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.

Valentine's Day might well be a happy loving day for many, but it's a celebration that turns the corners down for me.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Sunflowers, sunny prospects surely ... Humans can advance themselves with deceit, but there's a purity that comes with Spring, a time of year when at least something's going right. Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash - and many thanks to both.
In that secret trial in which I was victimised, the former Customs Department prosecution added yet one more untruth to their deceiving of a gullible, decidedly landlubber jury.

When I sailed towards Cape Town from the North Atlantic, disobliging winds in the Roaring Forties had stopped me from sailing east.

A dismasted mini-yacht

However, the wind angle was sufficient to allow me to head towards St Helena.

I know the island well, had reached it in an extraordinary survival voyage in a dismasted mini-yacht, and was only too happy on my swallowing-the-anchor voyage to meet up with Saints (as they are nicknamed) who had been so hospitable.

A few days later, when conditions favoured it, I headed for the Cape.

The prosecution made this astonishing claim, which - forgive me - I have mocked on this site before: I went to St Helena to 'lay low'.

February crocuses

Between your two boisterous brothers,
January and March you come,
Silver sister February,
Wearing earth stars in your hair,
Constellations of crocuses in clown colours,
Meadows, on which we rest our mid-winter heads.

Your flowers chuckle in the sun spun light,
That makes the songbirds sing again,
In notes like slowly shooting stars,
Ancestral songs Aquarius,
Pours to Pisces from her pitcher.

You comb your circus flowers closed each evening,
Helped by the marquee clouds,
And hush the songbirds to sleep again,
Quietly and carefully,
So as not to awaken any resting, slumbering griefs,
Or to disturb any dormant dormouse dreams.
- Robert Graham

Isn't St Helena a British dependency and surely South Africa a republic?

Most of us don't need fresh geography lessons to know it and to realise which of the two might be more suited to 'laying low'.

Deceiving, unconscionable people

These deceiving, unconscionable people stuck to the silly claim, and the jury went along with it.

What I didn't know then is that once a jury has announced its 'considered' decision, the heavens are not strong enough to change it.

Every effort to find justice is thwarted. It seems that our fair land has no way to retry a case.

I served eight years and a fortnight, and my savings and investments were snatched by the State.

So far, it seems nothing can change that.

On this anniversary of that one of many gross lies of the trial, let me try to be positive and bring you the latest verse from that gifted poet, Robert Graham.

This winter has been just toooooo long for your correspondent. However, Robert's poem is a wonderful reminder that Spring is not so far away.

It's the anniversary of that WW2 horror, the Dresden bombing. We really ought to take a moment or two to reflect, shouldn't we.

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,

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

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