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.

Where’s your dream location for a break come the end of the fat lad’s LockDown in – thankfully – less than a fortnight now? Spain, South America, the South Sea islands?

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Paradise look alike ... Cape Town, heavenly if not the actual promised Paradise. It is a truly wonderful part of our world, and thoroughly recommended.
Photo by Patrick Foh on Unsplash
For me, it would be riotous, deeply troubled Cape Town, if I could afford the flight and accommodation.

And why?


There’s nowhere on the planet quite like it.

Troubles exist there aplenty, that’s so. It’s the only place in the world where I have been mugged, and that three times.

And it is such an odd almost eccentric part of the world. The gorgeous city of Cape Town chock-full of desperate African people who arrive from faraway 'home towns' to seek their fortunes in the new South Africa.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Photo by Thomas Bennie on Unsplash
Of course, the wild political hope doesn't exist. However, hope being what it is - and Good Hope at that - the people follow their dreams, which for so many prove to be similar to nightmares.

And life can be very short on normal comforts.

Squatter camps

On the route in from the airport, you can’t avoid seeing squatter camps and housing where residents have to go outdoors to the long, long row of basic loos which presumably the designers/builders forgot to include indoors.

Go for a restaurant meal, and try not to look into the kitchen area for it seems most of the staff come from the places where hygiene appears to be – if it is to be found at all – not exactly part of life.

And yet visit Sea Point and all that part of the Atlantic coast, and you’ll taste magic. The scenery is stupendous, the air you breathe, when the breeze arrives from the ocean, is just about pure.

An irony is that when the Cape Doctor blows, the fierce, gusty wind that falls from Table Mountain, the air is coming down from way up there, higher perhaps than heaven, and it, too, is angelically uncontaminated.

It’s hard not to see the poverty and yet there are astonishing oases of culture. Let me name just three:

The Book Lounge has an astonishing range of books from the latest published going well back.

The Labia cinema is wonderfully upmarket in its tastes and offers a stunning range of films each week.

Cape Town’s libraries definitely deserve a mention, too, for they keep up to date and are the perfect add-on for a great break.

I thoroughly recommend a Cape break. You’ll have the time of your life, and the memories of it will live with you forever.

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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