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.

The extraordinary lady sailor Jeanne Socrates, a mere 77-year-old, has come to the end of here astonishing lonesome voyage right round the world, 336 day out there without so much as seeing another human in all that time ... almost.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Adventurous sailor ... Jeanne Socrates, far from this Alaska scene of hers, is only a few miles from home ... but where is the wind to get her there?
She was a mere 80 miles away yesterday, much less than a normal day's sail.

Yet thanks to cruel Fate and a disobliging wind, she is still a little under 20 miles away from the finishing mark in Victoria, British Columbia.

20 miles!

Twenty miles! Most of us could row that distant in probably no more than three hours.

Jeanne's ambition to be the oldest woman to sail solo ​​nonstop​ ​unassisted around the world​, and the first of her gender to sail solo nonstop unassisted around the world from North America is about to be realised.

I know the frustration you must feel for when I came to the end of my solo circumnavigation, hungry for the sight of the South Coast and the entrance into Plymouth, thick fog descended.


Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Magical and alluring ... The notorious promontory thrusting into the Southern Ocean that is a magnet for the seafaring adventurous.
Just to spot the foremast of Spirit of Pentax from the cockpit took some straining.

The non-sighting

I'll never forget the sight, or the non-sighting of the English coast then.

Should amnesia take a hold, my book of the voyage, Loner (Hodder and Stoughton) is here to remind me ...

Fog, thick, but I think I know where we are. I can feel a population nearby. Soon I'll be back in civilisation.
Dawn chorus, wind in tall green trees, grass and wildflowers. People. I'll be able to go to Boots in the morning, to become urban man.
I'll smile at the assistant and pick up a deodorant from the choice of exactly 117 types. Yes, I'll be back in the world.

However, credit to patient round-the-worlder Jeanne. She signals as calmly as the disobliging elements, 'Very light wind all day and night... mostly just drifting, becalmed much of the time.'

Notorious Roaring Forties

Jeanne left British Columbia at the beginning of October and has been out there - mostly down in the notorious Roaring Forties - for all that extraordinary time.

For neighbours, there have been whales, albatrosses, and all manner of ocean dwellers, many of which will never have seen a human before.

With such a short distance to go, there can be little doubt that our UK maths teacher, presumably a Canadian citizen these days, will be back in the home port tomorrow.

Best of British, Jeanne! And the most wonderful of welcomes home ...

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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