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.

Four floors up, a young neighbouring cat decided to go exploring, or perhaps to assert an extrovert nature, felt a compulsion to show off.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Acrocat ... This amazing neighbourhood cat shows off its extrovert nature by squeezing out of the window on the right, walking a tight-rope of a very narrow sill ...
Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
... but he can't squeeze through the main window - it's not open sufficiently.
Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
The only way to avoid cat-astrophe is to climb up the edge of the partly open window to the vent above. Which he does and squeezes miraculously through.
Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Suicide averted ... A companion moggy notes the mighty drop, the way one wrongly placed paw would have taken him.
I was enjoying a slice of breakfast toast as the strange routine began. Just as if this playful little fellow might have resolved to leap to his death, he squeezed out of a window and stepped onto the window sill.

He was four floors above almost instant death.

The window gave way to pure air, or as pure as this part of Surbiton can offer. The sill has no retaining edge, no verandah a floor below, no pot plants nor shelves.

My toast was forgotten as I watched the cat peer over the edge, seem to judge the chances, and then just squeezed out of the window, and walked somewhat uncertainly along the very narrow sill to the adjoining window.

Walking a tightrope

Fortunately, no morning dew lingered from dawn. We hadn't have a shower for many days. The temperature certainly didn't give frost a look in.

And out of sight of the owners, watched by a fellow pet cat in the flat, the brave fellow walked the tightrope to the next window.

Somehow he made it safely.

Unfortunately though, the next window was opened scarcely wide enough to allow fresh through. The sill was far from wide enough to allow the cat to turn around. Fortunately, he didn't try to reverse back the way he had so bravely come.

The window his nose was pressed against was far from open enough to allow him to through through. The dare-devil looked up and noticed that the adjoining venting window was opened slightly.

It needed a perilous climb straight up. The only alternative was a very long drop down to the road.

Its nine-lives bonus

Whether or not the courageous cat been told of its nine-lives bonus, he measured the distance in that amazing way cats can ... and climbed with his claws up the jutting window edge. Did the critter hold his breath? I certainly did.

He reached the venting window, somehow squeezed his head in and prised it wider. He slipped through, bringing an amazing performance to an end.

Perhaps to gauge the amount of applause which courage alone deserved, a companion cat came to the first window and looked over the side at the enormous drop. You could almost hear the creature catch its breath.

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

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