In Many Happy Returns, were those two men simply gun-runners, or agents of the village shadowing the Prisoner aboard his raft? I've often wondered. I mean to say if No.6 was so important to the villages administration, the reason why he resigned, and seeing No.6 having a future with them, it seems an awful risk to take. They could easily have lost No.6 at sea. So it would have been prudent insurance to have No.6 shadowed. After all the two so assumed gun-runners did turn up at a providential moment, No.6 having collapsed into unconsciousness. Having been at sea for twenty-five days. Sleeping only four out of each twenty-four hours. Wearing no weather proof clothing - No.6 should have been suffering from exposure, hypothermia even.
Just a minute, just a minute. When No,6 was asleep for four hours, what was happening to the raft? No.6 had no drift-anchor to help hold the rafts course, no automatic steering while he was asleep, which means the raft would have drifted miles, and miles off course in those four hours!
And don't forget that the motor cruiser in Many Happy Returns is the same motor cruiser M.S. Polotska in Checkmate.