From the Editor: September 2005

That settles it. The good Lord must be a yottie or at very least a firm proponent of Murphy's law

That settles it. The good Lord must be a yottie or at very least a firm proponent of Murphy?s law. How else do you explain the sequence of events that befell the MBY boat at the Trafalgar 200 Fleet Review in June?

It all started well enough with a flawless rehearsal on the Monday followed by an early muster for the crew the following day. Prospector VII, MBY?s stunning silver Sunseeker St Tropez, looked every one of her £243,836. With our new technical writer Ray Sargood at the helm, and most of the MBY crew along to capture the day, we set out to join our competition winners in the official sailpast.

The cruise out from the Hamble was an event in itself. At times the ranks of warships and flotillas of spectator boats were so tightly packed you could barely see water between them. We weaved our way through the fleet and into position. A quick nudge of reverse to set the anchor and all would be well. Except that at the crucial moment our starboard engine died. A check of the gauges revealed nothing out of the ordinary so we reset the system and tried again. The engine fired up and the outdrive leg slotted into reverse. And that?s where it stayed regardless of the throttle?s commands, thanks to a dead actuator and a worn cable.

Good timing. Still, all we had to do was switch the starboard engine off and use the port one instead, right? Well, yes ? but no prizes for guessing which engine drives the power-steering pump. The boat was still steerable but only just. If we took part in the sailpast we would either have to sidle past the Queen?s vessel with both engines locked in battle or try to manhandle it through the jostling fleet on one engine with limited steerage. Her Majesty would not have been amused. We had no option but to put our photographer and news writer on board the Motor Boats Monthly sistership and limp for home. Even in this state it was an extraordinary privilege to be out on the water, drinking in the atmosphere of this momentous day.

We were all but home and dry when the good Lord played his trump card: a thunderstorm over our heads of such epic proportions that it made the evening?s stunning fireworks display seem tame. Soaked, exhausted and buzzing from the day?s events, we finally made it back to our berth. I did try asking the Royal Navy whether they?d mind restaging the event for us the following week but apparently some of the ships were a little busy. Guess we?ll just have to wait another 200 years.

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