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.

Just when it seems life's most aggravating challenges are passed - the kids are grown up, retirement is here, commuting is no longer vital - some very weird alternatives to peace spring up.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Handup ... We need a hand at all stages of life, but none quite so much as in later years. Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash
I say weird because how can it be anything else when the closest human you know and you've spent the best part of your life with goes, well, bonkers.

He's enjoyed the best of life, complete devotion by his keenest fan, and yet looney is what he's become, even though the condition gets a happily more respectable label.

However, call it what we will, it's madness that it happens and what it is.


From friends' point of view, he has gone crazy and they are left half-crazy wondering what they can do to help.

Of course, they can offer a drink or two and commiserations, and perhaps a bunch of flowers from time to time. The previously wise and sensible fellow continues to deteriorate even so.

Probably a century or so back, the effect would be blamed on Satan. We don't have that handy let out these days.

Done your best

Dementia is a growing challenge. As the population ages and people live for longer, it has become one of the most important health and care issues facing the world.
In England it is estimated that around 676,000 people have dementia. In the whole of the UK, the number of people with dementia is estimated at 850,000.- NHS
The whole episode is crazy. You've obeyed all the rules, done your best, and then when life looks the rosiest and seems about to become so much less demanding, Sir, the loved one loses it.

What are you to do?

A dear friend faces the dilemma. Her husband is going crazier - has been losing his mind - more and more each day.

The silly things kids do, he does. At least the conscience of the kids prods them and eventually encourages the issuing of apologies.


But the husband losing it either doesn't recognise the wrong of his actions or simply doesn't care, or perhaps more disturbingly can't stop himself.

Very disturbingly, the NHS puts the number of dementia victims in the UK at 850,000. That equates to an awful lot of distressed wives and families.

Probably the least understandable part of the process is that each sufferer only gets worse. I've mentioned some of the ghastly aspects here before - littering the home with broken dishes, urinating indiscriminately, even defecating where you'd least welcome it.

But the situation just gets worse. It seems the perfect excuse for murder, except we tend not to go in for that these days.

It seems then that my friend must go absolutely bonkers herself, but fortunately, advice from friends and family dominates, and the sad case is moved into what we term a care home.

The unexpected

The unexpected situation now is that surprise surprise, he likes it. The major challenge to sanity and peace and pleasure is out of the house for good.

And where my friend had loathed arranging his despatch to is actually liked, is appreciated. An almost forgotten smile returns to that sad face.

However, it has stolen the smile from my friend. Life is so much better for her, and more than likely for him, but she can't really get over that ever-watchful human feeling of failure or a form of it.

Our grandmothers advise that time is the best healer. I hope so.

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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The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook.

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