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.

It's National Poetry Day and the gifted wordsmith I've choose to salute is brilliant Robert Graham, and his unique website, Healing Gardens.

I first admired Roberto's poetry back in 2008 and was really impressed. With each new poem, I enjoy his talent even more. To try to encourage his unique creativity I've been running Healing Gardens for him ever since

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
A time of learning ... Siegfried Sassoon before the horror of war, back in his uni days. Wikipedia: Sassoon (front) with his brother Hamo and other students on the morning after a college May Ball at Cambridge University in 1906
It's a difficult question for a man of words to answer, but even so I put it to him. 'Roberto,' I asked, 'which poem by another poet is your own favourite?'

I expected a pause but the answer came immediately - Siegfried Sassoon, and his Everybody Sang.

Roberto said, 'I was impressed that Sassoon who emerged from the war with a damaged mind, later - when this poem was written - (soon after I think), found himself healed, at peace and able to feel joy again.

'I feel he really feels like the bird and the poem makes me feel like the bird, too. And it is a universal theme that the singing will never be done makes me like this poem so much, too.'

Which of Roberto's own poems does he like best? I'll put the question to him tomorrow.

In the meantime, here is the gifted poet's favourite work by other poets, Siegfried Sassoon.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
The poet lived here ... A plaque for the poet's home in London. Thanks to Wikipedia: Green plaque on the site of Sassoon's former home in Tufton Street, Westminster, London

Everyone Sang

Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom,
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on - on - and out of sight.

Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away ... O, but Everyone
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the singing will never be done.
- Siegfried Sassoon

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