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.

Happy Halloween! The neighbourhood throbs with fireworks and ghostly figures scaring the pants - as in panting from a fright - from estate residents who smile at the little monsters, or turn off the lights with each chance for a trick or treat.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Skullduggery ... Behind the scenes work to make Halloween a really scary success. Many thanks to Janko Ferlič for the great pic and to Unsplash
At the supermarket this afternoon, small monsters rushed passed trying to fit oversize pumpkins into seemingly undersized shopping trolleys. I thought I'd amuse them. 'Baked or boiled pumpkins for you, young man?' I asked one in a sort of shroud.

His mother laughed and the lad stumbled over a message he could hardly wait to get out. 'Why did the copper nab the 'alloweeny ghost?

'So 'cause like 'e didn't 'ave a ...' He jogged his mother's handbag for a prompt, then remembered. 'The ghost didn't 'ave a licence for 'unting.'

Junior Batman

'Hauntin',' the lady said.

'Yea, an' that.' The little lad turned up the volume as an excited group of young Halloweeners joined us. A junior Batman shouted, 'What trees like 'alloween the most of all?'

The questioner couldn't wait for me to guess. 'Bam-BOO!' he shouted. 'An', an' what do witches put on their 'air? Scare spray!'

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Monsters in the making ... Scary work for young Halloweeners. Many thanks to Jason Rosewell for the portrait of the industry, and to Unsplash

A girl pushed round him. 'You won't guess this one,' she said. The lad shouted that I hadn't even guessed his.

Impatience had the better of her, too. 'What's a monster's favorite play on telly. Romeo and Ghouliet.'

A taller boy shouted, 'Why didn't the mummy 'ave no friends?'

A ghoul parade

The first lad shouted, 'Cause 'e was wrapped up in 'imself!'

The mother appeared again. 'You're welcome to come to our ghoul parade.' The collected enthusiasm almost made it difficult to decline.

As I moved to another section in the shop, a lad with a breaking voice called, 'Guess what's a 'aunted chicken really. No? Give up?

'A poultry, um, poultry, er, poultry geist!'

Thanks very much for visiting the blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, and a very happy and scary Halloween to you.

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