Navy Admits to Floaty Boat Gaffe

Sunken boat

Royal Navy chiefs are facing embarrassment after taking delivery of a new frigate with a major flaw. According to official reports, the ship, which has cost the taxpayer something in excess of two hundred billion squillion pounds, cannot float.

"Yes, that was a bit of a goof," said Rear Admiral Sir Percy Funny-Surname. "Being a naval man, I am of course fully aware that one of the basic requirements of any seagoing vessel is that it should be able to float. I am not stupid. That was one of the first things they taught us at Rear Admiral School. The thing is, when we first went and spoke to the shipbuilding chaps they showed us this wonderful model floating in a display tank. We thought it was marvellous - all painted up nice with little people on the deck and everything. Of course, we placed our order straightaway. Thing is, that model was made of balsa wood; the real thing is made of steel, which as any naval man will tell you is far less floaty. Bit of an oversight on our part."

Critics, of whom there are many, blame the Royal Navy for not fully evaluating the contractor before placing the order. The company chosen to build the vessel, McKenzie's Crips, had no previous experience of shipbuilding, as their managing director freely admits.

"Well, we make crisps," explained Kerry Starch when we asked her to comment. "But we were keen to diversify. Our company has a 'can-do' attitude, and this is why we have come to dominate the crisp market. We were, after all, the company that introduced jam-flavoured crisps, so we figured that building a silly old boat was going to be a breeze."

Having a 'can-do' attitude is admirable but what this project demonstrated beyond all doubt is that what the company can't do is build boats. Kerry freely admits that they overreached themselves.

"I think the problem is that we're used to working with potato," she says. "Potato is very much our medium. If we'd been asked to build a boat out of potato I think to story would have been very different. But, alas, the navy specifically requested a frigate made out of steel. All things considered, I don't think we did badly. Yes, we had our setbacks - initially, whenever we put the boat in the water it sank. Then, when we stopped putting it in the water, it hardly ever sank at all. So really, you could say that the boat was fine and that it was the navy's fault for putting it in the water. I suppose. Couldn't you?"

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