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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.