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.

Very sorry to readers who still hoped to download Chapter 15, but the time of free downloads has to be limited. People often follow my tweets about that chapter with the question, 'Why such ghastly island hospitality?'

Who knows if this was irregular behaviour on St Lucia? But I do know that it took the court, the church, and the foreign office, months and months before those very unpleasant 'officers' admitted to their behaviour.

My sentence was 19 years. The Lockerbie bomber's 16 years. 270 were killed in the Lockerbie crash.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
A very different side to the island ... Rodney Bay from the land, with thanks to TripAdvisor and to sharkbait98 for the traveller photo of 'The famous Pitons and village' (Nov 2010)

Perhaps the island's weird customs group knew - it would take a saint not to believe it - that they could do more harm by denying my visit than admitting to their aggressive, sullen treatment.

However, Chapter 15 tells the story of that visit which probably confirms the madness of Nixon's drugs laws. It's time for a complete rethink. Of course, the events in Sailing to Purgatory itself shows the madness that has become the accepted current way.

Not one guffaw

For instance, although the longest criminal trial in England showed that I sailed no closer to UK than half-way up Biscay, it was convenient to believe the preposterous claim by the prosecution that I must have handed the huge cargo onto a submarine.

As I say in Sailing to Purgatory, I looked at the jury to watch their visible disbelief, and saw not a flicker of an eyelid, not one guffaw. And when it came to a sentence, the term handed to me was 19 years, with what could have been a mild apology from the judge that it would have been more but for my age.

Back in the top security prison cell, Radio 4 was announcing that the Lockerbie Bomber's sentence was three years less. The bomb killed 270 people.

In Chapter 15, the voyage was almost out of the Caribbean Sea and it seemed the yacht might well get clear of danger before the hurricane season began. However, maritime radio reported the formation of the first tropical revolving storm of the season. The nearest hurrican hole was St Lucia, about 24 hours' sail away.

The appalling version of island hospitality was served up within hours of the yacht's arrival, as Chapter 15 tells.

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