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.

Very sad to report that Ron Pell, a major force in my sailing projects, left port today for the Great Unknown, that part of the hereafter where gifted mariners discover peace.

Gone is the sailor .... Gifted sailor Ron on trials for an OSTAR entry a few years ago.

Ron, aged about 79, had been suffering from cancer for some time.

He died at about 3 this morning, Thursday, 29 December.

His daughter, Sue, a keen sailor, was at his bedside along with her mother Joan, also a sailing enthusiast.


Ron was a major worker and re-designer of the interior of the schooner Seltrust Endeavour when she was chosen for the Spirit of Pentax project.

The yacht was stripped out for singlehanded sailing, to make her as light and speed worthy as possible.

In spite of major faults that developed along the way, steering, and a fractured foremast in an overturning in the Southern Ocean, Pentax completed her circumnavigation, making me a solo Cape Horner.

A second rounding

I took the yacht across the South Atlantic for an attempt at a second rounding of the planet, but despite Ron's best efforts to strengthen various aspects of the construction, the schooner was not up to it, and the bid ended at Cape Town after an overturning by heavy seas in the Southern Ocean which wrecked the self-steering gear and other eqipment.

Messages of sympathy have arrived from Gerry Adamson, Gavin Howe, Julie Dolton, Bob Abrahams, Wendy West, and many more ...

Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory.

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