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.

When you see someone standing on a bridge about to leap, you have a choice. Perhaps there are three choices even if the suicide feels the opposite. 1. We could say we agree with the intention and offer him a helping push.

2. You could just walk on by, pretending in that distinctive London way that you haven’t noticed.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Push? ... That's the question: let Fate take an uninterrupted course, or take action? Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

3. And you could stop and point out the good things – the advantages - of the alternative.

It seems to many, and it would be hard to disagree, that good old Britain stands on the brink, too.

Those opposed to our political suicide are often people of more mature years, many who remember well the second world war, and after the battles and the appalling fire bombings of German cities.

Extreme rationing

Nor are we likely to forget the extreme rationing that ruled into the early fifties.

Britain has its batch of noisy extroverts shouting about the advantages of, as they put it, going it alone.

In the war with Germany, we confronted (if I might put it like this) a violent nutter with a totally un-humanitarian approach to contemporary life.

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One of the great advantages - in human terms probably the greatest - of being united with Europe has been these years free of a European war.

Of course, our own hotheads are too young to remember or know of sirens and bomb shelters and excruciating rationing. And they seem too deafened by their own words to do much weighing up of what’s good for the majority.

Three points about the argument stood out for me yesterday. I’ll offer one here and two other personal experiences tomorrow, feelings that really surprised me.

The first came from Michael Morpurgo, arguing that it is time to think again. Here was a wise man, a gifted writer, a decorated Briton, and a first-class human, who left us in no doubt of the peril that the government seemingly wishes us not to know about, or hopes we'll ignore.

He told us via Radio 4, ‘It is surely time to accept that we have made a mistake, that whichever way we voted, things are not turning out the way we expected.’ His short talk is here.

Tomorrow: two experiences that sparked instant reactions within me and which really shocked me.

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

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