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.

Has our 76-year-old circumnavigator, Jeanne Socrates, actually thrown in the towel, and decided that enough really is enough?

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Surprising news ... Jeanne Socrates decides to go into a New Zealand harbour, but declines any assistance in the most hospitably country in the world.
Jeanne, sailing alone around the world via Cape Horn, began the home run of her from the Southern Ocean up through the Roaring Forties back to her starting point, the US's British Columbia.

But, rather oddly after rounding New Zealand's Stewart Island, she followed surprisingly closely the coastline of the southern part of the South Island.

A surprise

And then she announced suddenly that she would go into a port to … well, sort herself out.

For a circumnavigator who wants to complete the voyage at sea and unaided, to go into a port is at the very least a surprise. A further surprise was that the very courageous lady should choose Oamaru's little harbour for a safe haven.

Warned in time

Fortunately, she was warned in time that Oamaru is no place for an ocean-going yacht with a deep keel.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
A safe harbour ... Jeanne learns in good time that Timar is a more suitable port for her than little Oamaru.
Later the news showed that our very brave lady had chosen Timaru for a landfall. Timaru's harbour is certainly quite a lot larger and well able to cater for her yacht.

Apparently, Jeanne made it clear to harbour authorities that she wanted to arrive without assistance.

Then, quite mysteriously, a local harbour worker addressed the media as if he might be an authority on singlehanded circumnavigation, telling them circumnavigation rules allow her to go alongside in port, but not to accept any assistance.

Whether such an unlikely rule really exists or not, Jeanne's decision to enter an unknown port without assistance certainly required considerable inner strength.

Perhaps to chance all her aims by entering - and to enter a strange harbour alone - might have required as much determination as it took to sail off into the Southern Ocean's wide blue yonder, as she did back on 3rd October last year when her circumnavigation began.

Has Timaru ended her hopes?

She will know better than anyone else if in fact Timaru has put paid to her hopes to be the oldest woman to sail solo ​​nonstop​ ​unassisted around the world​, and the first of her gender to achieve it nonstop unassisted around the world from North America.

Now she is moored to a jetty and will have learned, probably within moments of arrival, that if there's one thing that abounds in that southern paradise – God's Own – it is fresh food. Will she shun it?

The other necessity that must be in the utterly urgent category is a skilled nautical tradesman or two for the damaged electronics. Could she really say no thanks to fine local jokers, aw, certificated in the work, you know?

Has Jeanne the superhuman iron will to continue unhelped with perhaps the world's most hospitable people just an arm's length away, and almost desperate to help?

Watch this space, as they say ….

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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