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.

Death haunts life, as we learn from early childhood, but somehow the concept of a person wandering around full of life and then – virtually suddenly – not, takes some grasping.

Touch a corpse and you learn right away the huge difference between life and death. And yet no matter how familiar death becomes, it remains very much a huge mystery.

At least it feels that way for me, in spite of the dangerous nature of my passion for singlehanded sailing, for my hope to sail alone around the world a second time, and this time as – well, not easy to say – an old man.

Death couldn’t possibly happen to me, a voice within reassures.

Trapped, submerged

Yet wasn’t I trapped beneath the South Atlantic when my gorgeous 18-footer sank on an effort to sail the longest ever singlehanded journey in a sailing dinghy?

In youth over on the other side of the world, helping on farms, death was constantly no more than a moment away.

I’m referring to the stock here, of course, the farm’s animals.

Thankfully, humans don’t seem to get bumped off by a whim of an impatient farmer with a sharp blade.

And yet Fate hands out constant reminders about our unavoidable lot through the deaths of friends and relations.

We are reminded constantly that our presence on this planet is no more than temporary.

Big physically, too

As if to confirm it, good friend and much admired Bob Budd, who I saw and chatted to and enjoyed the cheer and conversation of probably every morning for 12 or 13 years, suddenly failed to reappear when Boris let gyms open again.

He was a large fellow, so it would be hardly be easy for life to hide him. Yet, very, very sadly, death achieved it.

A really sad farewell to that good friend and very pleasant fellow. In his last email to me, though I couldn’t know it then as we were locked down, he revealed the presence of a brain tumor.

With typical good cheer, he dismissed the worst of the news with - in his own words ...

'Bit of bad news I thought I had contacted COVID but but it was some think bad brain cancer was confirmed so I spent 2 week having test in hospital but I’m out now taking

Tablets to rejuice swelling it’s no cure but the swelling coming down I’m in no pain at all

Don’t bother replying I will tell when I see you next ok ...

sent from I pad. Bob budd

What do you say to news like that, what could you?

All the very best

Thanks to the shutdown by covid, I didn't know about it nor read these words until this week.

Farewell, Bob. All the very best, as the living say to one another here. Sorry I don't know the version that might have more chance of reaching that good fellow.

Thanks very much 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,

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The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook.

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