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.

A baby suffering a fatal condition, parents desperate to help the child, a huge number of supporters who have donated a fortune to help, and English justice will decide if the baby is to live or die. English justice?

The Pope supports the parents’ campaign to allow the child to have some experimental treatment in the US that might bring improvements – Charlie inherited a faulty RRM2B gene. Allegedly Trump or one of his Twitter team has offered the president’s support, too, though whether that is much of a help might be another matter.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
Judge-mental ... Should 'justice' decide on a baby's life? - With many thanks to Joey Thompson and Unsplash.

The baby is in Great Ormond Street Hospital on life-support which the hospital wants to end. Naturally, the parents, believing the US treatment might help, and may well let the baby live, don’t want life-support to end.

And here the child’s fate is in court with a judge to decide on the life or death scenario, even though Britain gave up a long time ago capital punishment when judges decided whether to hang a defendant or not.

I've been there

I’m commenting on the story because I’ve been there and witnessed the process of English justice – the envy of the world – for a year and a half, in England’s longest criminal trial.

When it came to summing up in my alleged part in the nonsense of a crime, a crime I couldn’t possibly have been guilty of, the judge told the jury this.

‘…. It is the Prosecution's case that Rodgers changed direction on that date … because of a tip-off. … You now have evidence from a number of defence witnesses which establishes, … that what he did was perfectly understandable and navigationally speaking, … reflected both a reasonable and responsible course of action.’

When the totally misled jury returned a guilty verdict, the judge said …’ … Your past character was exemplary. You have talents which many would envy, you write and above all you are a distinguished and highly experienced yachtsman.

… But for your age the sentence would have been twenty-two years. I will reduce that to … nineteen years ….’

When I returned to the cell in top security HMP Belmarsh, I heard on the news that the fellow found guilty of the Lockerbie airliner bombing which took 270 lives was serving 17 years.

Yet we leave the decision of whether a baby lives or dies to what we call English justice ….

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