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.

If there is a god of we humans, thank God he is a god or his subjects would have driven him quite mad this month, this year, this eternity.

For instance, in the news at the moment we have the parents of Baby Charlie wanting the child to get every chance to survive, and the State seemingly, through the so-called justice system, saying the opposite.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
To be or not to be ... That is the question for God.

A good man, but - sorry - from what I experienced in that appalling nightmare, I wouldn't look to him nor any of his trade to decide on life and death issues.

At the same time, we have a fellow well on in life, who would like the opportunity of ending his own life legally. Noel Conway, 67, with the ghastly motor neurone disease, wants a doctor to be allowed to prescribe a lethal dose when his health takes a further plunge.

As opposite as they are, both are very worthy causes and yet both have their critics.

A slight chance

The people speaking against Noel's desire remind us of not so well-meaning relations, who might be only too pleased to bully Gran or Gramps into agreeing to an early end, with a will that doesn't really express the soon-to-die's own will.

Those against a slight chance for Baby Charlie, say the chance is too slight - because representatives of the State say so.

Perhaps I shouldn't say this, but who do we turn to for wisdom these days to represent the State? The judges! I saw a senior judge, and he saw me, day after day for more than 18 months. With all the pre-trial appearances, it was probably for more than two years.

Yet when it came time for sentencing, the representative of that position we seemingly look up to for God-like wisdom sent me off to prison for a longer term than a convicted airliner bomber allegedly responsible for 270 deaths.

Misguided and uneducated

No matter how misguided and uneducated the jury, when he looked at the yacht's log book, when he compared the yacht's positions on an Admiralty chart, he would have seen the impossibility of the charge against me.

I wonder whether I should be openly critical of the judge because I confess I liked him, and I thought he tried to make the best of the nonsensical drugs laws of Tricky Dickie. A good man, but - sorry - from what I experienced in that appalling nightmare, I wouldn't look to him nor any of his trade to decide on life and death issues. And whatever arguments are thrown at us, who are better judges of a baby's needs than well-meaning parents?

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