Motor Boats Monthly reader Richard Smith was yesterday awarded a Suzuki powered Suzumar RIB worth £2,386 for his Confessions story in the September 2003 edition of the magazine.

Motor Boats Monthly reader Richard Smith was the lucky winner of a Suzuki rigid inflatable package in our Confessions competition for the best boating howler.

Smith, from Gloucester, won a Suzamar RIB and Suzuki 9.9 4-stroke outboard with his confession of how he tried to speed off from a pontoon while still attached to shore power.

Hapless Smith had brought his entire family down for the day – the grand launch of his new Bayliner – but instead succeeded in almost destroying the craft, as well as a yacht moored nearby. To cap it all, his Aunt fell overboard as the boat shot forward unexpectedly.

He told all in a series run by MBM in conjunction with Suzuki, where owners were invited to reveal their most glaring boating mistakes.

An overjoyed Smith was presented his prize at the Schroders London Boat Show by Suzuki UK sales and marketing manager Richard Whittaker and Suzuki’s Export and Marking Manager Mr Nakajima, who attended the show especially for the handover, and MBM Boat Test Editor Carl Richardson.

Smith said: “I am really excited to receive this fantastic boat and I am really impressed with it. It is a great package and I am surprised by how big it is. It looks very safe.”

The craft’s deep vee and spacious deck makes for a perfect runabout for Smith’s young family on the River Avon.

Nakajima said: “I am pleased to see Suzuki UK helping families get into boating.”

Hook, Wine & Sinker

Following many years of struggling to make ends meet financially, my restaurant business finally became successful and, for the first time in my life, I found myself with money in my pocket.

Being the stereotypical ‘nouveau riche’, I wanted everyone else to be able to recognise this achievement, and what better way to show off one’s money than to buy a yacht?

Since I didn’t know the first thing about boats, a sailing vessel would be out of the question, so I decided on a motoryacht. I presumed that helming this would be just like driving a large car but on the water.

I purchased a beautiful 35ft Bayliner, and found a mooring for her in a marina in Ambleside, on Windermere, where I could show her off to the passing tourists. Then I invited all my friends and family over for the bank holiday weekend, for what was to be her maiden voyage.

I welcomed them all on board with a glass of champagne and, after giving them the grand tour of the vessel, I fired up her twin engines. A small crowd had gathered on the jetty to wave us off, and I gave them a confident wave, in the manner of the captain of a large liner, before easing the throttles forward. The boat drew gracefully away.

After a couple of feet, she stopped suddenly, for no apparent reason.

I checked around the decks. All the mooring lines were untied. So I went back to the helm and tried to pull away again. Still the boat refused to budge.

I gradually edged the throttles forward. A little more power. A little more…

Whoosh! With a loud searing noise, the whole shorepower outlet was ripped clean off the jetty and flew into the air, closely followed by my Auntie Betty, who had been leaning on it eating an ice-cream.

Released from its manacles, the boat roared forward at break-neck speed, sending my guests flying across the deck like skittles. With a splintering of fibreglass, she came to rest only 20ft away, embedded in the bow of a sailing yacht, which was once someone’s pride and joy but was now rapidly sinking.

My new boat was extensively damaged. The sailing yacht was a total write-off. The entire marina was without power for three days. And Auntie Betty was rescued from the water by a very nice young man who was out walking his dog.

And all because I had forgotten to disconnect the shorepower lead. So, with apologies to public safety adverts of the 1970s promoting the wearing of car seatbelts, the moral of the story is: unclip, every trip.

Illustration byMichael Terry