The Shipping Forecast has become so obsessed with fives and sixes this summer it's starting to sound like Test Match Special, with England defending a slender lead and Lara at the crease.

The Shipping Forecast has become so obsessed with fives and sixes this summer it’s starting to sound like Test Match Special, with England defending a slender lead and Lara at the crease. The two to five-day synoptic chart faxes on my desk are so liberally festooned with jagged fronts and wobbly isobars that I had to check the date, in case they were an April Fool by the met-men or something left over from February.

It’s beginning to look like Britain’s summer of 2000 is going down in history as the one with three nice days in July (which, with perfect timing, coincided with the MBY Festival of Power, and one hot Saturday in August.

You will have guessed, of course, that all this profitless fretting about the weather has a purely selfish origin. I’m supposed to be taking Prospector across to France tomorrow. Planing hulls are apt to make intrepid adventurers of us all, because no matter how capable your boat, there’s just no doubt that things are more comfortable for the crew if it’s flat. A choppy day and a high-performance boat like some of the ones featured in our special feature this month can be sheer enjoyment, but unless you’re a total offshore maniac it will start to pall after an hour or two. If there’s a long trip to be done, I like to wait until the wind has died off to a zephyr and the sea stretches to the horizon as perfectly flat and reflective as a Saharan mirage, its oil-slick perfection interrupted only by schools of gambolling dolphins and my own arrow-straight wake while the butler mixes cocktails for the Bond girls on the sunpad. But that’s not, I fear, what we have in store tomorrow.