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.

Back at home. Phew what a relief! But what an experience to visit that odd land, including a short flight in a bizarre turbo-prop aircraft - surprisingly fast, surprisingly comfortable, even if rather eccentric-looking in this jet dominated age.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Lidl lids mean a lot ... What they don't have, we have lots of, so thanks to Lidl for these little lids.
Good to be back? friends asked. Excellent, I confirmed. And as if the airline guessed my feelings, it seemed a remarkably fast trip back, with us looking at the southern North Sea, a cold, unhappy stretch of salt-water that I know well, in very quick time.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Concert very grand ... the wonderful piano at the Chopin airport where ironically more Beethoven was heard during my pause there. - Thanks to Vassia Atanassova of Spiritia and Commons:WikiProject Aviation/recent uploads

Quite a lot of a chapter of my follow-on story was edited on the journey - on a nearly brand-new Boeing 737/400 that actually offered power points for computers at each seat. Excellent!

A quite long wait at Warsaw seemed just about no time at all thanks to a Boston concert grand in the waiting area. An assortment of young players - passengers with time to pass - entertained a crowd of us.

Ironic choice

Best was certainly a Chinese lad of 10 or 11, a Lang Lang in the making perhaps.

Of the considerable number of favourite piano numbers, the one heard the most often in that waiting area was easily Beethoven's, Für Elise, and often played really professionally. Presumably the popular choice wasn't intentionally ironic for an airport dedicated to that brilliant composer Chopin.

It was good to be back in my favourite supermarket, Lidl's, today. I was glad to be reunited with a convenience we take for granted over here - yoghurt pots with plastic tops.

The simple plastic lids don't come with yoghurt and cottage cheese and the like over there. No wonder London is such an attraction for people from Poland. Well, so it occurred to me during fruitless searches over there for a way to keep these products fresh in the fridge.

The turbo-prop aircraft, by the by, was a Bombardier DHC 8-400, an eccentric shaped lady of the air, but as I say, no slouch.

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