Programme Autumn 2017

Talks begin at 8.15pm, bar and coffee open from 7.30pm

Wednesday October 11th

Dianne Mannering

Send Us Some Women

When the Governor of Australia wrote home to Lord Sydney (yes, that's why it's called Sydney) asking for some women, he was sent Newgate Gaol's worst offenders. This is the story of their amazing sea voyage and how these unprepossessing women reinvented themselves to help found Australia.  More details

Wednesday October 18th

Jules and Vanessa Dussek

Cruising the Inland Waterways of France

In 2006 Jules and Vanessa took their Southerly 115 through the French inland waterways to the Mediterranean, a retirement dream, and returned a couple of years ago. They will tell us about 2000 miles of rivers, locks, villages, cities, eating and drinking.  We can learn what is involved in making such a trip successful. More details

Wednesday October 25th

John Blake


John served in the Royal Navy and reserve for 16 years, leaving as Lieutenant Commander. He developed an interest in maritime history and has published several beautifully produced books on sea charts and other related topics. In recognition of his authorship, he was elected to the Royal Institute of Navigation. He will tell us about the development and roles of charts in navigation and war. More details

Wednesday November 1st

Bernie Smallman - Why we go Sailing

Paul Farrell - Two Summers in Spain

Two presentations from GXSA members on their 2016/17 summer cruises. Lots of good bits but also what went wrong !...   More details

This is a programme change

Wednesday November 8th

Sue and Bob Garrett

Baltic and Back in a Season

Bob and Sue will tell us about their 6 month tour of the Baltic, starting from and returning to the Solent. They visited 9 countries and got as far as St Petersburg. How they prepared, the route and practicalities - everything you need to know for your sailing trip to the Baltic..  More details

Wednesday November 15th

Tony Roome

Massey Shaw

The Massey Shaw was built in 1935 to fight fires in London Docks and along the Thames, playing an important role in WW2  in the City of London and at Dunkirk. The vessel was recently refurbished and we shall learn about her history, current role and educational work planned for her future.  More details

Wednesday November 22nd

Colin Palmer

Speed Sailing

Colin collaborated with Malcolm Barnsley on the design and construction of high speed sailing boats, one of which was a forerunner to the record beating Vestas Sailrocket. How can it be that a kiteboarder can keep pace with an America’s Cup cat? What was it about Sailrocket, the current world record holder, that enabled it to reach 70 knots and could even higher speeds be possible - maybe 100 knots?   More details

Wednesday November 29th

Herbie Battye

Oil & Gas projects in Ice Covered Waters

After serving 20 years at sea, Capt ‘Herbie’ Battye worked ashore for an oil major in marine terminal and marine projects. The latter included shipping oil and gas from cold and ice covered regions. Tonight he discusses the projects and developments that are making this a reality and the complications of navigating in ice covered waters.   More details

Wednesday December 6th

Dick Leedham

Reminiscences of a Mariner

Dick Leedham joined the Merchant Navy at the age of 16 as a deck officer apprentice and was at sea for 17 years. He now runs his own company, specialising in on board navigation training. He sails his Westerly Solway - which he has had since 1981 - on the south coast. Dick will tell us about some of the more amusing things which happened to him during his time at sea.  More details

Wednesday December 13th

Cast Off for Christmas

Members and their guests will enjoy the usual short presentations about sailing incidents, photo competition, quiz and festive entertainment, all accompanied by snacks and mulled wine. This will be a special Cast Off, supported by a kind donation from the will of Peter Batterley, former member of GXSA.

Please get your photos ready for the photo competition. Boats and Sailing, Scenic and Humorous categories; prints no larger than A5 or email the photo to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Programme Spring 2018

Talks begin at 8.15pm, bar and coffee open from 7.30pm

Wednesday January 10th

Geoff Selley

Shackleton – The greatest story ever told

Geoff Selley will recreate the original lantern slide lecture given by a member of Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 – 17 Antarctic Expedition. His presentation tells the extraordinary story of the survival of the ill-fated expedition using original wordsMore details

Wednesday January 17th

Paul Barnett

Disaster Waiting - the Severn Bridge Disaster

The tragic tail of the 1960 destruction of the  Severn Bridge by two run away tankers. The talk will unravel several bridge myths and present recently unearthed documentary evidence relating to the bridge.     More details

Wednesday January 24th

John Rugg

Sailing the Baltic

John Rugg will tell how he and two other GXSA members brought his new boat home via the Kiel Canal, Friesian Islands and Netherlands inland waterways standing mast route. This was through the Ijsselmeer, down to the Westerscheld and back home via Dunkirk and the Channel in what became a F7.   More details

