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.

Certainly enough of a very cold breeze to sail, but I'm here on my feet in gorgeous Richmond Park, the deer park created by Charles I about 500 years ago. It is quite the biggest of royal parks in London and is important for the study of wildlife conservation.

Ship's Log 05 February 2017 1500:
Anchorage Richmond Park Transport Shanks’s Pony | 51° 26' 3 N x 0° 17' 1 W NNW 8 knots | 1012 millibars | Overcast, rain in the offing
Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
From a jury bundle ... the loss of Baltic Wind.
Wandering in this wonder of Nature, it feels just the place to wonder about human motivation. What makes fellow beings, and strangers at that, want to harm us?

As Sailing to Purgatory reveals, a so-called sailing expert told the longest-ever English trial that I could easily have sailed into the South African port a storm stopped me reaching.

Powerful South Easterly winds prevented the yacht from holding a course for the harbour. The ‘expert’ denied it. He 'knew' nothing like bad weather had forced me to change direction and head for historic Jamestown instead.

The prosecution even called in a so-called weather expert to confirm that no bad weather was active in the Southern Ocean at the time. I wondered then - and still wonder now - why these two fellows felt perfectly free to make their claims in court and under oath. To right their wrongs, it seemed, two genuine sailing experts confirmed just how unlikely it was that I could have reached Cape Town.

I’m dwelling on this particular part of the trial because the anniversary of the start of that demanding storm is on the 13th, the day before Valentine's, just a few days off.

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