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.

I hurried down the stairs at the gym and ran into – almost – what seemed half of London’s future female population. A very long line of very young girls, society’ mothers of the 2030s, were filing into a grand auditorium.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Fit and ready ... Very keen young ladies appeared in the centre and set me pondering on a distant future. Photo from the Gym Club's Facebook page, and borrowed gratefully.
The virtual glimpse of those who in, say, 2035 will be the politicians, leaders, police, teachers, doctors, and of course, mothers, was an enormous surprise, coming as it did close to dawn and in a grown-up gym.

They were young, very young, and that was the greatest surprise of seeing the orderly very long march-past at Tolworth Recreation Centre.

Scores and scores of them walked along orderly, happily, as if they were all friends together, with surprisingly for humans, not the least sign of competition or animosity.

They seemed dressed in identical swim suits and each fashioned with a same present-day swept-back hairstyle. And each looked surprisingly well, surely a sign of truly caring parents.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
The path to fitness ... Just how keen these enthusiasts were for the gym came as a surprise, as was the astonishing number of them. It seemed a really good sign for the future. Many thanks to the Gym Club's Facebook page for this image of their youthful fans.

Was this a fashion show for post-toddlers, perhaps even the start of a strip show for junior primary pupils, I wondered, waiting for a break to get through the immense queue.

However, the column continued, on and on.

Plenty of time

The view and the delay offered plenty of time to dwell on where this army of very young ladies might be heading in life … and the unfairness of gender challenges that presumably they won’t know much about till they happen.

For these little girls, another seven or eight years will start what seems unfairly a much more arduous transformation that lads of their generation will never know. And then starting off the next generation often seems a happier pleasure for males, but rather the opposite for future mothers when it’s time for the unborn to arrive.

Watching the troupe marching into the hall, it was hard to overlook a further transformation they will experience beginning in, perhaps, forty or fifty years or so, menopause that male friends of these little marchers will be spared.

After the few minutes of the march-past - by what I learned were members of the Tolworth Gym Club – I recalled gratefully an old saying.

Probably these bright young things deserve to be forewarned of the waiting unfairness, but their smiles and obvious pleasure with life suggests the good sense at times like this of the saying, ignorance is bliss.

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 and on Blogger,

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The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook and Blogger.

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