First published in the Yachting Monthly 'Confessions' column circa 1992.
"Weather overcast, chilly Force 3 to 4" says the log 12 years ago. Janis and I are going for a sail on our recently acquired Vivacity 20. We have loaded the miniscule inflatable with too much equipment, strapped an overlarge Seagull outboard on the back and are plowing through the chop to our mooring. Janis gets a rather wet behind keeping the spray off the skipper but we arrive safely and I climb aboard to lift the bags into the cockpit. While unlocking the cabin I hear an expletive and look up to see Janis sprawled across the side-deck and the dinghy in the unlikely posture of standing on its transom. The Seagull was definitely overweight.
After a struggle we get the Seagull into the cockpit and I set about trying to get it running. As we have not yet loaded any spare clothing Janis retires to the cabin, strips to the waist (upwards) and procedes to dry her knickers over the gas cooker.
Half an hour passes while I curse our misfortune and minister to the engine. I am brought up short by a strangled shout of Help!.... Fire!.... and the sound of a fight below. I dive for the cabin hatch, only pausing to tear my shin on the Seagull. Ripping out the washboard, I am faced by the surreal sight of Janis' backside, apparently on fire, issuing smouldering embers which float lazily in the air while Janis dances a jig bent double.
It transpires that, having dried her pants but her jeans still being damp, Janis decided to insulate one from the other by inserting a nappy cunningly contrived from a J-cloth. It was whilst attempting to pull up her vainly tight jeans that the cloth had dangled into the cooker flame with the inevitable consequences.
Suffice to say, the offending article was removed without damage to any of Janis' parts other than her pride and, more importantly, I got the Seagull to go again. We did get to sail for the afternoon and the incident was never mentioned again.