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.

Twenty-first birthday parties are usually about handing the birthday boy the key to the door. I attended one today that was quite the opposite in just about every way.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Scene of the ambush ... Tempted perhaps, but thankfully the former-customs department gang didn't kick the door in.
I joined Mrs Gerry Adamson, who I have written about in these pages before, and we sat in rare but gorgeous sunshine at Portchester, Hampshire, to remember a ghastly happening at her front door exactly – to the minute – 21 years earlier.

Gerry, just out of hospital after a really serious heart operation, had opened the front door 21 years ago to some insistent bell-ringing.

A gang of customs men pushed past her, and past my young daughter and my girlfriend. I was arrested and taken to London for questioning and imprisonment.

8,000-mile voyage

Somehow, they claimed, I catapulted a huge haul of drugs to the South Coast in spite of the vast distance. In the trial that followed, they said the goods were unloaded onto a submarine ... or a plane.
My 8,000-mile swallowing-the-anchor voyage earlier in the year, they claimed, was to smuggle drugs to England.

And while they accepted that I was alone and that I was obliged to turn away more than a thousand miles from the South Coast, they insisted it was a smuggling voyage.

Somehow, they claimed, I catapulted a huge haul of drugs to the South Coast in spite of the vast distance.

In the trial that followed, they said the goods were unloaded onto a submarine, or a plane.

Determined for justice

The appalling experience was related in my recent book, Sailing to Purgatory. Attempts for justice since have got nowhere … so far. However, I remain determined for justice.

It's a subject that can't be dwelt much on, especially after quarter of a century of hopeless attempts for justice.

We observed the exact moment it had happened, just two minutes before noon, and then wisely changed the conversation to the magnificent garden where Gerry grows so many beautiful plants.

In fact, the house and garden look so close to perfection, it is hard to recall that it had been the scene of such extraordinary and devious – crooked - real-life drama.

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

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The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook.

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