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.

That jury! I was writing yesterday about the seeming attitude of the driving force of the jury - if I might put the stronger personalities into such a bracket. A sort of spirit of Lieutenant Columbo was present. Forget the lawyers' way with innuendos. They'd sort out the baddies.

And when one of the doubtful points the prosecution offered was being aired, the Columbo faction went into a sort of huddle. The leader jumped to his feet. He asked the judge for permission to speak.

Ship's Log 09 ii 2017 | Woolwich Crown Court | approx 51° 30' N x 0° 5' E | Wind ENE 8 knots | Barometer 1027 falling
Overcast, dull | Temperature 5°

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Flourishing flora ... It might be winter (no question about that) but the undergrowth somewhere on the outskirts of London grows well. Oh, no peeking through the fence, please.
The questionable point that the prosecution wanted to offer as a piece of evidence concerned a jacket found in a room which might have been the setting for some inferred criminal activity. The jacket may well have belonged to one of the defendants. He might have inadvertently left it behind.

Get the suspect onto the witness stand, Columbo said. Bring the jacket and let the bloke try it on. He outlined the plan as if this might be quite a ground shaking idea.

The judge, as patient as ever with the jury, reminded the spokesmen and those in the jury box that they were there to consider what was presented to them, and that was all.

Twelve willing detectives

Colombo returned to his seat. He didn't look too defeated. It's not every juror who gets to offer a helpful nod to a judge.

The attempt to be twelve willing detectives and true - though actually there were just eleven of them - might have made Colombo feel good, but it didn't do much to encourage the crowd of defendants.

In the next blog, I'll tell you what it was like to see the outside of that court room for the first time. We defendants knew only the interior, and the long tunnel from the top security prison, over the eighteen months of the trial, and on a few preliminary appearances, too.

I planned to illustrate the blog with a photo or two. Security spotted me and approached rapidly. I was made to delete the shots.

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