This week, champagne-soaked yachters see Mace ‘lose a man overboard’, guests at a RMJM bash trail away like smoke, Colin Harding doesn’t disappear after all, and we find out what happened to page 68

Overboard – and that was on land

There was adventure on and off the water at this year’s Little Britain challenge cup at the Isle of Wight. Mace and Laing O’Rourke were still in celebratory mood after landing the Olympic delivery partner role and made the most of the champagne and dancing in the main marquee on Friday night. On the water, the Mace boat had less to celebrate after problems with a twisted spinnaker forced it to retire from Friday’s race. Chinese whispers soon began spreading among concerned yachters, culminating in eyewitness accounts of Mace losing a man overboard on Friday, hence the search helicopters flying above.

I am happy to confirm that all members of the crew remained on board their class 2 yacht and were back with fighting spirit the next day.

Botes sails again

Elsewhere at the event, many people were surprised to see the aptly named contractor Botes taking part, despite the fact that it sank into administration in June. The irony of the boat’s name, Vital Spark, was not lost. The strangest sight, however, may well have been a small tribe of Red Indians out on the town on Friday night. To see photographic evidence, and find out what they were doing there, log on to

Neither shy nor retiring

I hear that Colin Harding was a little bemused to read here recently that he would be retiring from the construction industry after he placed an ad for a new managing director for his family-run contractor George & Harding.

Harding informs me that although it is true he wants to spend “a little more time without his family”, he will be diverting his attention to his new modular building venture, Verbus Systems.

Lights go out
Credit: Scott Garrett

Lights go out

Connoisseurs of the high life had plenty to appreciate at RMJM’s 50th birthday bash last Wednesday, hosted at London’s Design Museum. Things got off to a good start with a glass of champagne on arrival, perfect for enjoying the fine collection of historical Formula One racing cars that were on display. But in a bizarre twist, two identical blonde girls were handing out Montecristo No 5 cigars. A grand gesture from the designer, except that the Design Museum has a no smoking policy so guests began disappearing outside to smoke them.

A round with Bob Johnston

While quaffing champagne and eating canapés at the Stanhope party in the Serpentine pavilion last week a colleague of mine learned that Bovis Lend Lease’s global chief executive, the Aussie Bob Johnston, really is a tough guy. Not only is he a straight-talking, no-nonsense manager, back in his days in Queensland he was an amateur boxing champ.

The missing page

Poor Tony Bingham. On Friday morning, leafing through Building he discovered that our repro house had decided to replace half his legal column with a page from our sister magazine Property Week (for observant readers who noticed the unfortunate switch on page 68 last week, the full article is published in this issue’s legal section). Then he was inundated with calls and emails from amused friends and colleagues who were just itching to give him a ribbing. But the final blow came when his own daughter, Billy, who works at law firm Cameron McKenna, rang to laugh raucously down the phone. Heaven help Tony if ever they find themselves on opposite sides of a case and Billy wins.