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.

A police woman is sent a questionable sex video. Her mobile phone seems to show that she hasn’t seen it, knows nothing of it, in fact. The video had been sent to 17 people and yet the one uniformed woman is prosecuted.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Envy of the world! ... Supt Williams, charged with having the indecent video which she insists she did not see, pictured with the London mayor Sadiq Khan. The officer had been highly commended for her work helping families affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster. Thanks to BBC News (and PA) for the photo.
Pretty weird, you might think, very strange indeed. And the high-ranking police officer is tried, if the justice term could be used, at just about the most expensive venue in Britain, the Old Bailey.

And humans being humans, we could be forgiven for wondering about part of the story that is kept hidden.

Only that’s not my reaction for I know from personal experience that English justice – the envy of the world – can be mighty devious indeed.


I sailed a very long swallowing-the-anchor voyage at the conclusion of my international yachting career.

I crossed the Atlantic, from west to east. Near the Caribbean, a tropical revolving storm approached and I took refuge in St Lucia island.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Stolen yacht ... A corrupt in-camera trial snatched my yacht and almost everything I possessed.
Although in my nautical work I knew well the ways of Customs, I had never endured such a grilling and searching that those ill-mannered, utterly unpleasant people subjected me to.

Eventually, they admitted not a sign of any drugs existed, and I was released. I sailed towards home, England.

I returned to Britain in August to look after my then nine-year-old daughter for her school holidays. I was ambushed – we were ambushed.
In the Bay of Biscay, the mainsail tore, leaving me no option but to turn away and sail south.

As my book Sailing to Purgatory tells, the sail was repaired in Madeira. Too late in the season now to try to reach Britain, I sailed solo south, down through the Trades and the Doldrums and through the Roaring Forties to the Cape.

We were ambushed

I returned to Britain in August to look after my then nine-year-old daughter for her school holidays. I was ambushed – we were ambushed.

I was charged with supplying a gang with drugs, even though I came no closer to Britain than the Bay of Biscay, and as the trial, heard, in a yacht completely unsuitable to carrying drugs.

Even so, after the two-year trial, the longest English trial, I was sentenced to 19 years, two years more than the Lockerbie airline bomber, who slaughtered more than 240 people, was serving.

As the lady police officer may well be thinking tonight: English justice! Envy of the world?

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 and on Blogger,

Care to comment? You can contact Paul here ⇒⇒ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook and Blogger.

Search the site

Search the site

Where can I get Sailing to Purgatory? Sailing to Purgatory at Amazon | Sailing to Purgatory at Waterstones | Sailing to Purgatory at BookDepository
Try a chapter for free? | | | Facebook | @2purgatory | Blogger | © 2017 - 2020