And asks about gas safety

It takes a lot to belay a cruising sailor like Princess Anne, but the sea-going royal took one look at the smoking hulk of Yachting Monthly’s shattered Crash Test Boat and said: ‘What should one do about gas safety?’

Chief wrecker Chris Beeson was about to answer when Anne’s husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence stepped in to say : ‘Turn the cooker off manually each time after use.’

The pair were visiting the 58th London Boat Show at ExCel today and made a special detour to visit marketing chief Richard Shead’s imaginatively displayed Jeanneau Sun Fizz 40 ketch or at least the remains of it. The royal couple, who have a new Rustler 44 on order and are selling Blue Doublet, their Rustler 36, were clearly chastened by the YM gas test.

YM editor Paul Gelder was on the stand to introduce Anne to Robert Holbrook, boss of Admiral Insurance, whose company own the wreck. Also joining Anne at the YM stand were RYA CEO Sarah Treseder and Rob Stevens of the British Marine Federation.

Paul said: ‘Anne was very interested in gas safety and was quite amused when I told her we had blown her up with the help of the Royal Navy’s Harry Palmer – nothing to do with the Ipcress File – and Frank Spencer – nothing to do with TV’s Some Mothers Do Have Them.’

The shocking exhibit has dummies depicting one crewman’s lifeless body hanging through the smoking fore-hatch, while the helmsman lies unconscious in the cockpit with horribly twisted limbs turned surreally the wrong way. The boat is minus her coach roof and lays at a 45 degree angle with fire flickering through a cockpit hatch. A catastrophic explosion from a simple meal for two.

Photo by Greg Goulding.