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.

It’s not the positive things that grandparents do that interests the population, it seems, but what Fate dishes out to them.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Yachting star ... Jeanne gets a wonderful coverage on Yachting Monthly, but seems ignored by most of the world's media.
It’s as if Fate is the copy taster – the selector of what gets published – and Fate has a strong bias about oldies.

Or so it seems. For instance, an oldie who actually did make the headlines in the last few days was remarkable Alf Smith who achieved …
an astonishing number years and now death.

111th birthday

What did the good fellow do to inspire people?

He certainly reached a staggering 111 years.

But, we might ask again, what did he do that earned him such public recognition? …

I certainly don’t mean nor want to decry Alf’s happy and very sad news, and - of course, an enormous gap exists between 111 and 76 - but Jeanne Socrates at 76 is certainly part of the oldie bracket.

She’s not doddering around the shops, shuffling unsteadily between the tv and the bathroom.

Jeanne is achieving almost the impossible for one of granny years, yet excites astonishingly little interest from the media, and scant news coverage.

The good lady is sailing alone around the world, a l o n e !, via Cape Horn. She should be back in her North American departure harbour probably by the end of the month.

She left on October 3. I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that equals 10 months of sailing alone, 24 hours a day, and virtually unhelped – give or take that brief breather in a New Zealand harbour.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Lonely sea and the sky ... Humans are seldom to be found in the Southern Ocean where amazing albatroses battle for survival.

And how has the media of the world responded? Yachting Monthly had an excellent piece by Katy Stickland about her.

The local paper in Canada has run a few stories, and another apparently appeared in a Californian paper but ‘for legal reasons’ we can’t see it in UK.

Extraordinary lady

Of course this extraordinary lady has been lauded many times on this Sailing to Purgatory blog site.

Oh, and she made a few sentences in the New Zealand media during her resting stopover in Timaru harbour.

I’m biased. I’ve acquired quite a few years. I was a journalist for half of my working life before circumnavigating alone to became a solo Cape Horner. Then I studied at nautical college to graduate as a Department of Trade commercial yachtmaster.

However, my old and well honed-up news sense accompanies a strong concern from what I see on London high streets. You don’t have to be cynical to assume that the average Brit oldie gives up just about as soon as the retirement party ends.

Is it because of the new whacky trends of politics, which must be mystifying to even the brightest citizen of whatever age? Or is it simply life, and our way of life, that appears to rob oldies of motivation?

In need of inspiration

They – most of us – are in need of inspiration, encouragement, and a reminder that an accumulation of years doesn’t mean a premature Final Curtain to our life stories.

The media, surely, should be encouraging the population to know they don’t have to give up, that there’s more to life than gluttony and tv.

Yachtswoman Jeanne is sailing on her own around the world, right around, through all the old wild spots that our own sailing ship mariners of old feared –
the Doldrums,
the Roaring Forties,
the Southern Ocean,
and in both directions, southwards and north
and of course notorious Cape Horn.

Currently she pauses in the Pacific as not one but two huge tropical revolving storms waddle by.

Good old Alf Smith received loads of media attention for simply existing, albeit for a very long time.

Jeanne, on the other hand, is achieving almost the impossible for one of granny years, yet excites astonishingly little interest from the media, and scant news coverage.

Could it be that there simply aren’t enough elders in society to make Jeanne very newsworthy?

Age UK reports that of we 66 million Brits,
nearly 12 million are 65 or more,
5.4 million people are 75 or more,
1.6 million are aged 85 or more, and
579,776 are 90 or more.

That – 18,580,000 - sounds like a tremendous number of readers who are being ignored.

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 and on Blogger,

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The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook and Blogger.

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