Wednesday January 31st

Bob and Elaine Hazell

Sailing the Indian Ocean

Bob and Elaine return from their successful circumnavigation to tell us about crossing the Indian ocean. The talk will focus on the sailing aspects, their chosen route, some of the many high points together with what went wrong and how they recovered – and the lessons learnt!   More details

Wednesday February 7th

Tom Sowerby  -  First Aid at Sea

Peter May - Accessible Sailing for All

Both from Bisham Abbey Sailing School, Tom and Peter will update us on nautical First Aid and tell us about current efforts to provide opportunities for people with a wide range of disabilities to enjoy sailing and other activities on the waterMore details

Wednesday February 14th

Royal Navy

What your Navy is doing - and why it matters !

A team of Officers, sailors and royal Marines, all of whom have been on active service, will explain what they do, how they do it, where they do it and what the future holds. They will be willing to answer any questions you may have. This will be followed by a short presentation by

John Apps

Saved from the RNLI

Entering the Western Approaches with salt water  in your engine fuel system, why would you call out the RNLI just because it is blowing a gale? All you have to do is find a quiet anchorage to fix the problem. Why put the Penlee lifeboat at risk again?    More details for both talks

Wednesday February 21st

Chris Tarratt

The Mutiny on the Bounty and the Loss of the Vergulde Draeck

Chris will describe how these famous events happened and the survival of some of the crews.  Although more than 100 years apart, both these events are about getting to safety in an open boat over a large tract of sea.   More details

Emily Gillespie's talk has been postponed

Wednesday February 28th

David Horn

Old Father Thames: Cruising the non-tidal Thames

Based in Marlow, GXSA members Marion and David  have explored the noble river from Teddington to the limit of navigation in their 27’ motor cruiser ‘Naiad’. David will delve into history, literature, locks, bridges, boats and wildlife while ‘cruising’ along.   More details

Wednesday March 7th

David Bray

Battle of the Atlantic - Convoys and Corvettes

Captain David Bray, a Master mariner, tells the story of the desperate struggle to defeat the menace of the U-boats to Atlantic Convoys in World War 2 and preserve the essential supply of food and fuel. It is a tribute to the Merchant Seamen who gave their lives manning this lifeline. More details

Wednesday March 14th

AGM, followed by

Review of the Year and a look forward to the coming sailing season and events.

Agenda and more details

Autumn 2006

Channel Islands and North Brittany

Peter Cumberlidge, writer and journalist returns to share his extensive knowledge on the delights and challenges of sailing in and around the Channel Islands and Brittany.

Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent

Commander K Carter - QHM Portsmouth, will talk about his roles of managing the harbour and in particular the challenge and the success of the Fleet Review in 2005, as well as his work as vice chairman of the Solent Forum.

2004/5 Global Challenge - Imagine it Done

Sian Hankinson, daughter of one of our members shares her adventures as the deputy skipper/crew boss during her circumnavigation with Dee Caffari against the prevailing winds and currents.

Laying up Supper

Fish and Chip supper with an interesting evenings of members tales recounting challenges, memorable times and the odd confession whilst sailing or motor cruising.

The Adventures of the ARC

GXSA member Chris Monahan will talk about his experiences in preparing for and participating in the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers

The Extraordinary Voyages of Captain James Cook

Paul Covell, club member and round the world sailor gives a fascinating illustrated talk on the greatest cartographer, navigator and seaman of the 18th century and his voyages of exploration.

Triumph and Tragedy - tales from Artic Greenland

The Reverend Bob Shepton returns to tell us about his summer expedition to the north of Greenland, getting furthest north of any yacht in Greenland, over wintering there and the subsequent tragedy - the loss of his boat and his last roll of film.

CSS Alabama 1862 -1864

A screw sloop of war built for the confederacy - we learn about her amazing history and how she finally sank whilst under fire from USS Kearsarge in Cherbourg. Our speaker is Devian Watson from the Liverpool maritime Museum.

30 Years Before the Mast

An illustrated talk by GXSA member, Wolfgang Ansorge about his experience and voyaging on a wide variety of tall ships and traditional sailing vessels 1975-2005

Cast off for Christmas

Our traditional members' evening of yarns, light entertainment and mince pies and the judging of our season's photographs ahead of the Christmas break.

