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 look up on this gorgeous Summer’s day, enjoying the flying antics of a wide variety of birds seeking mates, food, perhaps inspiration, and yet not one of the shiny big birds of our jet-age world is to be seen.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Happier days ... Well before the Covid epidemic, pilot Aaron Rodgers introduces his family to the mysteries of an airline cockpit.
I live just a few miles from Heathrow and usually fleets of these magnificent machines fly over day and night.

Perhaps I ought to appreciate a possibly positive side of the current household imprisonment.

Cleaner air

I can breathe deeper and enjoy the the cleaner air. Yet who could relax in the madness of closing down the world because they – our lords and masters, perhaps – can’t think of an alternative?


Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Hibernation ... The airline magazine shows just a few of the airliners being prepared for hibernation. Each of those engines costs 25 million dollars.

Surely it’s close to insanity to shut in, imprison, people in their homes in these politically inspired lockdowns, to change the lifestyle of perhaps almost every one of our species – all 7,800,0000,000 of us.

Doesn’t that one dictate ensure the obesity and unfitness of at least the majority?

Stuck in our homes, we don’t see another colossally expensive side to it. Throughout the world, those huge aircraft that I usually see have been confined to barracks, too.

As Adam Thorn writes writes in Australian Aviation, these massively expensive aircraft can’t just be put in a corner to wait.

Maintenance is critical

‘The engines require specialised care … one A380 engine is worth about US$25 million. Maintaining them is critical.

In Australia alone, more than 200 Qantas aircraft, including Jetstar’s fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, are being quarantined. Multiply all those engines by 25 million dollars, and that’s just for the power to fly for one airline.

Reading of the dilemma left me worried for my gifted nephew, Aaron Rodgers, a highly experienced airline pilot, suddenly grounded and locked away at home.

He told me,

‘As a commercial pilot currently finding oneself working 1% of pre-Covid 19 levels, I find myself pondering the airline industry and its susceptibility to varying economic effects.

‘Midway through my career, with 20 years to go, I have already been subject to two economic crises (Sep 11 and GFC), although being in the military at the time I was insulated somewhat from the direct effects.

‘I was once told by a very senior pilot that I could expect to suffer from at least three recessions and lose my job to one at least once!

‘"Be prepared," he said. As I sit waiting the outcome of the Covid-19 world and whether I will have a flying job in 12 months’ time, I reflect on his advice and am thankful I have other qualifications and skills than just being a pilot.’

Best of luck, Aaron, and family, and very best of luck to all.

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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