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.

Farewell to a war and peacetime star, Vera Lynn, whose songs my mother was singing mentally if not out loud when I entered the world in a war-time bombing raid.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Winning the war and more ... The lady herself at the mike, not just winning fans, but in her own way, part of the war, too. Thanks to Wikipedia for this historic photograph.
My poor mother: no maternity wards and expert doctors for the civilian population at home back then.

Pregnant mothers in a neighbourhood helped each other.

It doesn’t pay to think too much about what help they had to give.

Bombs falling

Gratefully, I believe I was a fairly straight-forward birth.

With bombs falling and anti-aircraft guns booming, heaven help mothers and their amateur helpers with difficult births.

Vera Lynn’s songs were vitally important for troops facing frontline madness, but how important they were to the loved ones at home.

The singer’s passing today at the good old age of 103 is a necessary reminder that we aren’t here forever.

We might detest the locked-down rules of the moment – and not much might about it – but the passing of the megastar, that very important name in most of our lives, should remind us not to be too resentful.

If someone who has had such a positive effect on so many lives can die, then what about the rest of the most of us? It’s not very likely that we can avoid the departure lounge either.

Few last as long as Vera. We should make the most of it, of our time here, while we can, even if it means ridiculous masks and never feeling the beating of friends’ hearts up close.


A mega star goes … only where? Is it possible that after all we’ve learned on this planet, that all we have suffered, that the many talents we’ve acquired, that all that and more is simply thrown away with the belongings we no longer need?

It’s a question humans have pondered on – and worried and worry about – probably since Adam and Eve.

It’s a worry close to my heart, too, and naturally. I’ll be looking at that in the next article, er, blog here. I hope you’ll join me …

And thanks very much to you for visiting the mostly Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure writing. The blogs (as they call 'em) 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.

The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook.

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