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.

Friends and family in New Zealand, about as far away from the plague as you could get, voiced concern back in early December about the way the yellow peril was playing out on this side of the world.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory  on the adventure book Sailing to Purgatory blog website.
Good looking ... The country is very good on the eyes, and it really seems that wherever one looks, the view is very special.
Photo by Jordan Heath. Many thanks to Jordan and his subject and to Unsplash
The far-flung dominion knew enough about the virus, having suffered a handful of cases, about ten, I seem to recall.

Any locals who dared succumb to the yellow peril over there were quickly weeded out.

Adrift

They were either set adrift in the Tasman with a few Captain Cookers for company or were obliged to isolate at home.

Probably the latter, though anything is possible in that distant Paradise and former penal colony.

Over there, many a pickpocket and suspect pimp tasted the gallows, or were traded in to local tribes for their next hangi.

Early December, so the plague wasn’t that bad over here then, and a few people who live on my wrong side of town were actually surviving.

Visit enzed, they said, come over for a touch of summer among a healthy people who don’t hide behind masks when shopping and can breathe on each other harmlessly.

What a shame though to miss a freezing sunless January and the chance to wear the latest covid masks when prancing about Aldi and Lidl.

Even so, temptation had me looking online for the price of a return flight. It looked rather prohibitive, but no so very much more than the notion of a dose of Chinese plague.

Procrastination won

Procrastination won. I decided to wait till Christmas and then decide.

Naïve, you might feel, but it never occurred to me in the wildest of nightmares that Uncle Bore-is and his boys might lock Heathrow’s doors.

Certainly naïve. They did. Although the price to enzed and any-sunny-where less infected than here looked very tempting, that temporary Downing Street cyclist shook his head.

Still, hasn’t it been a load of fun here among the afflicted, infested. Oh, and those stimulating January mornings with low clouds shining through the windows. Who wouldn’t want to be in England now …

Robert Browning knew, even if his courage remained in hibernation for a month or two more …

Oh, to be in England
Now that April's there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England - now!

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