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.

Where can a fellow who aspires to write a blog find ideas that give birth to exciting accounts like, well, a sort of Treasure Island blog, or a blog in the Dr Zhivago vein, or maybe a smiling blog of a Don Quixote nature?

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Standy by to repel boarders... It's often a surprise that sailing yachts with their limited facilities attract women. Of course, this keen helmslady is not the enthusiastic visitor mentioned below. Photo by MAX LIBERTINE on Unsplash and many thanks for it.
Story-ideas surround us, many wise tutors claim. Wishful thinking, I say.

Take today. I was gardening in promisingly warm sunshine with a quizzical brow, pondering on the likely wellspring for tonight's account.

Lurking virus

Radio 4 news this morning offered only more of the dreaded virus lurking out there somewhere.

It means we brave Britons who will go to war at the drop of a politician’s bowler must hide in our homes behind locked doors until the Tubby One rules otherwise.

Perhaps that odd event could be tried with a nautical flavour.

What if landlubbers steal a vessel one night and head off to Somewhere Better. But at dawn, the lookout sees what they are up against.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
All clear, skipper... If the sea offered fine weather every day, sailing's appeal to the fairer gender might be easier to understand. Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash, gratefully used.
He shouts to the transfixed crew that the ship is surrounded by sea. Dear God, sea is water. Humans drown in water. The chubby captain orders everyone to their cabins and to lock the doors.

All Clear

When night returns, the watch can't see the sea and calls All Clear and relative normality resumes.

Pulling some thrusting weeds, I was dwelling on a phone chat this morning with an elderly friend.

Until retirement a long time ago, he held an important government post.

However, he had news for me. His university study was over and that would give him much more time, especially as he planned to retire from teaching which he had managed around the study.

Oh dear, I thought, is fantasy what a, well, maturing brain promises ... and returned to my uprooting of weeds.

The sunshine encouraged a memory from seafaring days. I was delivering a luxury yacht to Scandinavia from the Cape. The new owner wanted the yacht to call into Holland.

An attractive observer

In a popular yachting port, I berthed alongside for a night. Soon I noticed a decidedly attractive woman watching me from the jetty.

Could she come aboard, please, to be looking at the beautiful vessel? Without any prompting, suggestion or encouragement, she remained till the morning.

Even more anxious to know what this blog could tell, I began tearing down jungle-like ivy commandeering a high fence.

I was hacking the rampant ivy when I thought I heard a voice, a pleasant female voice with a gentle Dutch accent.

Holy wuhanitis! What a coincidence if this turns out to be that very person whose memory I've just been recalling.

The voice continued in the friendliest tone yet to a person she couldn’t see on my side of that property divider.

She knew the right note to touch, though, and the hidden Juliet lamented the lockdown madness. She works in a wine bar, only it's shut down by the plague craziness.

She couldn’t wait

She couldn’t wait, she said, to get back to pulling pints, or whatever the term is for topping up wine glasses.

After some minutes of hidden conversation, the disembodied voice said, ‘Ah, well, gotta go now.’

Ah, I thought, I could interview her for a possibly quite unusual article. Of course, the thought had arrived late, and I'd have to wait till the lockdown ends to find her.

Yet how will a wowser visit the area’s wine bars, eavesdropping on staff talk, but somehow not so much as sip from a glass of the poison, a temptation avoided now for two decades.

A problem. And in the meantime, what on earth am I going to write about for this, er, blog?

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,

Care to comment? You can contact Paul here ⇒⇒ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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