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.

Here's a side of Covid plague that most of us thankfully don't have to experience, and happily know very little about.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Preparing Pentax ... Gerry with husband Pat back in the days when the yacht was being modified for the Cape Horn voyage.
Good friend Gerry Adamson, who helped enormously to make a success of my singlehanded voyage around the world via notorious Cape Horn, was being prepared in hospital for major heart surgery five months ago.

She was very aware that the operation involves a marathon procedure, as I told in a blog in March.

However, that article turned out to be decidedly premature.


Almost as she was being wheeled into the operating theatre, the op was abandoned because of likely Corona virus dangers.

Gerry hasn't spoken this way, but steeling yourself up for a truly serious operation and then having it postponed at the very last moment must challenge the positive attitude of even the bravest.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Heart surgeon Mr Tsang.
And yet for those five months, the good lady held onto her courage, which is especially amazingly as it seemed that most of her family and many friends did their best to talk her out of it.

Brave lady

The brave lady believed that the vital operation to replace two heart valves is really important, and on Wednesday returned to hospital.

Yesterday, surgeon Mr Geoffrey Tsang began the four-hour-plus operation as I stood outside the huge hospital with fingers crossed.

Covid rules ensured that I couldn't be any closer.

This morning, a cheery nurse attending to her, assured me that she is 'doing okay, doing nicely.'

A possibility that Gerry might have to remain sedated for four days has proved unnecessary. Hopefully, before long, she'll be back caring for her extensive and gorgeous garden.

Very best of luck for the recovery, Gerry.

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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