When you hire a 44-foot yacht, and the yacht is named Bertie, it is totally reasonable to be disappointed when you find that it does not automatically come equipped with a dapper, discreet and impeccable butler, y/y? Preferably played by Stephen Fry? Yeah, that's what I thought too.
Despite the lack of butler, we managed to celebrate gin o'clock on a daily basis. We also sailed/motored from Plymouth to Helford River at night. I got up for the early morning shift with Cap'n Rob, pictured above. He suggested that I have a go at helming. I probably should have realised that this was not the best choice to make just after we entered a thick fog bank and visibility was reduced to about 100 metres. Cap'n assured me he was keeping an eye on the radar and that he would let me know if anything came up.
You can guess what's coming, right? Well, I didn't. Instead, I had the sort of experience you expect to see in a naval war film. A red mist began to materialize just off the port bow. As my petrified brain managed to quantify it as a shape, a solid shape, a very big solid shape, I found my voice. "Rob," I called carefully and calmly, "What is that?"
He bounded up the steps from the navigation table, wrenched the tiller out of my frozen hands, swung it hard to starboard, revved the engine and roared, "So that's what's been on the radar for the last ten minutes!"
It was a tanker.