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.

There I was blaming racial bigots for Britain’s coming Brexit suicide as I listened to author Michael Morpurgo’s anti-Brexiteer broadcast on Sunday, yet within an hour or so caught myself thinking just like an anti-common marketeer. Yikes!

Even worse, within the space of an hour, my natural reactions – if I might try to excuse myself that way – proved that a would be Brexiteer lay under this very skin.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Foggy thinking ... Caught out by initial reactions close to the Thames on a madly hot day. Photo by Piotr Gaertig on Unsplash

Admittedly it happened after a long walk beside the Thames in thirty degrees-plus on the way to meet up for coffee with an admired computer wizard, Zsolt.

He had suggested Park Café which he claimed lay opposite the famous Ham House.

Magic footpath

Easy to find, I assumed, even though Google Maps doubted the place’s existence.

I trod the magic footpath beside the river to the Teddington Lock footbridge, crossed the ancient river, expecting to see Park Café right there. It wasn’t. It can’t be hard to find, I assumed. A voice within prompted that if this ocean navigator found faraway Cape Horn with no more than a sextant, what sort of a challenge could a land-born venue be?

However, locals seemed not to know of it, though they suggested a ship-load of other anchorages nearby. Eventually, rather hot and bothered, your mystified navigator emerged onto a busy street as two buses roared passed at speed. Both carried adverts for higher learning addresses, and both ads seemed to promise London’s bright young souls the chance to really succeed.

Looking decidedly unBritish

Talk about a double take. The models in both advertisements looked decidedly unBritish.

And involuntarily – without thinking first - I was dwelling negatively on the markedly unBritish look of those future bright sparks. And just like most Brexiteers, I assume, the cerebral region immediately blamed the EU for flooding UK with people who look nothing like us.

A mental rapping of the knuckles followed almost immediately, I’m pleased to admit. And thankfully good sense reminded the self that I had seen it all before, decades ago when my address in Notting Hill then seemed surrounded suddenly by Caribbeans.

However, a few years on and the EU ushered in a flood of fair-haired blue-eyed Poles. Fate countering one with the other, it seemed, would maintain our traditional appearance.

Just as the humanitarian in me was re-establishing itself, your now weary observer had a second major Brexit-type shock … which (as this tale is getting rather long) this shameful fellow will relate tomorrow.

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

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