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 schoolgirl somehow passed unchallenged through immigration, passports and security at an international airport here - a girl who was obviously a schoolgirl, I want to emphasise - and who looked decidedly Muslim at a time when recruiting by Islamic State was very much in the news.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Friends or enemies? ... Is it old-fashioned thinking to criticise those who would join the enemy for while? Photo by Kyle Smith on Unsplash
I understand she had no parents, not an adult with her, and yet was able to pass through to journey off to join Islamic State terrorists.

Now nearly four years later, aged 19, and the mother apparently of two dead children but with a fresh baby, wants to return ‘home’.

Who was Islamic State fighting? You and me, and just about the world.

Despicable act

In the education of my upbringing, in school, in scouts, in National Service training for Vietnam, her performance would be considered the stuff of traitors.

The most despicable act a man could be guilty of, we learned, was to side with the country’s enemies.

The only saving grace for this terrorists’ moll that liberal me can find in the scandal is that it replaced some of the Br-x-t ‘news’ we are overfilled with presently.

Those of us brought up to believe in loyalty, or allegiance, might think the fate for the girl could have been more as a target for one of America’s drone strikes than for acceptance here.

Probably the main reason for airing this appalling conundrum is worry over what our young Brits still at school will learn from it. Won’t it be that loyalty and allegiance belong to the past, to fogeys?

Just a temptation ...

If the young haven’t quite taken that interpretation yet, another story resurrecting in the news will encourage it.

I was born in Salisbury, so please forgive the fear that being a traitor is, well, just one of those temptations human have to deal with. Something that gets dismissed as, it happens.

A fat Ruskie did the dirty on his countrymen. Instead of censure, we rewarded him with a very pleasant life in a wonderful historic city. He gained a lovely home and lots of funds, a lifestyle than many, many Britons - faithful Britons - will never know.

How did his own double-crossed government discover the fellow’s address? Hopefully, it wasn’t through activity as a sort of double agent.

The result of attempts to pay him off was us giving him first-class travel to another safe location.

What lessons lie here for young Brits to grasp, I wonder. I find it astonishing and wonder how younger people can possibly deal with these moral opposites in modern life.

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

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