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.

Perhaps one of the most aggravating agonies of the current lockdown is the challenge to fitness.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Exercising the rights ... Getting to the gym is not a problem in many countries. Not so in Britain, though. Photo by Stephanie Greene on Unsplash.
Being and staying fit was comparatively simple before.

I have a gym in the neighbourhood, lucky me. It’s just 10 minutes’ walk away, three or four minutes’ by bike.


It encouraged a useful routine.

Leap out of bed at the crack of dawn - and a little before in the winter - and do about 20 minutes of exercising.

I think it's termed ‘stretching exercises’ and is just about the same routine I kept strictly to during the eight appalling years of totally unjust imprisonment – the work of a crooked prosecution.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Fit for fun ... to enjoy a good life, people need to be fit like these ladies. However, our glorious leaders don't seem to give it any importance. Photo by Stephanie Greene on Unsplash.

The prisons were full back then, early in the century, but not as packed as we hear of today, thankfully. But for one or two grumpy uniforms, I wasn’t discouraged from dawn workouts.

Here, these days in COVID lockdown, I can follow the home side of the exercises, more or less, whatever I want to. But there’s the rub.

Outdoors, where the world and everyone else is to be found, remains out of bounds, more or less according to the government’s dictates – at least for those of us not classified as ‘advisors’.

Before, my exercise regime would be followed by a brisk ride to the local gym and a workout of about 45 minutes. Four times a week.

My moan is not just that it assured we amateur gymnasts that we were staying fit, the routine provided a psychological advantage to the adversities of the day.

A hidden challenge

Well, it was a positive routine and that felt good, even if it rather restricted night-time plans.

This is a hidden challenge that comes with the government dictates. Our, er, glorious leaders were very slow to get it going, and are proving tardy in giving up control.

There’s a psychological aspect to the changed circumstances, too. I’m not familiar enough with the intriguing subject to quite understand why, but now leaping from bed to perform gymnastics has become much less simple.

Instead, a sort of creativity gets exercised – listing reasons why I can’t be bothered doing it this morning.

Increased weight is the mocking of the bathroom scales. It’s not much extra, but it’s quite enough to rankle.

Wonderful rambles

Long-ish walks have been added to the discipline – almost nightly – and although my initials aren’t 'DC', I’ve been able to get away with some wonderful rambles over the nearby countryside.

The sooner the madness ends - the queuing so we can spend money to buy food, and keeping shut the mind-gyms, the libraries, and our gyms for the bodies - the happier we’ll all have reason to be.

And the fitter - and healthier - we can become ...

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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