Salty tales of life on the briny as the industry hauls on the bowline and splices its mainbraces for four days of maritime amusement at Little Britain

Controversial comedy

Greetings from the ever-expanding Little Britain sailing extravaganza, which again proved a hit with the industry’s sea dogs, as well as those who turned up for the après-sail activity. I hear the main social event, the gala dinner – which was, apparently, the biggest sit-down meal ever held in the Isle of Wight – went a bit more smoothly than last year’s where, as you’ll recall, alternative comedian Tim Clark was bottled off the stage. This year’s host, Tom O’Connor, may have been a little old school for some tastes, however. He resurrected some Irish jokes, sang the Just One Cornetto song, then finished off his set with You’ll Never Walk Alone. “Some of the nearby tables started singing along. I think they were a bit embarrassed for him,” one onlooker said.

The cruel sea
I must extend my sympathies to a couple of Little Britain attendees who ended up in the sick bay. Michael Whitwell, White Young Green’s southern region boss, took a tumble into the water after tripping over a winch on his firm’s boat. A guest on Building’s boat also took a painful knock on the hip during his sail on Saturday. It’s a tough old game, this sailing lark.

Back from the dead
I hear some eyebrows were raised at the appearance of Brian Tripp and Matt Bray, the joint founders of fit-out contractor Spectrum Projects, at the event, given that it is just weeks since the firm bit the dust. I hear Tripp also took a tumble out of the Mitie boat, ironically called Born Slippy, during a high speed tack by the boat in Saturday’s race. Given that Mitie was a creditor of the now defunct Spectrum, one must surely wonder whether it was entirely accidental.

The Lion sleeps tonight
Red faces all round at Sir Robert McAlpine, whose boat, the Lion, ended up running aground during racing at Little Britain on Friday.

Tight smiles all round
Ken Shuttleworth’s interesting first year as an independent continues. I gather that Kenneth was one of the judges at the RIBA’s London region awards. And last week, at the prizegiving dinner at the Empress State Building, it was his happy duty to present a prize to Foster and Partners for … Swiss Re, aka the Erotic Gherkin – a building that I understand Ken himself had a hand in. If anyone is concerned about conflicts of interest, our man was replaced by Eric Parry when that particular structure was assessed by the judges.

Mrs Peter Rogers
A quick mention must go out to the Stanhope 20th birthday bash at the refurbished Treasury building. The industry’s great and good were treated to some wise words from founder and former CABE chairman Stuart Lipton. Later on I bumped into fellow Stanhope man Peter Rogers who was a little miffed about the name tag for his spouse: “Barbara Stanhope Peter’s wife”.

Not wisely, but too well
Not wisely, but too well
Word reaches me of entertaining tomfoolery on the Little Britain boat of tile supplier Domus on Friday night. Undeterred by the fact that everyone else had turned in or passed out, the crew performed increasingly energetic air guitar solos to Queen, with all amps turned up to 11. The fun only stopped when a bleary-eyed official appeared at 5am and told them to shut it. Despite some fairly robust hangovers the next day, the crew then went on to perform creditably in Saturday's race, albeit distracted by the contrite letter they would shortly have to write to the Little Britain authorities.