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.

'Ahoy, sailing vessel, Nereida,' we might well shout if we encountered courageous Brit sailing star, Jeanne Socrates, in the Tasman as she approaches Stewart Island at the foot of the long streak of New Zealand tonight.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Life with some ocean waves ... Jeanne Socrates approaches Stewart Island, right where my yacht was trapped in a fog-filled calm and beached, and rescued by a near-miracle.
Hailing her from the deck might be just about the only sure way of contacting Jeanne, 76, had tonight happened at the time I was sailing towards Cape Horn alone.

Of course, had the windmill on the stern of the schooner put enough charge into the batteries, VHF might well have worked.

Surrounded by sharks

(It was VHF that saved my life and the life of my lady shipmate in a shark-surrounded liferaft near the Roaring Forties on another voyage, so I'm certainly not knocking VHF.)

Jeanne is attempting to win records as the oldest woman to sail solo ​​nonstop​ ​unassisted around the world​. She wants, too, to be the first woman to sail solo nonstop unassisted around the world from North America. That very brave lady has been out there alone in the watery wilderness for 220 days.

I felt it was time to signal the admiration of this blogger and followers of the blog. I tried to send the message via the email address given on an amateur radio site.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Life's but a spec on a great ocean ... Jeanne Socrates closes Stewart Island, south of New Zealand, where a powerful tide dragged Paul's yacht aground in thick fog.
That didn't work, but a contact address on her website seems to have done it, or at least hasn't been rejected.

A foggy pea-souper

I wanted to send her a 'Take care' message because when I was close to her position on my circumnavigation, I found myself suddenly wrapped in a thick peasouper of a fog.

The wind dropped. Spirit of Pentax bobbed around for several hours.

Suddenly, a mighty wallop resounded through the 12-foot keel. The schooner had been caught in an invisible tide and swept onto an equally invisible beach.

A few minutes passed as I tried to assess the seemingly hopeless chances of survival. Then the fog lifted a little, and a fishing trawler hove into sight. I could hardly believe my eyes.

I told Jeanne, 'I called the trawler and within about ten minutes he had pulled me from the beach back into the water.

'Considering the yacht had a twelve feet deep keel, it was some tow. The good fellow refused to accept any money for the rescue.'

And that's just about where Jeanne is right now. Take care, Jeanne!

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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