it becomes a very different stretch of ocean.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Happy days ... Jeanne before the 76-year-old began this huge round-the-world voyage, all alone still on her 222nd day Out There.
She reported yesterday, ‘Sunday 6 am - Lovely sunny day with some scattered white cumulus. Wind from the west, up a little, so making around four knots.

‘10am: I heard it's Mother's Day in Australia. I think that's the second or third one I've been told about it this year?!


‘11:30 am: ‘Wind increased an hour or so ago - now up to 23kt. Trying to keep our speed down to five knots or just under - ironic! Have had to furl in the genoa to do so.

Winds are expected to build up to 30kt, gusting a lot higher, by Monday and then another system is coming along on Tuesday with eight-metre swells until Thursday.

‘The seas have built up - often seeing big 4-5 metre ones.

‘Bright sunshine still, with plenty of blue sky between the clouds. Seas rolling us around as we go up and over them and down the other side.

‘A magnificent wandering albatross with 'splashes' of white on its dark upper wings is soaring around astern and a few prions are fluttering and swooping nearby also.

A bright half moon

‘The birds love the strong winds – South Westerlies of 30 knots just now. We're making 5kt or more under genoa furled to the second reef mark.

'5pm: Almost dark. Not many clouds around and a bright half moon high up. Seas are knocking us around a lot and frequent big ones come crashing onto our beam and washing over the side decks.’

Jeanne reports that at the end of Day 221, she had made 93 nautical miles, distance made good over the 24 hr period - measured in a straight line between her two 1900 GMT positions. ‘Total distance covered from Victoria, British Columbia, to the end of Day 221 (by daily distance-made-good 19,062 nautical miles,' she reports.

Thanks very much for visiting the Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory

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