Autumn 2007

Uffa Fox Association

Tony Dixon tells of Uffa's adventures when he was Scout Master of the Cowes Sea scouts in 1921, including taking the scouts to France, up the Seine nearly to Paris and back in an open whaler without the parents knowing where they had gone.

SS Terra Nova - Whaler, Sealer and Polar Exploration Ship

Mike Tarver talks of the exploits over sixty years of this remarkable vessel including those with the Captain Scott Expeditions, covered in his new book.

From North Atlantic Drama to South Atlantic High

Explorer and Adventurer Jonathan Blain recounts surviving a shipwreck in the North Atlantic, then designing and building a yacht, which he raced to the island of St Helena.

Laying-up Supper

Fish "&" Chip Supper with an interesting evening of members’ tales recounting challenges, memorable times and the odd confession whilst sailing or motor cruising.

Life as an Engineer Officer on the Orient Line 50 Years ago

Club member David Harrop will describe the Passenger Steamships he served on for four years and give an illustrated tour of the world as it was 50 years ago.

High Barbaree to the Baltic and back

Tim and Liz Dodwell sailed their Cornish Crabber Pilot Cutter to the Baltic in 2005, laying up near Stockholm, then in 2006 cruised the Baltic before returning to Buckler’s Hard. They will talk about their adventures and misadventures too!

A New Future for the Sailing Barge Cambria

Cambria Trust, founded by Tony Ellis, is restoring the famous 101 year-old sailing barge Cambria. Tony has been involved in a variety of barging organisations over the years and will tell us his fascinating story.

Singlehanded round the world ‘vertically’

Adrian Flanagan will tell how he this year became the first single-hander to circumnavigate
north/south including crossing the Arctic Ocean along Russia’s northern sea route.

Shenanigan in the Hebrides

Club member Rob Johnstone recalls a summer cruising Skye and the east coast of some of the Outer Isles as navigator/bo'sun/leading hand in a 35ft Moody.

Cast off for Christmas

Our traditional members' evening of yarns, light entertainment and mince pies ahead of the Christmas break.

Autumn 2008

A life on the Ocean Wave – John Goode

Cruising past, present and future - a light-hearted talk putting across a few serious messages. John is the ex-editor of Sailing Today, Principal of the Southern Sailing School, and has responsibility for the Special Features for National Boat Shows Limited.

Women who built warships - Helen Doe

During the Napoleonic wars two of the yards supplying urgently-needed ships to the Royal Navy were run by widows and one of these yards on the Thames was one of the largest businesses in the country. Hear how Mrs Barnard and Mrs Ross managed their complex businesses and dealt with the important officers of the Navy Board.

My Favourite Anchorage

Six club members will describe one of their favourite overnight stopping places, which might even be an anchorage! Please bring your 'cockpit nibbles' to enhance the illusion of a relaxing evening spent swinging at anchor.

Pilotage in the Port of London and elsewhere 
Captain Don Cockrill FNI

Captain Cockrill gives an insight into the often little-known world of pilotage, explaining the contribution that port and offshore pilotage makes to all of our everyday lives in one of the major and certainly most prestigious ports of Europe if not the world – London.

A year at sea - Malta to the Caribbean 
John Dawson and Bernie Smallman.

Club members John and Bernie tell how they took their charter-scheme boat, adapted it for living aboard and sailed through the Mediterranean Sea and across the Atlantic Ocean to explore the Caribbean.

To Russia with Love - Jonathan Walmsley

Jonathan describes his cruise from the East Coast of the UK in his Shipman 28 with his all girl crew to St Petersburg in Russia. Highlights include being shot at by the Polish border authorities and running into a Baltic port without an engine in a full gale.

Arctic Circle & Iceland - almost - and back, single-handed 
Roger Taylor

Roger cruised non-stop from Burnham-on-Crouch to Plymouth last year passing the Shetlands and almost reaching the Arctic Circle en-route. He describes his 'amazing' summer on Mingming - a junk-rigged Corribee 21 - with the help of video footage.

Weather, IT and Gipsy Moth IV

Andrew Eccleston of the University of Plymouth and weather adviser to Gypsy Moth IV will give an academic's view of yachting.

Going West slowly: Falmouth to the Canaries - Simon Fraser

Simon returns to describe Falmouth to the Canaries in two leisurely summer cruises. Ten weeks meandering into Spanish Rias and down the Portuguese coast to Lagos for the winter of 2006, then on to Madeira and the Canaries in 2007

Cast off for Christmas

Our traditional members' evening of yarns, light entertainment and mince pies ahead of the Christmas break.