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.

(Following yesterday's modern jetliner blog ...)
It's very tempting to imagine that these mighty A330 flying machines swallowing 300 and more passengers are so modern, surely they can have been conceived only in the last few years.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Where the clever men hide ... The cockit of an A300 airbus. Thanks to Wikipedia and Alex Beltyukov - RuSpotters Team - Gallery page
And yet, believe it or not, 'Development of the A300 began during the 1960s as a European collaborative project between various aircraft manufacturers in the United Kingdom, France, and West Germany.'

A surprise

The sixties!

This enormous surprise comes from Wikipedia's review of the extraordinary A300 air bus made by Airbus.

During the 1960s! Getting on for sixty years ago! 'Air France, the launch customer for the A300, introduced the type into service on 30 May 1974,' Wikipedia reports. That's 45 years ago. Many readers here won't have been present on the planet back then.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Airbus number 2 ... The second of the airbuses. Wikipedia reports, 'This A300B1 was the second A300 built and one of the first to enter airline service in November 1974. It was operated by Trans European Airways of Belgium until retirement from service in November 1990.' Thanks to Wikipedia: RuthAS [CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Probably the main reason for my incredulity is that the aircraft seem so modern and because flying enormous distances in them is considered to be so today.

Astonishing distances

In fact, it seems that the astonishing distances in such quick time is really so yesterday.

Wikipedia reports: 'Development of the A300 began during the 1960s as a European collaborative project between various aircraft manufacturers in the United Kingdom, France, and West Germany.'

During the 1960s! At least, almost, 50 years ago. Fifty years! 'Air France, the launch customer for the A300, introduced the type into service on 30 May 1974,' Wikipedia reports.

On 19 July 2013, Airbus delivered the 1,000th A330. The A330 became the first Airbus wide-body airliner to reach 1,000 deliveries.

Extraordinary! And imagine the amount of finance changing hands through this remarkable machine.

The ultra negative

However, what about the other side, though, the ultra negative, which I confess is what I look for when I am about to book a flight somewhere.

Wikipedia reports that of June last year, the Airbus A330 had been involved in 33 major aviation occurrences, including 11 confirmed hull-loss accidents and two hijackings, for a total of 339 fatalities.

I remember well following the news of the A330's second fatal and deadliest accident, and its first while in commercial service. It happened on 1 June 2009, 10 years ago almost to the day.

An Air France A330-200 en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris carrying 228 people crashed in the Atlantic Ocean between 350 and 430 nautical miles northeast of the islands of Fernando de Noronha – an area of ocean that I have sailed often and know well.

There were no survivors. Malfunctioning 'pitot tubes' were blamed early on. Investigators later blamed the pilots for 'inadequate response' for a loss of airspeed data from malfunctioning equipment and subsequent autopilot disengagement.

Aerodynamic stall

They said it caused Flight 447 to enter into an aerodynamic stall.

What it can be like when the penny drops among passengers? What appalling scenes for those few minutes as an airliner falls out of the sky. I find it hard to imagine a worse horror.

Hence my note here: Within an hour of being sentenced to 19 years for a smuggling crime I most certainly did not do, and I believe the prosecution knew I could not have done, I heard on BBC radio news that the Lockerbie bomber who slaughtered all 243 passengers and 16 crew on a Boeing 747–121 was serving 17 years.

Thanks very much for visiting the Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory

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