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.

Is our senior lady circumnavigator enjoying what must count as just about the toughest assignment anyone could embark upon, or is she enjoying a sightseeing study of remote places of the world that very few humans are lucky enough to experience?

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Magnificent Mo'orea ... One of the very attractive hotels on the beautiful island that Jeanne won't know about. Photo by Robert Preinfalk - own picture/de.wikipedia.org, CC BY 2.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1018293
Without a doubt, Jeanne Socrates's look at the world takes enormous courage, and continues to do so.

She sailed away from society 278 days ago to round Cape Horn - the equivalent of the climbing Everest to mariners - and to encircle the world on her own.

Think of what other 76-year-old ladies you know have been up to since the 3rd of November last year - 278 days ago, two days short of 40 weeks.

Brave, determined lady

Another amazing aspect of the amazing voyage is that the brave, determined lady continues to be ignored by the media.

After she left the New Zealand pause in Timaru harbour, a Google Alert in operation has found not one report of her astonishing performance, except an article by Katy Stickland in the excellent Sailing Monthly.

Today Jeanne approaches the island of Mo'orea, next to Tahiti, a stunningly beautiful part of the world that Captain Cook knew well. Is the determined lady planning a spot of sight-seeing?

Jeanne reports, 'Changed course slightly a short while ago to head a bit closer to Mo'orea.'

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Astonishing voyagers ... Possible migration routes of the Polynesians, reports Wikipedia. David Eccles (Gringer (talk)) [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)]
To see some of the gorgeous scenery - the most beautiful island in the world, says Frommer's travel guide - or to see evidence of the migration to ancient Polynesia?

Single-minded

Seems Jeanne's too single-minded for that. She hopes to use the leeward side of the island to repair a tear high up on the leech of the mainsail.

I based my novel, To Kill a God (Heinemann), on Captain Cook's voyaging to Polynesia, so for me especially it is almost inconceivable that anyone, and most of all a Brit, could be so close to that astonishing seafarer's islands and not have him in mind.

And nor the The Polynesia migration by canoe which found New Zealand probably around a thousand years ago.

Not a word about it from singleminded Jeanne.

She writes, 'Had a good nap and have just changed into shorts and T-shirt - Yay! I'm definitely feeling warm now and often turn on the small fan over the chart table.'

Am I lonely?

She praises the long-range radio which keeps her in contact which 'is so good for making contact with people!

'Tonight I was delighted to be able to chat to friends from two different boats - one of which I'd not seen for three years or more.'

She adds, 'I'm also chatting daily to amateur radio friends ... Am I lonely? Not at all!

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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