Monday, February 25, 2019

Facing the irresistible lure of the sea

The anniversary of the highlight of what might rate as an overly-adventurous life happens this Wednesday. Twenty years ago to the very day, I landed at St Helena Island at the end of the 8,000 miles swallowing-the-anchor voyage of my professional yachtsman's life.
Although, as the name states, it was to be the retirement, the finish of the adventure side of a life packed with quite an assortment of sea dramas.
For instance, I'd spent eight days in a liferaft after the yacht I was delivering from Rio sank not far from the Roaring Forties.
A young woman and I were tormented by increasing schools of tiger sharks that seemed determined to have us.
The weather was very worrying, and the only vessel we ever saw was the container ship that blessedly rescued us.

Trapped underwater

On another voyage, a yacht I sailed solo was knocked down in a storm. I was trapped underwater in the rigging.
When it surfaced eventually, I drifted in what was left of the hulk for thirty days till I reached safety.
And yet nothing matched the crooked, man-made nightmare, the complete altering of life, that followed my very relieved landing at that island where Napoleon saw out his days.
Before the crooks in uniform had their way, life looked wonderful. I had fallen in love with a young yachtswoman who joined me as soon as I arrived on my final shore. And astonishingly to classical music-mad me, the lady turned out to be a concert pianist.

We were ambushed

However, what was to follow would defy the most imaginative crime writing. As we visited friends, we were ambushed. I think I can say it was the most frightening drama of my life.
Continues on the blogs for my ocean adventuring book, Sailing to Purgatory, at


Post a comment

<< Home