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.

Our very brave 77-year-old lady circumnavigator is nearly there, nearly home, but getting rather impatient with disobliging weather.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Wonderful when planned ... The pleasure of swimming is very different from the awful risk of going over the side for Jeanne as she completes her solo non-stop round-the-world voyage. Photo by Camila Cordeiro on Unsplash, with many thanks.
As if a maths teacher would ever show impatience, but Jeanne Socrates notes in Nereida's ship's log, 'ETA ... who knows?

'Totally dependent on winds coming up...'

Unlikely change

In perfect conditions, she notes, it would be just five or six days off ...

'But that is unlikely given present weather forecasts of the High in our way and then a Low developing near the coast.' As many of her pupils have probably said often enough, 'Can't do more than my best.'

And after an estimated 27,238 nautical miles, on this her 327th day of being alone out there on the Great Wide Open, she notes, 'I really want to finish! ASAP!'

Jeanne could be home by early next week, and yet - as with singlehanded sailing - her greatest danger will be present till just about the last moment until she finally steps off Nereida.

She adds, 'Making good speed but it won't last! Thin overcast (sky) - getting brighter.' Which she realises means the wind won't last, which means any speed is unlikely.

Jeanne could be home by early next week, and yet - as with singlehanded sailing - her greatest danger will be with her till just about the last moment.

Falling overboard remains the greatest risk.

Anywhere along the 27,238 miles, she could have tripped and fallen. The chances of her being able to clamber back on board would have been - and are - probably zero.

Eager to get home and concentrating on the pleasure and relaxation to come, Jeanne's concentration could very easily wander and make a tumble overboard likely.

To die that way must be beyond horrible, as so many British sailors back in the days of commercial sail discovered. So horrible, that it was common practice not to learn to swim.

The extreme risk

As I found with a young Chinese sailor on my last voyage, as I tell in Sailing to Purgatory, who knows how long a casualty might float while longing for rescue and yet knowing there is no chance of it.

I've not seen any mention of the extreme risk in Jeanne's blogs, but the danger is ever-present and makes her outstanding and courageous voyage even more astonishing.

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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