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.

In a democracy we get out and vote whenever a poll is held, and I was certainly there queuing today for the poll to elect our representatives for the EU - even though Britain is almost certain to have left Europe within a few months.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Polling day indecision ... You're at the polling station and now you really have to decide who gets your X. Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash, and many thanks to both, and model.
It means, really, that the poll is an expensive waste of time, because the elected may attend one or maybe two gatherings of the EU parliament, and then no more

That's because it seems the UK government will eventually follow the wishes of a narrow majority and leave the union.

It most probably is a waste of time and almost certainly a waste of millions of pounds. Well, not probably, it seems.


BBC News reports that the estimated cost of taking part in the European Parliamentary elections has been given as up to £109m.

Of a waste of time, astoundingly more voters coincided with my arrival at the booth today than I have seen before on any other poll.

The summons to the neighbourhood station was to vote for the political party, or individual, of our choice.

One or two parties want to remain part of the EU. The majority of those on the form want a departure.

So there I was queueing.

Eventually a pleasant person issued me with the oddest voting paper I've seen. I took it to the appointed private area where, after wondering about it, I could tick - 'mark with an X and nothing but an X' - my choice. The voting paper was not quarto nor fullscap but more like the sort of rolled up script a town-crier carries in a film of medieval times.

Below all the political groups named on the form, came a countless - they seemed almost countless - list of individuals putting themselves up for nomination.

Very puzzling

That led me to speculate on what almost definitely will happen when UK withdraws. I mean, of course, more than the huge protest marches.
I confess never before would you have seen me - or not seen me behind the screen - scratching my head over the list.

I knew exactly who I want to win. What I couldn't fathom immediately was why so many people - so many chancers - would go through the routine to stand.

And try as I could to be unbiased about it, I simply can't accept they did it through a strong community spirit.

That led me to speculate on what would happen - well, almost definitely what will happen - when UK withdraws. I mean, of course, more than the huge protest marches.

Could it be that any sad cases who happen to be elected as independents will be compensated most handsomely for their loss of their new fat cheques?

I don't want to be cynical, but the longer I experience our very strange form of democracy, the more doubting I am left.

I searched the internet for an answer to the future of those we elect today when they are left jobless, but couldn't find a word on the subject. Perhaps it's just too 'normal' in politics to be considered news.

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly 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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