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 our glorious government leaders decided how dangerous booze was for we humans, we saw the era of Prohibition.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Down the drain ... A police raid in Canada back in the days of Prohibition. Interestingly, the crowd looks rather different in real-life than in Hollywood's depictions. Photo from Wikipedia and the Archives of Ontario, C.H.J. Snider fonds, Reference Code F 1194 S 15000, I0015265. - ville.montreal.qc.ca - archives de l' Ontario
What did Prohibition prove? It proved just how inventive humans can be when they are denied a pleasure, both those denied the seeming pleasure and those keen to make a fortune from the new demand.

Wikipedia puts it this way, 'After several years, prohibition failed in North America and elsewhere.

'Rum-running or bootlegging became widespread, and organised crime took control of the distribution of alcohol.

Prohibition dodgers

'Distilleries and breweries in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean flourished as their products were either consumed by visiting Americans or illegally exported to the United States.'

'Chicago became notorious as a haven for Prohibition dodgers during the time known as the Roaring Twenties. Prohibition generally came to an end in the late 1920s or early 1930s in most of North America and Europe ...'

Prohibition ended and adults returned to the places where drinks are served. In spite of the grim warnings, society did not break down and marriage still remained popular.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Back on the front page ... The Times gives establishment's message as the old County Lines hack is resurrected. At least it gives readers a break from another dilemma, the brexit madness.
Perhaps Prohibition only ever worked for politicians wanting control over society, and law enforcement.

Of course, there can be no denying that government has only to deny something humans want, and if law-abiding companies can't provide it, illegal organisations certainly will ... and very lucratively.

The appalling Tricky Dicky realised that only too well and was quick to introduce the idea of drugs as the new forbidden fruit for control.

Every reporter's desire

I've mentioned here before that it became the new hot news in my young journalism days. Write about abuse by drugs and the story was bound to make page one, every reporter's desire.

But later on, thankfully, I wondered about the rush for drugs that in reality I never saw.

The story we were told, that society 'learned', was the harm caused by people who indulged in drugtaking.

I discovered that Nepal's leader didn't agree. Very keen to learn if the promised virtual end of society looked likely, I travelled to Katmandu and other towns in Nepal to learn.

I found that cafes, both smart and modest, offered drugs over the counter. Hash cookies on display went well with coffee, apparently, and if you wanted something stiff to take back to your accommodation, shops very similar to chemist shops, offered the pure stuff.

Katmandu was full of American tourists, of course, and they just about packed the cafes. Did I witness the trouble we are warned about when humans take drugs? Not once.

Spotting drunks

And in my own city, spotting drunks was not exactly hard to do. It seems strange from all we are told, but I saw nothing like that at all in Nepal.

The old story about 'county lines' is back in the news here today. Shock, horror! Gangs are employing young people to deliver drugs to the provinces.

But the authorities don't ask why there's seemingly such a demand in the countryside as well as the cities. Could it be that humans will find a way to get what they want, no matter what authority forbids?

Possibly authorities might gloat that the unlawful behaviour at least costs drug users a lot of money. But who gets the profit? The State gets only the bill for attempting to enforce the unenforceable. It's the gangs that make the fortune.

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

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