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.

Cape Town is brimful of tourists, South African holidaymakers, and squatters by the thousands yet is about to run out of water. Water for drinking, cooking, washing – all water.

At last - at last!- the local council has asked the government to declare the severe drought a national disaster.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Dried up ... An Australian perspective of the very serious Cape drought.
ABC News reports that the Cape province premier, Helen Zille, has written to South Africa President Jacob Zuma to say that the drought has escalated from a threat to an imminent crisis.

That ‘imminent crisis’ affects over three million residents and the great army of tourists, holidaymakers and squatters … and the dear lady has written to Zuma. As the expression goes, it could only happen in Africa.

That postal service

That’s what the report states. She has written. If the letter goes by South Africa’s postal service, the not-wildly-revered leader is unlikely to see it, not this side of Easter, anyway.

And the intended recipient is the very Mr Zuma who is present so often in the news, but not normally in the most flattering way.

I’ve just been visiting that beautiful city, and only on arrival discovered that I had chosen the scene of a pending disaster. It’s true that there are polite notices at the airport and in public places to remind visitors to go easy on the water.

However, the message for local ratepayers has been very much stronger, with steep fines ready for those who use too much.

Wikipedia says the drought began in 2015, but the council did little about supplying houses with water meters. The authorities therefore don’t have much idea about where the water is going, of who is using it carelessly, only that it is being used at a great rate.

Threat of fines

So in many ways, threatening to fine offending households has little meaning.

I came home last week and found how difficult it is to get out of the habit of being miserly with water. When I wash up after a meal, what joy now to rinse the plates and cutlery in fresh water. What pleasure to shower for more than a minute or two.

What joy to rinse the toothbrush in fresh water every time it’s used.

Yet how sad to think of those wonderful people in the Cape so really poorly looked governed. It’s often only after experiencing the most inefficient and worst of, er, democracy that one can appreciate our pretty efficient method of government, give or take, that is, of course.

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

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