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Nelson might have found himself in a right pickle waging war in 2005

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Trafalgar, Shoreline Mutual Management found a novel way to pay tribute to Nelson.

Christopher Mayer   |   25 November 2005

We all know talented folk in the shipping and insurance industries who could make a good living on sporting fields, in music, art. In front of the camera.

But few of us get to see these people outside business confines. Those that do speak of unforgettable performances, such as one that took place on the Thames on October 21 while the rest of the world was watching the official pomp and ceremony of the anniversary of Trafalgar.

The main players were John Eagle and Jason Cudlipp. The event? An afternoon on the Thames on board the Millennium of London, departing from and returning four hours later to Tower Pier, by courtesy of Shoreline Mutual Management (Bermuda) and its management team headed by president Marilyn Feldman and new chairman Ed Ross of Zodiac Maritime Agencies, which was celebrating Shoreline's 10th birthday and Bermuda 's Quincentennial.

Guests were invited to "get lost" celebrating the anniversaries and, of course, "enjoy true Bermudian grog and vittals". True to the word, a "riotous and libatious" afternoon - Shoreline's description, not ours - followed.

"The reason we called it the Get Lost Party was tying in the Bermuda Triangle to Shoreline's 10th, Trafalgar's 200th and Bermuda's 500th," explains Feldman.

"The reason for the "triangular" celebrations is because HMS Pickle was a Bermuda-bunt cedar sloop."

Back to story. Eagle, appointed consultant to Shoreline and Arvak at board meetings the day before, was partly thrust into and partly assumed the role of master of ceremonies.

"After lunch," says Feldman, "John did an excellent job of explaining why Nelson won the battle and he had the British Order of Battle document and charts which he painstakingly put together showing the formation of the British Fleet, Trafalgar's location and so on."

After he had finished Eagle recounted "What if it happened In 2005?" along with Jason Cudlipp of Willis. John took the part of Nelson, with Jason as Hardy.

And here it is for those who have not come across it before.

If Nelson's navy had been subject to today's regulatory environment, would the Battle of Trafalgar have proceeded more like this?

"Order the signal, Hardy."

"Aye aye sir."

"Hold on, that's not what I dictated to the signal officer. What's the meaning of this?"

"Sorry sir?"

"England expects every person to do their duty - regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religious persuasion or disability. What sort of gobbledygook is this?"

"Admiralty policy, I'm afraid sir. We're an equal opportunities employer now. We had the devil's own job getting England past the censors, lest it be considered racist."

"Gadzooks Hardy! Hand me my pipe and tobacco."

"Sorry sir. All naval vessels have been designated smoke-free working environments."

"In that case break open the rum rations. Let us splice the mainbrace to steel the men before battle."

"The rum ration has been abolished, Admiral. It's part of the government's policy on binge drinking"

"Good heavens Hardy. I suppose we'd better get on with it. Full speed ahead."

"I think you'll find that there's a four knot speed limit in this stretch of water."

"Damn it man! We're on eve of the greatest sea battle in history. We must advance with all dispatch. Report from the crow's nest please."

"That won't be possible sir."

'What?"

"Health and safety have closed the crow's nest sir. No harness. And they say the rope ladder doesn't meet regulations. They won't let anyone up there until a proper scaffolding can be erected."

"Then get me the ship's carpenter without delay, Hardy."

"He's busy knocking up a wheelchair access to the fo'castle Admiral."

"Wheelchair access? I've never heard anything so absurd."

"Health and safety again sir. We have to provide a barrier free environment for the differently abled."

"Differently abled? I've only one arm and one eye and I refuse to have the word mentioned. I didn't rise to the rank of admiral by playing the disabilty card."

"Actually sir, you did. The Royal Navy is under-represented In the areas of visual impairment and limb deficiency.·

'Whatever next? Give me full sail. The salt spray beckons."

"A couple of problems there too sir. Health and safety won't let the crew up the rigging without crash helmets.

"And they don't want anyone breathing In too much sail - haven't you seen the adverts?"

"I've never heard such infamy. Break out the cannon and tell the men to stand by to engage the enemy."

"The men are worried about shooting at anyone, Admiral."

'What? This Is mutiny."

"It's not that sir. It's just that they're afraid of being charged with murder if they actually kill anyone. There are a couple of legal aid lawyers on board, watching everyone like hawks."

"Then how are we to sink the Frenchies and the Spanish?"

"Actually sir, we're not."

"We're not?"

"No sir. The Frenchies and the Spaniards are our European partners now. According to the Common Fisheries policy we shouldn't even be in this stretch of water. We could get hit for a claim for compensation."

"But you must hate a Frenchman as you hate the devil."

"I wouldn't let the ship's diversity co-ordinator hear you saying that sir. You'Il be up on a disciplinary."

"You must consider every man an enemy who speaks ill of your King."

"Not any more, sir. We must be inclusive In this multicultural age. Now put on your Kevlar vest it's the rules."

"Don't tell me - health and safety. Whatever happened to rum, sodomy and the lash?"

"As I explained sir, rum is off the menu and there's a ban on corporal punishment."

"What about sodomy?"

"I believe it's to be encouraged sir."

"In that case, kiss me Hardy."