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.

Home is sailor Jeanne Socrates, home from the sea, well, all of the seas that lie in a circumnavigation of the world.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
World-record holder ... Jeanne Socrates sails into port after 339 days alone sailing round the world. An outstanding voyage for anyone - for a 77-year-old breath-taking.
And not just home, but back with the two goals she pursued, to be the oldest woman sailing alone around the world, and the first woman to sail solo non-stop unassisted around the world from North America.

Actually, she has achieved more – she’s the oldest human of either gender to become a singlehanded Cape Horner.

On dry land

She’s back on dry land, but not quite home yet for now it appears that she actually comes from UK, and not Canada - Lymington in Hampshire, apparently.

And yet, in spite of that Herculean achievement, she must be one of the least heralded ocean record-holders, which is extraordinarily emphasised by the BBC, which pushed her outstanding victory down to provincial news, and announced that extraordinary achievement to Hampshire and Isle of Wight readers.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Land Ho! ... Jeanne Socrates' last shot radio'd from the yacht shows the coast of Canada so close. Without a wind, though, so frustratingly far away.

Let this former Fleet Street journalist and singlehanded Cape Horner describe that her achievement as astonishing – and astonishingly downplayed.

Is it because the extraordinarily gifted Brit is a woman?

Ripped mainsail

Ironically for me, the beeb reports that her 38ft yacht, Nereida, suffered a ripped mainsail, during the voyage.

Ironic, because I suffered a torn mainsail on my 38-ft yacht, eM, partway up the Bay of Biscay on my last singlehanded voyage.

I had to turn back and yet was accused of smuggling, and sentenced to 19 years. All possessions and life-savings were claimed by the state.

(Fortunately, the sentence was eventually reduced to eight years and two weeks even though there was less chance of drugs being on that sadly missed yacht than on Jeanne’s.)

A mighty well done, Jeanne Socrates, for your truly outstanding achievement. Three hundred and 39 days alone, out there in the wildest oceans of the world, and this by a 77-year-old!

Hats off to Jeanne!!!

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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