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.

I was sad to finish Sailing to Purgatory last night. It is written so well and tells the story of that last journey so vividly that I felt I had sailed on board the whole way.

I could have finished the book over the weekend but as I neared the end, from the arrival in the Azores onward, I kept finding excuses not to read, tantalising as it was to read on, as I didn't want the journey to end.

by Hilary Strickland
Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Hilary's verdict ... 'Can I truly say I enjoyed Sailing to Purgatory? Wholeheartedly YES...'

I am not a sailor myself, but have sailed vicariously for the past few years by following the Clipper Round the World Yacht races. This journey was all the more meaningful to me. The account of sailing in the storms at sea had me holding my breath and munching biscuits to relieve the tension they evoked.

Shocking and distressing

Having had a son sail as bowman through three great Southern Ocean storms, I renewed my respect for the battles of skilled sailors and trusty yachts against the elements. The descriptions of the sea, the waves, the changing colours and weather and wind conditions, the night sky and the people met along the way were so vivid, I really feel as though I have sailed that journey, too.

The descriptions alluded to other sailing journeys and adventures and I hope Paul will continue to write about them so we can flesh out the stories we are tempted with.

Can I truly say I enjoyed Sailing to Purgatory? Wholeheartedly YES, and I was sad to have to 'swallow the anchor' at the end.

Truth is stranger than fiction and here it is no different. The ending is shocking and distressing and sad that the miscarriage of justice was the truth rather than fiction.

What a brave sailor, a gifted writer and story teller, and a remarkable man. I hope everyone who reads Sailing to Purgatory enjoys it as much as I have.

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