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.

What a weird world! We Brits are lucky enough to be born in a country whose justice system is the envy of the world.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Symbolic ... Keeping justice supreme, suposedly. The Royal Courts of Justice in London's West End.
We believe in justice, don't we, and hold its importance very high indeed.

What an encouragement to know it and to have known it since, probably, we first attended school.

What a surprise, though, to discover that maybe, perhaps, it isn't altogether true.

Regulars here will know the story well: Your blogger was ambushed 21 years and 22 days ago, and charged with smuggling a vast amount of drugs into England.


The charge alleged I imported it into the country on my swallowing-the-anchor voyage which followed half my working life as a fully qualified DoT commercial yachtsman.

I planned to land on the South Coast, probably Plymouth, but the mainsail tore in the Bay of Biscay. I had little choice, given the time of year and the inescapable fact that the Channel is the world's busiest shipping lane, but to turn back south.

I couldn't have done the smuggling, and wouldn't have, and certainly didn't.

I served eight years and a fortnight before release. The State nabbed my property, my gorgeous but very modest yacht, my life-savings. In all that time since, I have fought to clear my name. However, there seems to be no path to follow to have the trial reviewed.
However, the since-disbanded customs department needed a yachtsman to support their claims about a London 'gang' they had arrested and were holding in prison.

Allegedly esteemed

It is hard to believe that with our at least alleged esteemed justice system they won the case – held in camera – and had me sentenced to 19 years imprisonment.

I served eight years and a fortnight before release. The State nabbed my property, my gorgeous but very modest yacht, my life-savings.

In all that time since, I have fought to clear my name.

However, there seems to be no path to follow to have the trial reviewed.

No encouragement from the, er, legal team, and no encouragement nor even acknowledgement from charities supposedly specialising in injustice.

An anniversary

A year ago, I turned to Sir Ed Davey, local MP and now leader of the Liberal Party. He kindly met me at the local HQ and heard the details.

That was at 0810 a year ago tomorrow, 23 September. Admittedly, some major national challenges have happened since then, but not a glimmer of hope is offered.

Surely there is a way to get injustice reviewed in a country so famed for fairness. Be very, very grateful to discover it.

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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