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 seemed we might actually survive the yellow peril, news arrives warning of the approach of an even more horrific nightmare.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Second time around ... A warning that a second virus is on the way.
Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur on Unsplash
​ ‘Industrial meat production has created the perfect breeding ground for the next deadly disease,’ warns farmer and writer John Lewis-Stempel.

Hoping to smother the chance of another ghastly lockdown, I want to raise a white flag.

I'm a vegetarian and have been for twenty years. Shouldn't we all give up meat? After all, the plague takes no prisoners. If it gets you, it most surely gets you.

That Mr Lewis-Stempel is a farmer and therefore involved doesn’t help us to pooh pooh the warning. Writing in Unheard, he warns that viruses don't just spread among humans. 'The virus crosses species.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
The warning ... John Lewis-Stempel's article in Unherd.
'In all likelihood the virus transited to Homo sapiens from bats via pangolin sold in a Wuhan wet market.

Seventeen million

'As well as spreading among humans, the (covid) virus crosses species.

He reports that only last week 17 million farmed mink, found to be infected with covid caught from the workers, were culled in Denmark.

‘A mutant form of the virus then spilt back from mink to humans. Five other countries have also reported coronavirus outbreaks at mink farms.

'Does it matter? Certainly for the mink, most probably for you and me.'

Ticking time-bombs

Danish scientists are expressing concern about one mink-related strain of the virus which is believed to be less sensitive to protective antibodies, raising concerns about the effectiveness of any Covid vaccine, he reports. 

'But the Danish mink episode is just one more proof that factory farms are ticking time-bombs of zoonotic disease — those which leap from animals to humans. 

'Humans are meant to be wise …  but you do wonder. We elevate ourselves over animals, consider them as Other, when biologically the species barrier between us is thin. Even non-existent.

'Take the common-or-garden pink pig. The pig so physiologically resembles humans that it has been used in medical research for over 30 years as a translational model.

‘If it works in a pig it is likely to work in humans,’ John Lewis-Stempel believes.

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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