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.

Sincere apologies to a deceased mother who took me as a very little lad out to observe VE Day, the original one. The wonderful lady, Moya Jane, is well remembered.

I wanted to be there in the same place on the docks on this year's VE Day, an almost unbelievable 76 years later.

But I confess this singlehanded circumnavigator let landlubber weather - Southampton’s miserable downpours this week - limit the tribute.

If there might possibly be a hereafter, I’ll apologise in person, er ‘in angel’ – accepting of course that only heavenly costumery will be my Mum’s.

Bombed neighbourhood

Memory doesn’t provide details of how we travelled to Southampton Docks from our thoroughly bombed neighbourhood of Bitterne Park, on the River Itchen, on Tuesday, 8 May, 1945.

However, there we were on the docks, surrounded by sea and a traditionally clouded sky, and a ship or two.

‘The war is over,’ she said as she hugged me, repeating the message excitedly as if the mantra might ensure it would remain true.

It’s interesting to muse for a moment on the notion that my ambition to sail alone around the world via Cape Horn might have come from that significant occasion.

Well, plans of mice and men, as the saying goes, and my intention to be there on the self-same seafront for this year’s VE Day was missed thanks to the weather.

Ironic or shameful

And it’s almost ironic or shameful that this ocean navigator gave up today’s belated journey again due to rain.

A strong Tut tut to me. Sorry, to my Mum.

But to David Lk, ZS, and KK, and many more, thanks enormously for prompting for the return of the Sailing to Purgatory blogs. A memory troubled more than somewhat by Boris's crazy lockdown is at least attempting to return to work.

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure writing. The blogs (as they call 'em) are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory,

Care to comment? You can contact Paul here ⇒⇒ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook.

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