13 SEPTEMBER 2003, Page 87

Q. I have been invited to spend a week on

a friend's .. . this is the trouble. I don't know whether to say yacht or boat. Can you put me straight, Mary? Or should I write to Taki? B.P., Wootton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire A. Let me lighten Taki's load since he is unusually busy at the moment. Strictly speaking you should say 'boat'. Indeed that is how owners themselves seem to refer to the conveyances. However, your confiision is understandable, because most guests like to use the word 'yacht' in conversation. It is a means of ensuring that their interlocutors get the picture: