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.

How do you manage the month's big shop, buying the heavy things for the kitchen, tins, bags of fruit, a big economic packet of washing powder, milk, and four week's of spring water, when so-called justice has claimed your life savings?

Taxis, Uber or not, are certainly out of the question. The load, even for this solo householder, is too weighty and unmanageble for a London bus.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Changing gears ... A sister to my old dearly loved first car, a Buick Sports Roadster, six enormous cylinders of roaring power. Many thanks to the owner of this lovely old model on You Tube. Sorry, I can't read your language.

However, I've found the perfect answer: Zipcars. They are a sort of hire car, only they aren't kept in some central garage but are dotted about the London landscape. You have to become a member, committing to regular use. The price, like the idea, is encouraging: a little over a pound a week, plus insurance, naturally.

The larder looked decidedly Mother Hubbardish last night, so I went to the Zipcar website, booked a local car for a couple of hours for today.

Clicked unlocked

And at the appointed time this morning, I cycled the mile to the nearest car, a lusty Hyundai i30, put my membership card against the windscreen, and the doors clicked unlocked.

I jumped in and drove off, shopped at the great discount supermarket, Lidl, and then took a leisurely drive through the still very lush Surrey countryside.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Today's beauty ... Style seems to have changed over the last ninety years. This was the sporting model I enjoyed today ... the Hyundai, that is.

Today's outing cost £7 an hour, plus the price of the shopping, of course, and a great couple of hours answering the household needs and pleasing my eyes.

Since the days of the ambush and losing everything of value - perhaps most of all reputation - in the crooked, media-banned trial, I have lost touch with motoring advances.

But I noticed today that this smart Hyundai had six gears, and just about electronic everything. Of course, being of a certain age, memory couldn't help but take me back to cars from my yesteryear. I was 14 when I learned to drive - in a Bedford van with crash-gears.

That wonder machine

Then, and for the next couple of vehicles, to change gear meant to double-declutch, a term most young drivers don't know. Certainly, the Hyundai didn't need it.

My first car certainly did - a 1927 Buick Sport Roadster. Just to type the name takes me back to that wonder machine of tank dimensions. I've been told that the car is still to be seen in vintage car outings in New Zealand.

After the monthly big shop, I dropped the supplies off at the estate, and returned the car to its base. I put the membership card against the windscreen, and the car locked itself.

I walked - well, cycled - away and the usual motoring responsibilities of washing the car, fueling it, checking the oil, vacuuming out, constantly aware if not actually worrying about possible damage from passing traffic, and car thieves, lay increasingly far behind, too. Quite possibly one day the term car ownership will become as obscure as the vital technique of double-declutching from not so long ago, at least for many of us.

Thanks for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.

Zipcars in London

Search the site

Search the site

Where can I get Sailing to Purgatory? Sailing to Purgatory at Amazon | Sailing to Purgatory at Waterstones | Sailing to Purgatory at BookDepository
Try a chapter for free? | | | Facebook | @2purgatory | Blogger | © 2017 - 2020