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.

The gym's open again, albeit to strange hours, but at least it allows me to get active and to get fit – back into training, in other words - for my plan to sail alone around our globe via Cape Horn a second time.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Fair weather trials ... Pentax enjoyed the fine weather, but of course sailing round Cape Horn offers conditions that are rather more challenging.
Perhaps, wisely applying seafaring superstition, I should add the words 'to try' to sail around the world a second time.

I had been planning to set off from Plymouth next September.


However, the dreaded plague and the government's ideas of lockdown have certainly stymied that possibility.

Not having much choice about it, I have to set departure day for a year later, September 2022.

The longer it's put off, delayed, the greater the risk that time itself will steal my chance to achieve that goal.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
A downwind handful ... The good ship Pentax carried a lot of canvas off the wind, but the lone skipper needed to keep a constant eye to the weather.
I need to find a sponsor, which obviously won't be easy, and once that good fortune is achieved, I have to find a suitable yacht.

Happily and very usefully, I know exactly the type of sailer I need, her dimensions and shape and her sail-plan.

Demands of age

I was fairly careful to make sure that I circumnavigated safely last time, but age means I have to be very much more aware this time.

I couldn't and I won't pursue the circumnavigation notion unless I believe there's a very good chance of succeeding.

I wouldn't want to risk the lives of others who might feel obliged to rescue me, should the voyage go wrong.

Not that the philosophy is new for it's always been my feeling with all voyages I've sailed, including my years as a professional DoT Ocean Yachtmaster.

Not like Pentax

She would be, if I may be excused a spot of emphasis, N O T H I N G really like Spirit of Pentax, the homebuilt job that took me around before.

(I was grateful for her faithful efforts. But we both learned quite soon that rugged voyaging of that nature was rather too demanding.)

I think my story of the circumnavigation, Loner, shows why. This one will be a simple sloop, about 40ft in length, stripped out and no engine.

I expect to be away for a minimum of perhaps eight months or so and would expect to be able to cope, just as, put to the test, we all could.

In a way the current plague is putting us all to the test. If we can cope with government demands for isolation, we could all manage long solo voyages.

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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