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

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

 Programme Autumn 2018

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

Wednesday October 10th

Dave Selby

Marlin's Mission

Dave Selby is a passionate sailor who's been fumbling around the east coast for years in Marlin, his 18-ft Sailfish, without dying once. In 2016 the PBO columnist set off on Marlin's Mission to sail 340 miles up the Thames to London and on to Southampton to exhibit his boat at The Southampton Boat Show. The aim was to demonstrate that cost is no barrier to getting afloat.  More details

Wednesday October 17th

Rosemary and Alfred Alecio


Alfred and Rosemarie Alecio, world cruisers, will first present a brief summary and comment on their 23 years of circumnavigation. This will be followed by an account of the untimely end to their adventure, when they were rescued in the Indian Ocean in 2015. More details

Wednesday October 24th

John Apps

Islands in the Sun

John will talk about some of the islands that he has enjoyed sailing to that will from time to time experience sunshine. Places like Bornholm, Rugen, Helgoland, Porto Santo and Rhode... He might even mention Thanet!    More details

Wednesday October 31st

Captain William Hargreaves

Sharing the Solent - a Southampton Pilot's perspective

Everything you need to know about piloting large vessels in and out of Southampton, from planning to berthing and the requirements to become a Southampton pilot. Bill will tell us how it's done and how he came to be a Senior pilot. This is your chance to meet the expert..     More details

Wednesday November 7th

Kevin Patience

The True Story of the African Queen

Almost everyone has seen the 1953 film ‘The African Queen’ starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. The film is set in German East Africa (now Tanzania) in the First World War.  New research by Kevin has identified the real events that were adapted to make the story. These are some of the strangest naval true stories to come out of East Africa at that time.  More details

RNLI Christmas Cards will be on sale this evening - bring some money...

Wednesday November 14th

Jane Percival

Vintage Boats

Jane is the Commodore of the Thames Vintage Boat Club, whose members restore, maintain and use vintage boats. They also aim to keep a historical record of all traditional craft on the Thames. Her talk will include restoration of National Historic Ships, Operation Dynamo and the discovery of a missing Dunkirk Little Ship.  More details

Wednesday November 21st

Shaun Pascoe

Turn to Starboard

Turn to Starboard was founded by RAF Squadron Leader (Rtd) Shaun Pascoe.  The idea of using sail training to help Forces personnel overcome the challenges of transition to civilian life was inspired by Shaun’s own personal experience. This is a rewarding and uplifting story of how adversity can be turned into a very positive contribution to society.    More details

Wednesday November 28th

Ian Shields


An experienced shipmaster, Ian will provide an explanation of what ‘CHIRP’ is and its relevance to leisure users. His talk will include insights on misuse of equipment, interaction between high and low speed craft and examples of when CHIRP’s intervention has made a difference.  More details

Wednesday December 5th

Stuart Gaunt

The Defensive Towers of Britain

Throughout history, the tower has been the primary means of defence against attackers and invaders.  From lookout towers to battlements and sea forts. Stuart will show us how Britain has defended herself from offensive hoards in the past, present and future.  More details

Wednesday December 12th

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. Bring your best pictures of the year for the photo competition, which will be in Boats and Sailing, Scenic and Humorous categories; please make prints no larger than A5. Photos will not be accepted by email this year.


 Programme Spring 2019

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

Wednesday January 9th

Dr Simon Boxall

Oceanography and Climate Change in the Arctic

Simon is Principal Teaching Fellow in Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton. He heads up the science on the Cape Farewell programme focusing on the impact of climate change.  More details

Wednesday January 16th

Jeremy Batch

‘Allo, ‘Allo: the Story of Communications

Jeremy will tell us how a combination of sums, soldering and stubbornness enabled Maxwell, Hertz, Marconi, Arthur C. Clarke, Julius Caesar and others to predict, prove, build and strengthen the communication systems we now take for granted, bringing us from flags and flares to VHF, SSB, G&T and GMDSS, and allowing you to see and speak with people on the other side of the world.   More details

Wednesday January 23rd

Eric Vischer

Five days in the Java Sea

Erik tells the story of his Dutch sea-faring family and their experiences during WW2 in the Dutch East Indies. His father, a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Dutch Marine Reserves, escaped from the Japanese in a small boat but was recaptured. The whole family was incarcerated in Japanese POW camps - Erik will recount how the sea shaped their experiences.  More details

Wednesday January 30th

Frances and Gareth Watkins

Sailing to Svalbard

In 2014, Gareth and Frances decided to sail from the UK to Svalbard, a remote archipelago 600 nautical miles from the North Pole. The first step was to buy a boat. By mid 2015 they had achieved their ambition and were sailing their Hallberg Rassy 352 amongst the icebergs. More details

Wednesday February 6th

Phil Haigh  

Clipper Race - Australia to Seattle

At the end of January 2018 Phil joined Clipper Round the World yacht ‘Visit Seattle’ in Airlie Beach to crew on two legs of the 17/18 race. Three months later he arrived in Seattle with wider shoulders, 30 days growth of beard and a strong desire never to see another Chinese sausage again.  Join him as he talks about sail repair with a hammer and a hacksaw, surfing downwind on helm at over 20kt and tying bowlines on the foredeck in 80kt of wind.  More details

Wednesday February 13th

Jonty Pearce

Man Overboard - Could you deal with it? 

Jonty, a retired GP and ex commodore of The Penguin Cruising Club, sails his Southerly 105 with his wife Carol from Milford Haven, and has a particular interest in MOB recovery. They contributed to a Cruising Association MOB seminar following a Yachting Monthly article ‘How an 8st woman recovers a 20st man’ and have given several lectures to sailing clubs on the subject as a result.  More details

Wednesday February 20th

Diggory Rose

Forgotten Craft

Diggory will talk about Boathouse 4 and the Forgotten Craft collection in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. He will detail the work of the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, the boats in the collection and the development plans for the next few years including the restoration of the Motor Gunboat 81 and the Armed Steam Cutter 26 as well as the construction of a replica of CMB4, a First World War torpedo boat.  More details

Wednesday February 27th

Sue Pennison

Spirit of tradition - How to build a Gaffer

Sue & David will tell us how and why they chose to build a gaff cutter in their back garden. They will discuss their approach to building the Golant Gaffer ‘Satellite’ and what has been learnt from the first year of sailing.  More details

Wednesday March 6th

Guy Nicholls

Boat Surveys

Marine surveyor Guy Nicholls will talk about his work on yachts, what to look for when buying a boat, how to pre-empt a full survey by looking at some key items before making an offer and how to hide blemishes when selling.  The most frequent problems experienced and a few examples of specific boat types and things in general that occur, and how we can look after our own boats better!  More details

Wednesday March 13th

AGM, followed by 

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


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.