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.

A few years under the belt often gives many of us a considerable feeling of superiority over the music tastes of young ears. Of course, naturally - and I hate to sound snobbish - the term music here is used loosely, v e r y.

The latest attack struck at the gym yesterday. I mean, the gym of all places! A gym where we all pay far too much to exercise beside strangers for the undoubted healthy advantage of breathing in their, well, expirations.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Junior biology ... The good ship Orontes which carried a vast number of families to faraway places. Many thanks to Ships and Harbours for this lovely old postcard of the SS Orontes.

This time the audio offence came from the gym speakers. The row they presumably believe to be music was turned up to full volume. This isn't just a grouch moaning. The sound was so thunderous I couldn't hear the sounds from my own Ipod (ex-eBay, 1st edition).

Please don't imagine I was indulging in Mantovani or what is sometimes politely referred to as light classics or easy listening. I use my three-quarter hour work-out visits for learning another language.

Taste terrorist

As I tried hard not to hear what some taste-terrorist seemed determined I should hear, I wondered about the effect of such tuneless stuff on the brains of future voters, of tomorrow's citizens and perhaps leaders.

Like many of us who had reached a certain age, I might have been shaking my head, hopefully not in time, at the gall of those able to string a few notes together and then sell the row as a tune and yet experience no pangs of conscience.

Just as I was enjoying this bout of superiority, my own conscience intervened. I pressed the treadmill's 'stop' button. I was recalling - with something like horror - my own young tastes, the utter awfulness that captured multiple young hearts and won the perpetrators fortune and fame.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Our poor ears ... They called them hits and 'Oh, Carol' certainly made its mark around the world. Thanks to Wikipedia for this Italian cover for the, er, Sedaka music. By Source, Fair use

Secrecy and shock

Once you start in this vein, at the gym, in the shower, or just about anywhere, something inside lets you down. Certainly that happens with me. I find the mind playing the notes of a fave rave of the time. When this happened in the gym yesterday, what a cause for secrecy and shock.

My mind had gone back to 1959, and I was entranced by one Neil Sedaka's, Oh, Carol. Oh, Paul, I thought. The song, to use a flattering term, began in my head with almost a warning, Oh, Carol, I am such a fool ...

We have to find a way to excuse these slips back, and the one that surfaced for me was the memory of what at the time probably was about the scariest moment in a young life, even it if did belong to a boy who had experienced bombings and air raid sirens and thunderous dashes to bomb shelters.

Far too old for me

I was eight, on board the ship that carried the family from war-ravaged Britain to about as far as earthlings could go then, New Zealand.

A little girl - aged nearly 9 which felt far too old for me - whispered, 'If you show me yours, I'll show you mine.'

Shock is certainly something of an understatement. The child in me turned and ran. And then after a few years, spent the rest of its life trying to find her again. Her name was Carol. Oh, Carol, I was such a fool ...

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

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