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.

Will the protests in Hong Kong and the vandalising of the legislative council HQ provoke a military intervention by China, to attempt to subdue the once British-controlled region?

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
The people protest ... Hong Kong will have learned from Britons what to do when you're not happy with government decisions. Many thanks to Wikipedia for the image, 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests. Studio Incendo [CC BY 2.0 (]
It was just 23 years ago that UK gave up the territory to China, and 23 years is not really long enough for locals to forget about the benefits of Britain and democracy.

And Hong Kong citizens weren’t required to forego their English ways because China did agree to guarantee Hong Kong's economic and political systems for 50 years after the transfer – you’ll know the phrase, ‘one country, two systems’.

Onto the streets

Like Brits back home, the locals know that if you resent something badly enough, or fear a likely move by government, get out onto the streets and make your ill-feelings known.

Which of course, the ex-colonials did this weekend.

Not so very long ago, from a historical point of view, transfer of ownership of a country would be performed by the military, with no reference to local opinion.

Locals would do as they were ordered, or be shot. Often, it seems, they were shot anyway.

One of our great thinkers, Samuel Johnson – ‘Dr Johnson’ – had strong condemnation to offer when Britain argued over another island, Falklands.

One of his most powerful pieces of writing is a 1771 pamphlet entitled Thoughts on the Late Transactions Respecting Falkland's Islands.

In the Seven Years War, for every man who died in battle, an incredible total of 88 died of disease.’
This is recalled today in an extract in, the daily email with interesting and topical extracts. This morning’s comes from Leo Damrosch’s The Club, (published by Yale University).

'A crisis had flared up between Britain and Spain over that small archipelago, three hundred miles off the coast of Argentina', writes Leo Damrosch.

No possible benefit to Britain

Johnson argued convincingly that the island, ‘the barren territory’ could produce nothing of value and had no possible benefit to Britain.

Should China contemplate putting an army into Hong Kong to end rebellion, let its soldiers read Dr Johnson’s history.

‘It is wonderful with what coolness and indifference the greater part of mankind see war commenced. … The life of a modern soldier is ill represented by heroic fiction. …

‘War has means of destruction more formidable than the cannon and the sword. Of the thousands and ten thousands that perished in our late contests with France and Spain, a very small part ever felt the stroke of an enemy; the rest languished in tents and ships, amidst damps and putrefaction; pale, torpid, spiritless, and helpless; gasping and groan¬ing, unpitied among men made obdurate by long continuance of hopeless misery; and were at last whelmed in pits, or heaved into the ocean, without notice and without remembrance…

Leo Damrosch offers this astonishing statistic: ‘In an era when there was no effective defence against infectious disease, the toll among soldiers could be staggering.

'In the Seven Years War, for every man who died in battle, an incredible total of 88 died of disease.’

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