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.

Offer the word 'cruise' to me and I think enviously, nostalgically, of sailing on a yacht on an ocean, most of them, in fact, as I did very happily, and very satisfyingly for so many years of my life.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Anyone remember the, er, lockdown? ... Another feast anyone, and you must have more champers. Home must seem far off on a cruise, though - sadly - it's cruises themselves that are rather far off. Many thanks to Norwegian Cruise Line for the reminder of a very different world.
However, for most friends and more than likely for most of the population, cruising is about monstrous ships and relaxation.

And it's of dressing up for dinner and enjoying boozy shipboard society and occasionally perhaps even peering out at vast oceans.

For ship-owners, however, the closedown of public life of most populations conjures up a very different picture.

I experienced big ship interpretation of cruising as a child when my parents emigrated to New Zealand. 'Migrated,' my grandmother would correct me. 'We paid for the fares ourselves.'

The ship was the good ship Orontes, 20,000 tons, and to a child a mighty vessel when seen from the deck, and a vast, gigantic cave when viewed below. She seemed huge, more monstrous than huge.

... most of the cruising fleet are moored in a cruise ship purgatory, unable to sail commercially for the foreseeable future ...
That experience makes even more astounding the news that it's not just airliners that are currently being mothballed, as I mentioned here recently.

Huge cruise-liners are also suffering a similar fate, reports Fran Golden writing in Bloomberg dot com.

'Since mid-March, only a small handful of the world's 400-or-so cruise ships have been able to accept passengers.'

Docked till 15th September - at least

She found that most of the cruising fleet are moored in a cruise ship purgatory, unable to sail commercially for the foreseeable future.

In the US, the industry has agreed not to resume business at least until 15th September, she writes.

'As with airplanes, the first issue with maintaining an idle cruise ship is simply finding a place to park it.'

As many as 16,000 planes have been grounded in the pandemic, hiding out in dry and rust-proof places that range from hangars and airport tarmacs to desert boneyards.

'Ships are similarly scrambling to find the right conditions to weather the storm.'

Ms Golden reveals the staggering cost of mothballing the monsters.

Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company, tallied up losses of $4.4 billion in the first half of the year, she discovered.

Somehow her revelations make acute frustration with Lockdown and its current remnants seem a bit less agonising and - hopefully - ease your understandable frustrations, at least a little, too.

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

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