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.

What a price Gerry Adamson has had to pay for her friendship with this singlehanded Cape Horner. As she went into hospital this week, I wrote about her enormous help for the project to sail around the world in a home-made schooner, Spirit of Pentax.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
After the hard work ... Gerry can put away her work clothes and attend Spirit of Pentax's farewell party.
The earlier article outlined how she and husband Pat went out of their way to ensure that Pentax and this fellow were as ready for the voyage as possible.

Their help was enormous and showed an extraordinarily generous nature.

I survived

The voyage happened, the yacht’s sailor survived, and soon the book of the voyage, Loner (Hodder and Stoughton), was written.

The adventure and the oceans won me over.

I abandoned life as a Fleet Street journalist, studied at Nautical College, and became a DoT commercial yachtmaster.

Late news: On the day of the operation, Gerry learned that because of the Coronavirus outbreak, all major ops were postponed. She was discharged and sent home.
You’ll imagine the enormous debt of gratitude I owed the Adamsons. The repayment, if I can term it that way, came not from me, though, but from a corrupt government department now disbanded.

It transpired that the then department had an alleged drugs gang imprisoned awaiting trial.

They needed a yachtsman because their case was that ‘Sunday sailors’ supplied the gang with Caribbean drugs.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Sea trials ... Remarkably close to departure date, Spirit of Pentax begins her trials with some helpers.
Of course, the weather between the Caribbean and Britain ensured that those astonishingly ill-trained ‘investigators’ were not going to find such a phenomenon.

No amateur sailors would survive passages like that.

The mainsail tore

Unfortunately for me, they learned that I was sailing towards the Channel. However, sadly for them, my mainsail tore and I had to turn away in the Bay of Biscay, 1,500 miles from our South Coast.

I flew to Britain many months later, and called on the Adamsons as I always did between voyages. Unbeknown to me, those sad ‘investigators’ were bugging my phone.

Hardly had I said hello to Gerry at the front door than the ‘investigators’ ambushed. I was rushed off to London and didn’t emerge again for eight years and two weeks.

Which was the outcome of an in-camera trial of the ‘gang’ and yours truly by an utterly baffled jury. The state then claimed my home and life savings.

My gift was trouble

The local MP is still trying to get some justice, but my gift to the Adamsons for their wonderful, extraordinary help and enormous support and friendship over the years has been Trouble.

Wonderful Gerry and Pat, knowing that the charge was utterly false, helped enormously through those years, visiting often, writing very regular and encouraging letters, even sending in a TV.

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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