A little idea from Yachting World on how to manage those tricky expense claims


The barney that’s going on about MPs’ expenses reminds me of a wonderful – if morally unrelated – story from the Yachting World treasure trove of true anecdotes.

In the late Seventies, Bernard Hayman, then Editor, sailed his 32ft Alan Buchanan-designed Barbican to St Petersburg. This was a pioneering voyage; Barbican was to become the first British vessel to visit Russia since the Second World War.

In order to get his permits Bernard first stopped in Moscow. It was colder than he had anticipated so he bought a fur hat.

Back in YW’s office in London, he completed his expenses for the trip and diligently itemised 1 x fur hat.

Shortly, the form was brought back to him with a note from the publisher that read: ‘You cannot claim for this.’

So Bernard redid his expense claim form. Then he gave it straight back to the publisher, plopping it in his in-tray with the immortal words:

“Now find the fur hat!”