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.

Don't take the critics' words for it, taste Sailing to Purgatory for yourself with this free chapter. Here's Chapter 22 in PDF form, yours for a click.

This chapter portrays a rather rare experience at sea - idyllic sailing, when the elements seem to be with you. It follows a deeply worrying experience in the Bay of Biscay which changes the cruising plan for the swallowing-the-anchor voyage.

The prosecution ignored this part of the voyage and wrote their own script. 'A submarine took off drugs worth millions of pounds.' It was an utter fabrication that cost the UK taxpayer a fortune, and me eight years and two weeks of my life.

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.

Sailing north in Biscay, and caught in a thunderstorm, I discover that the mainsail is split almost in two.

The yacht and I can't hope to reach England with most of the driving power gone. I turn about and sail down towards kinder waters.

Scary circumstances

The passage now becomes almost idyllic, a quite unusual happening on an ocean voyage.

Chapter 22 records how almost everything on the voyage changed with this severe tear in the sail. The yacht and I turned away and went from severe conditions, and a very scary circumstances, to almost blissful sailing.

The chapter records the conditions that so many people sell up to go off cruising to enjoy - yet so seldom experience.

There's a cruel irony at this stage of the journey. The prosecution in the dishonest trial that followed ignored this part of the voyage and wrote their own script.

A submarine

A submarine or a ship approached the yacht and took off drugs to the value of millions of pounds. The revised chapter was a complete fabrication and cost the UK taxpayer a fortune, and me eight years and two weeks of my life.

Originally, I was sentenced to nineteen years, three more than the Lockerbie airline bomber. Two hundred and fifty-nine people on board the New York-bound Boeing 747 were killed, and 11 people on the ground.

Tony had asked for an insight into Sailing to Purgatory. This, Chapter 22, is here for him and for all Blog visitors. Happy reading!

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