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.

Hat’s off to the cyclist who forgives bike thieves who snatched his dearly loved machine – though I’m surprised to see those words emerging from my keyboard.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Easy riders ... Cycling is great when you're doing just that. But when you stop and park ... that can be quite a different story. Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash
I know what it’s like to lose your bike that way. I despise the thieves.

You follow the recommendations: park in a busy place where there are lots of other bikes.

You lock it to an arm of the cycle parking structure.

But what fury, what disappointment, when you return a few minutes later to find it isn’t there any longer.

The cycle was gone

The Beeb tells of a cyclist, Josh Quigley, from Edinburgh, who stayed overnight in a London B and B and parked his bike in the street outside.

Josh planned to ride the bike round the world, as some really keen cyclists do, and which he had tried before. Only when he returned to the bike park in the morning, the cycle was gone.

He told reporter Hamish Mackay that he cycled 10,000 miles through 14 countries on his last trip, but didn’t complete the round-trip. He planned to now, only … suddenly, no bike.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Breaking the toughest ... The u-lock which usually keeps a bike safe can be beaten, as this Wikipedia photo proves. Thanks to David B. Gleason (mindfrieze) -, CC BY-SA 2.0, and to Wikipedia.
I recall my own anguish when my bike, ironically the only new bike I ever owned, vanished from a madly busy cycle parking area.

I tried to interest the police which these days is only possible online.

A shrug. Tough!

A couple of days later I received a shrug. Tough. They couldn’t help.

Bike theft seems almost a perfect trade.

And perhaps even more so, after Josh said, ‘The more I think about it, if somebody's stealing a bike then they're probably not in a good place in their life. Maybe they need it more than me.’

Oh, Josh. Well done for your well-meant tolerance. But perhaps it is a little over the top, for in London bike thieves carry bolt-cutters hidden neatly in tote bags.

They choose a bike, approach innocently enough, the bolt-cutter cuts, and they push the bike away as if it’s theirs.

Which in the metropolis seems to be the case.

Lucky Edinburgh cyclists. The attitude of their police is the opposite, with an active anti-bike theft policy. The other day, they grabbed and charged a fellow with 32 bikes in his home.

'We recognise it and understand'

‘We recognise and understand the impact bike theft has on Edinburgh's communities,’ an inspector said. ‘We continue to investigate all crimes of this nature thoroughly.’

What’s the answer to the curse here in London? Forget any help from the boys in blue. To keep my replacement (second-hand) bike safe, I must carry a great weighty bit of iron that clamps the bike to the parking steel.

It is a pain and awkward and almost, very nearly, puts me off the very healthy sport.

Thanks very much for visiting the Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory

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