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.

One of the biggest Mr Bigs in the drugs world has come to the end of his trial over in the US and now the talk seems to be about, well, society getting even with him.

It seems that this Mr Big, ironically known as Shorty (el Chapo), one Joaquín Guzmán Loera, will taste a terrestrial version of Hell through the remainder of his life.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Spot the crook ... Mr Big in custody in the US last year. Thanks to Wikipedia. Guzmán in US custody, 19 January 2017.
It's most likely that the 61-year-old at 5ft 6in will go to the American version of Hades, what they term an Administrative Maximum Penitentiary Facility.

It’s a 7ft by 12ft room that must resemble a slightly larger than normal coffin.

I wonder why

The BBC reports that the Mr Big trafficked in cocaine, heroin, marijuana and other drugs.

The allegation goes that he oversaw a network of dealers, kidnappers and henchmen, a team of assassins on his payroll.

Why, I wonder, is it society’s seeming need to get even with people like this who take advantage of daft laws?

If society, his customers, didn’t demand the goodies he sold, he could never have become perhaps more than a local, well, tobacconist. What would happen if the government here decided to ban coffee because it keeps humans awake, because it might stain their teeth?

The massive price of a cup at Nero’s or Costa would suddenly costa whole lot more. And if the chancers did it openly, they’d be pilloried, too, not dissimilarly to Mr Shorty, presumably.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Coffin for the living ... An impression of a prison cell at the appalling Florence 'supermax' in Colorado. Wikipedia: A supermax prison cell by RicHard-59 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
The drugs laws were introduced by Tricky Dicky to snatch a few of his enemies.

Wealthy customers

Why, I’m not sure why, but perhaps governments found it the most extraordinary way of nabbing huge wads of money, of filling jails, of keeping those who succumb to the ‘criminality’ of drugs conscious of their 'superiors' - their politicians, of course.

And yet who are the customers in Britain? People with loads of hoot - directors, successful businessmen, the well-off who want the taste, the thrill, of extremes.

They say governments never learn. They had every opportunity from Prohibition. Now the dangerous fluid is tippled all over town, is very fashionable, and a must do or have at Christmas.

Humans! Our glorious leaders, once they have apologised in Heaven for the Br-x-t fiasco, will have to grovel before the angels, too, over continuing so keenly Tricky Dicky’s drugs nonsense.

I hope they’ll apologise for my years inside for a smuggling job that I couldn’t possibly have done, and which I believe the prosecution knew I didn’t, and which initially won me a longer term than the Lockerbie bomber was serving.

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

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