Sting in the tail

To be hailed as the most ordinary fellow in England must take some beating and reminds me of a by-line used by an old Fleet Street colleague, Plain John Smith, who used once to write for the Sunday People when it was still a newspaper.

What shakes us prosaic folk is when our bog standard  behaviour causes an online tsunami. Us dullards expect to scuttle along the mean streets of the UK’s ports unnoticed and I hope to step aboard our seafaring folks’ craft without pomp, but this time there have been circumstances.

And they are that after making the admittedly rather glib remark: ‘I believe that very few yachts under 40ft LOA should have an aft cabin,’ that this an example of an ordinary bloke being ‘snotty’.

This is a pity because I am probably the greatest fan of small boats and small boat sailing on Yachting Monthly. To date my happiest sailing days were aboard a 26ft engineless cutter, Almita, (pictured) in which I explored the harbours of the Frisian Islands in the north through Holland, Belgium and northern France.

I now own a Contessa 32 and will never buy a bigger boat as I don’t need one: she will take me on all the adventures I hope one day to have the time  to achieve.

I am never impressed by aft cabins. Even on the biggest yacht they still are not big enough: they masquerade as state rooms, when they are not. They strike me as pretentious and in a seaway they are the last place you want to be (after the focs’le).

Even the aft cabin inhabited by one Horatio Nelson only had just about enough room to swing his hammock and I’ll lay money the good admiral – who suffered badly from seasickness – kept well out of it unless  in port.