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.

Good news for booze-happy Britons who are advised today to go easy on their wholesale tippling. It’s easy to give up, and this from a fellow who drank a bottle of wine almost every night for … well, for about 20 years.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Cheers! ... Boozy Brits, reports The Guardian today. Here's a sure-fire way to kick that expensive habit.
Even when I sailed around the world to become a singlehanded Cape Horner, Spirit of Pentax was well-laden with bottles and cans.

I have to admit that at least one was opened almost every day, even in storms.

Now I’m a wowser and have been for, yes, twenty years again. But back in my journalism days – journalism daze perhaps – to drink lots every day was just normal.

Horrendous, self-harming

A supper break in Fleet Street, for instance, meant that just about all of the journalistic staff would meet at a corner pub, usually no more than a corner away.

Looking back, it seems horrendous, wasteful and self-harming.

And yet that’s what almost all of us did, following the drunken history of newspapermen before us since, well, almost since the trade was invented.

The good news for those who would like to give up, who ought to give up, follows. Regulars to this blog page will know of the ambush that left me in jail for eight years. I was visiting friends in Hampshire when a gang from the now-defunct customs department ambushed the house.

What a surprise to realise that I didn’t miss it for a moment - not in that first month, in the first year, nor in any of the eight years till dear friends who owned the ambushed home, Pat and Gerry, came to take me home.
I was taken straight into prison on a totally false charge of smuggling, which I believe the irresponsible agency soon realised.

A prisoner for eight years

However, they needed a 'smuggler' to convict an alleged drugs gang, and I remained a prisoner for eight years.

The cure for regular boozing happened thanks to the unconscionable ambushers. Being locked away means that enjoying a bottle of wine a day belongs suddenly to the past.

For all those years, there was no chance of tasting even a teaspoon of it.

Much more dominated my thinking, at least for the first few weeks.

However, when that complete change of circumstances gradually became my ‘normal’ life, I often recalled the, er, relaxation I would have been enjoying.

What a surprise

What a surprise, though, to realise that I didn’t miss it for a moment - not in that first month, in the first year, nor in any of the eight years till dear friends who owned the ambushed home, Pat and Gerry, came to take me home.

The state and crooked 'justice' (our envy of the world) had snatched my home, my yacht, my savings, everything. So actually Pat and Gerry came to take me to a friend’s where I would be lodging.

I couldn’t afford to start drinking again, that’s true, but the lesson for others is that I really felt no desire to.

In my experience, to give up the filthy habit, you need a distraction for a few days, and you could well be cured of what seems to me now as the craziest (and most expensive) and probably most harmful habit of a lifetime.

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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