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.

A police woman is sent a questionable sex video. Her mobile phone seems to show that she hasn’t seen it, knows nothing of it, in fact. The video had been sent to 17 people and yet the one uniformed woman is prosecuted.

Back in commercial yachtmaster days, I was commissioned to take a once beautiful ocean-going yacht from Portugal to the Cape. It was not exactly the straight-forward voyage I expected.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Fearlessness and futility ... Wikipedia's reminder of the appalling cost in human life of the first world war. Thanks to Wikipedia for the painting by Georges Scott - L'Illustration & RMN, Public Domain, Link

While society remembers the astonishing number of people who fought in the first world war, and the huge number who died in the horrendous 1914-18 battles, let me pass on the message from a fighter who survived.

I hurried down the stairs at the gym and ran into – almost – what seemed half of London’s future female population. A very long line of very young girls, society’ mothers of the 2030s, were filing into a grand auditorium.

We stood in silence this week remembering those who died in World War 1, but probably not dwelling much on the appalling human price so many paid – being shot, blown up, run down, caught by a grenade, or bayoneted.

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