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 wry smile can be forgiven when we hear our glorious political leaders talking of banning mobile phones in school.

Rather obviously our elected, er, elite, have somehow not noticed one of the basic laws about humans. Ask people not to do something, warn them of dangers, and you might persuade them away from pleasures.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Whe passion takes over ... If humans really want to do something, banning won't stop them. Photo by Mircea Iancu from Pexels, with thanks to both.

But absolutely forget about making a rule about it, unless you want to be certain that the command will be flaunted forever and ever.

Nothing, almost absolutely nothing, will encourage humans to do something more than banning it.

Remember the lesson about the era of prohibition? Did it stop our desire for liquor? Ho, ho.

Direst warnings

The first personal lesson stamped in my memory was when denim, jeans, became a trend. The direst warnings about denim, jeans, appeared in public all over the small town where I worked as a junior reporter.

Want to go to the dance, any dance? Don’t wear jeans. Jeans are banned at the dance. No admittance in jeans. The distaste, the loathing, that jeans inspired in parents in the days of that campaign was amazing.

Of course, naturally, all the young wore denims, even if you could only change into the material once you’d left the house.

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It was astonishing how clothes made of denim got up, as it were, the noses of organisers back then. And what did the ban achieve?

What are the majority wearing?

Get on a bus today, look at any high street, stroll through any shopping complex, and what are the majority wearing?

Not so long ago, I was the webmaster for a prominent high school’s website in London. In one way, fairly understandably, that school and just about all schools ruled against hoodies.

The hoody hatred became so strong, it seemed students daring to the flaunt the rule were likely to be taken out of the classroom and shot. What did the ban achieve? What do we see over the heads of people almost everywhere these days?

Remember we weren’t to smoke. Remember the dire warnings? It was only when Do Not became health advice against playing dragons that smoking lost popularity.

Doubtlessly smartphones, banned or not, will always be part of essential street equipment. But the attempts to ban them will absolutely assure it.

Perhaps our leaders didn’t learn from Prohibition. Look at the attitude over drugs. The prisons are full of people who will do what they want to.

Wikipedia reports that the number of drug ‘offenders in prison has increased twelvefold since 1980.

‘In 2000, 22 per cent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges.’

Anyone care to guess the likelihood of school pupils losing the passion for smartphones? Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.

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