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.

Trying to comprehend how a dribble’s weight of virus can terrify not just the populations of the mighty landmasses, the Americas, China and India, but all of the world, really challenges imagination.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Trust ... The annual flu jabs were administered, ouch, but who could have guessed in the autumn that something closer to a miracle was the real need. Photo by CDC on Unsplash
As a child, who didn’t suffer his (or her) first bout of flu and who hasn’t been sent to bed by it scores of times?

Throughout most of our lives, we’ve learned to accept its intrusion as not much more aggravating than parking tickets and lottery investments that fail, and temper tantrums of loved ones.

A bad name

Yet give a flu bug a bad name - like coronavirus, and covid-19 - and term the virus itself as ‘severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 - (SARS-CoV-2) – and suddenly it’s much more of a challenge to all of us, it seems, than Gorbachev, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Mao Zedong, all wrapped up into one.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
World challenger ... When you weigh up this threat to our species, well, you'll need very small scales. This photo also by CDC on Unsplash. Thanks to CDC and Unsplash.

How can that be? Some of the question is answered by New Yorker magazine, which compares it with the flu pandemic of 1918.

I had imagined that man against man – war - could destroy more of us than any bug. The first world war, 1914 to 1918, for instance, zapped the lives of 20 million.

Trench warfare

The religious might wonder how the progeny of Adam and Eve could inflict such trench warfare horror on their fellow beings.

And for that matter, they might wonder why God didn’t interfere.

However, in the last year of that crazy war, 1918, a flu epidemic – bugs in spit - slew between fifty and a hundred million people.

To comprehend the enormity of that toll of Nature against man, UK’s population is around 66.4 million, and about 30 million live in Australia and New Zealand.

It seems that the bug that slipped out of Wuhan, China, could destroy many more than any war if we don’t follow the dictates of respective governments, with ghastly social distancing and the like.


In a way it’s ironic that I recommend the New Yorker magazine article for a slightly better understanding of the horror that waits to nab us, for didn’t their country's fine, er, leader only recently deny the virus’s very existence?

Even so, if you have a few minutes to spare in your isolation, it is worth reading.

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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