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 work for yourself, how easy it is to forget that life might have changed, that what might be termed normal modern-day life is different.

I’ve just been treated to a refresher in normal modern-day ways by a trek today across London to a metropolitan hospital far removed from my normal territory.

Image of part of a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Alzheimer victim ... An old family shot of Peter (standing) before the illness struck, with brother Steve (far left), Peter, my father, my father's brother Tony, and brother Chris.
Full of humanitarian ideals, I offered this weary brain to experts for studies in the cause of ghastly, fashionable Alzheimer’s.

It's a truly horrible condition that I had thought stole my elder brother’s life a few weeks back. However, I have been corrected. His end came with Parkinson's.

The condition snuffed him out lingeringly, v e r y.

Mental oblivion

The slowness was ironic for a fellow who in his primary school days dispatched scores of chickens at such a remarkable speed, the victims, which he sold to neighbours at a 'good price', possibly never knew their time was up.

When I learned recently about a deeper scientific study of Alzheimer’s, believing it to have been Peter's killer, I knew I had to try to help.

Hopefully, what followed, the hours-long scanning of my grey-matter today and again in a couple of years - along with the brains of other volunteers - might help medics and scientists recognise better the modus operandi of this ghastly torturer and killer.

After the first long scan, lunch was announced and that brought a lesson about changes in modern day life.

Lunch in my days at sea as a sailing pro, and nowadays as a struggling scribe, is a twenty-minute necessity, a pleasurable necessity, after which one promptly returns to serious business.

A two-hour lunch

Today showed that it’s rather different out there in the real world. After the first scan, I was taken to a hospital restaurant and invited to enjoy its pleasures for two hours. Two hours?

I must have misheard surely, but a little over two hours later, I was collected and returned to the good intentions.

It certainly seemed that the highly qualified people in charge enjoyed a leisurely lunch, too. What a change to the modern-day working day, and for those people who need to be very aware, what a sensible change.

I learned something, too, about what seems to be a changed fashion in today’s working hours. To be certain of arriving politely in good time at that distant destination, I needed an early bus, probably one scheduled to be on the local stop not long after 7am.

It appeared eventually very much closer to 8am. Google Maps predicted the journey time as close to 40 minutes. It turned out to be more than an hour.

It’s destination stop was far from the beginning of the hospital bus’s first stop, almost two miles away. I was concerned about turning up late, so instead of waiting for an intermediate bus, I dashed madly from busless bus stop to busless bus stop.

Happily, the desired hospital bus arrived as I reached its beginning bus stop. That was a real help, but naturally, the clock can't be turned back. I dashed into the hospital, shock horror, five or six minutes late. This very apologetic fellow was ushered without any fuss into an empty reception room.

Twenty-five minutes later, the specialist strolled in. Care for a coffee? Me: Is there time? Specialist: Plenty.

Yes, life out there is very different.

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

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