THE RUM Jungle was once chartered by Hugh Hefner and an assortment of his Playboy bunnies, when the ageing porn baron came to London for his eightieth birthday celebrations.

But on Saturday, it was the turn of Aberdeen Asset Management’s seafaring chief executive Martin Gilbert to hop aboard the 75-foot gin palace, as part of the fund manager’s corporate entertainments as the sponsor of Cowes Week.

Gilbert, who climbed aboard for lunch between racing the Extreme 40 catamaran sponsored by AAM, claimed ignorance of the Playboy connection – “If only I’d known that, I would have enjoyed myself more” – remaining on-brand about the fund manager’s debut sponsorship of the regatta. “Obviously, the racing is the key part of the whole thing,” he told The Capitalist. “The social element is important but secondary.”

Not so secondary, though, that Gilbert couldn’t make an appearance at that evening’s Royal Yacht Squadron Raj-themed ball, where he sat next to “the lovely” designer Amanda Wakeley and talked tides, tactics and turbans with the Indian headdress-wearing John Grandy, chairman of the Cowes organising committee, and Wakeley’s partner Hugh Morrison, co-founder of financial PR firm M:Communications.

Also spotted in the marina were Jamie Matheson, the Brewin Dolphin executive chairman who owns the old Morning Glory II yacht; Mike Slade, the chief executive of property developer Helical Bar and the owner of Leopard, “the most eye-catching boat on the water”; and “keen sailors” from Rothschild, ICAP, Cazenove, Artemis and JP Morgan.

“Half the UK’s wealth under management is here at Cowes,” observed Berry Asset Management’s chief executive Jamie MacLeod, the former chief executive of the regatta’s previous sponsor Skandia.

A CROWD of more than 100 bankers gathered outside Gaucho in Broadgate Circle last Thursday night to watch the final of the inaugural petanque championship organised by City A.M. and Veuve Clicquot.

Martin Williams, operations director at Gaucho, and his famous labradoodle Hudson watched as the four players from Oil Brokerage took an early lead, before a “rousing” motivational speech from Sam Torrance, ex-Ryder Cup captain and City A.M. golf columnist, helped his side “refocus and regroup”.

The final score: 13/12 to City A.M. – despite the “havoc” caused by Hudson – who each won a healthy supply of Veuve Clicquot champagne and their own boules set. “It wasn’t a fix; they genuinely played well,” said a Gaucho mole, who says the championship will be back even bigger next year, scaled up to 32 team places from this year’s eight.