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.

If the land of your birth does the dirty on you, destroys your reputation, steals your property and your money, and sends you to jail for a longer term than an airline bomber, knowing all the time that the charge is false, you could be excused for doubting that the country has a conscience or a heart. And yet, it seems, it has a heart at least.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Appealing ... To get the best results, restoration specialist Emanuel Enache is taking the bathroom walls back to the original, pealing off layer on layer of paint and papering and plastering heaped on since the block was built about 55 years ago, when near enough was more than good enough.
As yesterday's blog, A good side to every story, chronicles, when I emerged from prison, and was confronted by possibly the last dirty trick, I discovered that Britain does have a heart, does do good, and that revelation came from Kingston Council.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
All change, all change ... Electrician Daniel exchanges the old electrical box of tricks over to the latest, safest control box. 'You'll be back soon when Brexit kicks in,' I said. 'The Brexiteers will throw out wicked European standards.' 'Oh, no,' Daniel said. 'This is the latest Brit job.'

I was next to homeless, just about out of funds thanks to that bent branch of bureaucracy, and feeling rather desperate.

Surprised and delighted

The council provided a flat, eased the rent, and this week are doing up the bathroom.

I am amazed, surprised and delighted with the kind offer to bring the room up to date.

I could get by without it, but what pleasure to have modern facilities. I had anticipated a lick of paint and perhaps a tap or two replaced.

Instead, a team of experts has moved in, and yesterday and today took the wall dressings back to the sixties original.

There's to be a new shower arrangement, a better supply of hot water, with all electrical parts and the like brought up to date.

Humane and positive

It's fantastic. The neat little home has allowed me to live a healthy life, even enjoy gardening in the community garden. Best of all, it has allowed me to get on with my writing. Sailing to Purgatory is the finished proof of this humane and positive side of Britain.

I hope to finish soon a survival book, working title, Adrift, about eight days in a liferaft in the South Atlantic in the most appalling conditions, but blessed with a cheery girl crew, harassed by appalling weather, and unnerved by a growing number of tiger sharks. Suicide was in the air by the eighth night of the watery version of hell. And then we were rescued.

I'm busy plotting the story of the secret trial, the longest criminal trial in England, and those appalling years in prison for a crime I did not commit, and which the prosecution knew I didn't do, too. I hope to begin writing almost as soon as Adrift is complete.

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