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.

Home - at last! - home sweet home, where the houseplants have somehow survived a lounge drought, the bills, election promises, and a hundred broadband and TV offers, resemble the Himalayas under the letter flap. Back in time, importantly, to put jetlag on hold while I cycled to the polling booth to offer a desperate vote for relative sanity.

Mutilation of the language by a few of the captains is tough on the ears. More disturbing, though, is what might happen in an emergency.

Jetlag, and long-distance coughs, catarrh, and sneezing from Economy's germs continue, the political scene seems only more desperate, and as if in sympathy, my local Sainsbury's has marked up the price of most of the needs in my modest shopping list. 'Sorry, guv, but pre-tax profits was down eight per cent to only £50 million for the year.'

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Busyness of the Turks ... It's dawn at Istanbul airport, and as ever it's packed.

But it's good to be home, and especially good to have arrived with the new story all but ready for a publisher's eyes. Or, more possibly, publishers' eyes.

I mentioned that I'd do the final read-through on the very long flight - 11 hours plus to Constantinople, then four hours or so to London. However, as ever Economy was all about economy of space, and to read the manuscript would have meant sharing it along the cramped row.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Come and get it ... After a hard night of long distance flying, breakfast comes king-sized, and is delicious.

It's better, though, to let a week or so pass so the story is a little less typeset in memory. In the meantime, I'm thinking of the sequel for 'Sailing to Purgatory' - ambush, imprisonment for the very long wait till the farcical trial began, then the longest criminal trial in England, before the deluded jury's words, delivered appropriately in a fine sub-class accent, an' that.

True - no embroidery necessary.

Excellent Turkish Airlines flights, by the by. It's a good airline, with a really gifted pilot on the flight south who brought the Airbus into Cape Town with the smoothest landing I've ever experienced in a lifetime of international flights.

But, oh, if only Turkish Airlines ensured the pilots were as familiar with the English language as their helpful cabin crew.

The mutilation of the language by a few of the captains is tough on the ears. More disturbing, though, is what might happen in an emergency. Hopefully, there'd be time for a stewardess to interpet for the captain so English-speaking passengers could know what's happening, too.

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