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.

As promised and just a few days late, here is my guide for painless yet strict dieting, for giving up eating pleasures you’ve known since, well, for a long time.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
In the thick of strangers ... Alone on an ocean one moment, surrounded by captive men the next. It seemed to help with the strictest dieting. Photo by Sujith Devanagari on Unsplash
Of course, it just might be the setting and unusual dramas all packed together that makes for success.

For instance, trying it at home with the larder packed with delights might not be ideal.

The State gave me that advantage. It was some hours earlier that I had a very pleasant breakfast at home with daughter Emily and my fiancée, a gifted piano recitalist who I loved dearly.

Wonderful company

If the diet that began in a few hours was to be tried in that wonderful company and at home, success is bound to have been unsuccessful.

We three visited dear friends, and would have had lunch with Gerry, a formidable cook and hostess, when again any suggestion of dieting could be forgotten before it began.

... within a couple of days, I was standing in the uproar of a prison, being taken to a cell, staring at iron bars, and wondering if I had lost it mentally. Surely, I must have gone insane.
As I mentioned, we arrived a minute or two before noon, and within the hour, perhaps 30 minutes, I was in a car being driven to the then Customs HQ in London.

To help the diet get going, circumstance probably assisted.

I had just experienced extreme drama – ambush, taken away from loved ones, and friends, and just about everything in my life that was familiar.

Fortunately, I had not the least idea then that I would not be free again for almost 3,000 days, eight years and a fortnight.

Never see the familiar again

I would never see my fiancée again, would see Emily just once more, never see my home, nor car, nor yacht ever again. In fact, just about all that was familiar.

However, I had no idea at the time. It was a surprise not to be allowed to return home that evening. Nor the next day when I was charged with smuggling, dumped at some police station in Hampshire, and delivered to a prison the following day.

A prison! I had probably overparked when I shouldn’t, ignored the highway speed limit a few times, but never committed any serious crime, nor thought to.

And within a couple of days, I was standing in the uproar of a prison, being taken to a cell, staring at iron bars, and wondering if I had lost it mentally. Surely, I must have gone insane.

Only a short time earlier, I had been sailing alone for several weeks, often with not a solitary human within, well, at least some hundreds of miles.
Yet even then, I expected that a mistake would be seen and I would go home within a day or two. It was a bewildering experience in an area of life that I knew nothing about.

Only a short time earlier, I had been sailing alone for several weeks, often with not a solitary human within, well, at least some hundreds of miles.

Suddenly surrounded

Suddenly I was surrounded by hundreds of males who knew very little of my world, as I knew just about nothing of theirs.

And dieting was easy. Perhaps to be fair in this encouragement to help others who want to diet, I should recommend an unusual setting with a few severe shocks thrown in to get you going.

It worked for me. No more meat, beef, lamb, chicken, duck. That aspect of the diet was probably the most worthy achievement.

And also, without the least problem – and I do feel guilty that t should have been so easy, comparatively – I didn’t touch again wine, cocktails, any alcohol, no more butter, pepper, gravy, sugar, soft drinks, chocolate, sweets, pies, custard – we’ve run out of space for the rest, but I expect you get the picture.

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly 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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