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 is that amazing lady of 76 doing out there on her own, sailing the loneliest seas on earth, and right around our planet?

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
An ocean-going wave ... Smiling Jeanne seemingly relaxed a few days before her astonishing adventure began.
Jeanne Socrates seems to be going really well even though she has been without company - not even a chat over the fence to a neighbour - since sailing off into the Pacific from America's British Columbia.

She's not experienced a walk on terra firma, to the bus stop or a corner shop, since 3rd October. Now it's the northern Summer - at least occasionally.

It takes some accepting that the last time she shared the company of other humans is that very long stretch before Christmas.

Few women have braved the adventure

Solo circumnavigations by men have not been so uncommon over the years, but few women have braved the adventure, and certainly none anywhere near Jeanne's age.

Yes, 76, which is quite amazing when you compare Jeanne's adventure with the life of most 76-year-olds.

How many times since 3rd October has the average 76-year-old gone shopping, visited the grandchildren, been taken for a drive with the family, chatted with how many dozen friends and acquaintances, watched television, gone to the films?

It's true that the good sailor did pause in a very unusual way for circumnavigators.

She was guided into New Zealand's Timaru harbour, permitted to virtually hang off a wharf, declining all help and acts of hospitality, apparently - and doubtlessly scores of home-made hospitality cakes - so that she could affect some repairs and yet still be considered 'unassisted'.

Truly remarkable

Whether the respite won't mar her aspirations remains to be seen.

Even so, her performance is extraordinary, and really remarkable for any human, let alone one of elder, bus-pass status.

Jeanne is north-east of New Zealand at 34˚6'S x 166˚30'W, seemingly well clear of the bitter conditions of the Roaring Forties.

'With the cabin temperature reaching just over 20C, I've removed two top fleece layers and a thick lower one - at last!' Jeanne reports.

'Nice to have less thicknesses on. Not such a Michelin man now.'

Jeanne reports that the wind has been gusting at 35 knots. 'Very difficult moving around or doing anything with big seas on the beam banging into us and rolling us around.'

'Decks were frequently under water - toerails especially were often well awash as seas came onto us and heeled us over.'

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly 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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