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.

Will the media attention of the plea by PC Andrew Harper's young widow for a retrial of his murder succeed? Is it possible that widespread publicity could actually succeed in a justice system that is so often seriously unjust?

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Widow's appeal ... The BBC announces that PC Andrew Harper's widow has asked the Prime Minister to help when the charge against three young men is reduced from murder to manslaughter.

With our wonky system, there's just about no chance of getting a retrial without widespread criticism, without faulty trials making the headlines.

I'm certainly an authority, a very reluctant authority, on this subject.

I'm a fellow who lost eight years and a week of his life because of the outrageous jury system.

As a result of the guilty verdict, the State grabbed just about all of my savings, and almost everything I owned.

What's wrong the jury system?

Twelve 'ordinary citizens' asked to deal with complicated arguments are too easily persuaded by the charm or oratory skill of the prosecuting or defending barrister.

... In the trial of the three young defendants that followed, the jury swapped the charge of murder for manslaughter even though the constable, entangled in ropes, was dragged by the defendants for more than a mile, and at speed. ...
Like the actors that they actually are, these fellows know well the art of persuasion. Like actors, too, presumably the more persuasive they are, the more they earn.

It's a good move

Mrs Lissie Harper has asked publicity-hungry Boris for help, the BBC tells us, and as that fellow knows a great deal about generating headlines, it is a good move.

The BBC reports that PC Harper, 28, was dragged for more than a mile along country lanes after he and a colleague responded to reports of a quad bike theft on 15 August last year.

In the trial of the three young defendants that followed, the jury swapped the charge of murder for manslaughter even though the constable, entangled in ropes, was dragged by the defendants for more than a mile, and at speed.

And in that trial, too, came the hint of the craziness of juries, as the Beeb report revealed.

'Bye, boys'

'A female juror was discharged a day before deliberations started after she was seen … mouthing the words "bye boys" to the teenagers in the dock.'

I used to argue in favour of the jury system, until I experienced the jury system myself.

I endured more than two years during a crooked trial brought by a crooked former customs department. Like it or not, I witnessed that jury for the huge stretch of time.

Some jury people displayed their right-wing stance with questions they thought the prosecutor should have asked.

One actually stood up to invite the judge to a family party.

The longest criminal trial

The trial - of a 'gang' allegedly of drugs sellers - set a record for the longest criminal trial in England.

It is hard to believe, but the swallowing-the-anchor voyage of this singlehanded Cape Horner was fabricated into a drugs run … even though I was alone and came no closer to Britain than 1,100 miles.

And those landlubbers were utterly misled by a crooked prosecution.

When the jury 'retired' eventually, the deliberations stretched on for an astonishing amount of time.

Once, eventually, they had decided which of the alleged gang to find guilty, the jury returned to the jury room to ponder on my fate.

It took them many days more to bring in a guilty verdict.

Outright lie

As the prosecution insisted on the outright lie that I supplied 'the gang', perhaps they had little option but to find me 'guilty', too.

One of the many faults of the antiquated system is that it takes something like a miracle to get a retrial … or for those in authority to admit the craziness of the decision.

Even the thoughtful judge who had spoken in my favour seemed obliged to defer to crazy English justice. 'Nineteen years,' he announced. Was this judicial humour?

I tried to be encouraging. I'd already been locked away for two years. Just another 17 to go...

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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