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.

Kingston Library has a truly enviable online arrangement, quite free, and fast, and all within the wonderful atmosphere of a big library. Need advice? The staff almost outshine Uncle Google.

Ship's Log 03 February 2017 1148:
Anchorage Kingston-on-Thames
Vessel 'My bike' | 51° 24' 33'' N x 0° 18' W
Wind SSE 15 knots | 997 millibars
Rain in the offing

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
And hardly had I tuned into my email address than a message popped onto the screen from Chantelle, Olympia's Marketing and PR director, bringing the news which has had me acting like an expectant father.

'We have given your book a provisional publication date of the 23rd of February,' she wrote.

I'm not sure exactly how my reaction surfaced. A shoosh or two sounded among the busying browsers. 'It's the 23rd,' I prompted. 'Really, it's the 23rd!' A few disproving nods came my way. Someone looked at his mobile and offered today's date.

I wanted to tell him, to tell them, that I have rewritten Sailing to Purgatory about seven times in the struggle to find a publisher. I'm not exactly a spring chicken, so searching for a yes for almost as many years as there have been rewrites makes a very special moment indeed of learning of the expected date of birth.

Like a happy GP passing on the good news, Chantelle wasn’t exactly promising the 23rd. 'You will appreciate that this date could be subject to change.' It'll be the 23rd, a voice inside said.

The rain exhibited enthusiasm too as I left the library. I was surprised, carrying the faithful bike up the stairs, to be dripping all the way like an almost drowned rat. Somehow on the way home I hadn't noticed the downpour.

And for the record, Surbiton Library has this same magnificent online arrangement, with brilliant staff, too.

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