Programme Autumn 2019

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

Wednesday October 9th

Antarctic Antics

David Bray

David is a retired Master Mariner and an expert in dynamic positioning of vessels. He will tell us about his experiences working as Navigating Officer in the research vessel RRS “John Biscoe” in Antarctica during the 1970s. At that time, the technology was more akin to that of Shackleton and Scott than to the 21st century. He will tell us about Antarctica from the standpoint of operating a ship, including some of the more humorous episodes.  More details

Wednesday October 16th

Sailing in Robinetta

Julian and Alison Cable

Robinetta is a 22’6” gaff rigged wooden yacht launched in 1937 and designed for sailing the Irish Sea and Inner Hebrides.  Julian and Alison bought her in 2007 and will share their experiences cruising in this small but well-found boat, focussing on their 2016 circumnavigation of Ireland, illustrating their talk with photographs of the stunning coastline of this beautiful country.  More details

Wednesday October 23rd

Grandads Across the Atlantic

Peter Ketley


Grandads Neil Young and Peter Ketley completed their row from Canaries to Antigua in February 2019. It took 63 days and 22 minutes, giving them the world record for the oldest pair to row across any ocean, with a combined age of 123 years (at the start...). Both had previously served in the Parachute Regiment and they raised substantial donations for veterans charities.  More details

Wednesday October 30th

John Rea and the Northwest Passage

Nigel Barraclough


The North West passage in the Arctic North of Canada - a fabled alternative route to the East, which has long been the subject of controversy. There were several unfounded claims of success and more importantly the true “discoverer” was vilified and never given the proper credit by the Establishment.  Nigel will talk about the history and one of the (conveniently) forgotten heroes of Arctic exploration.  More details

Wednesday November 6th

Maiden and other Adventures

Nikki Henderson 

Nikki Henderson became the youngest ever skipper on the Clipper Race, bringing her boat in second overall in the 2017 - 18 race. She then went on to skipper the renovated Maiden from the UK  to Sri Lanka as part of the Tracy Edwards mission to empower and educate girls as a human right and was presented this year with the Yachting Journalists’ Association Yachtsman of the Year award for 2018. She will talk about these and even more amazing experiences.   More details

Wednesday November 13th

Stress-free Navigation 

Duncan Wells

Following on from his successful Stress-free Sailing book and Life Saver MOB retrieval aid, local sailing instructor and author Duncan Wells extends his simple but clever approach to give us Stress-free Navigation. Plenty of amusing stories and entertainment but also valuable lessons for us all to learn.  More details

Wednesday November 20th

A Beginner's Guide to the Baltic

Colin Wilson

The Baltic - arguably one of the best cruising areas in the world – and it’s almost on our doorstep. Why visit, what might you find, how can you get there, how do we get back home again, what about language, isn’t it expensive? GXSA members Colin and Tricia discovered the answers to these and many other questions during two seasons dipping their toes in Baltic waters.  More details

Wednesday November 27th

Rout on the Riviera - Exercise Tiger - The Slapton Sands Disaster

Paul Barnett

We are in the heart of sleepy Lyme Bay on the night of April 28th, 1944 in readiness for Operation Overlord. Considered safe in home waters a loaded convoy sets sail. But by daybreak, two ships lay on the sea bed; one limping badly damaged and 749 souls missing - a scene of total devastation. Step forward 40 years to a tranquil scene and one man’s determination… recover a sunken tank!  More details

Wednesday December 4th

Historic Yachts and National Historic Ships UK

Stuart Anderson

What does it take for a historic vessel to make it on to the National Register of Historic Vessels? Stuart will tell the stories of some of the sailing vessels, including Gypsy Moth IV and Maidie. He will also explain the Shipshape Heritage Partnership Traditional Seafarer training for specialist skills required in operating and maintaining historic sailing vessels, with a short film illustrating how these skills are passed on.  More details

Wednesday December 11th

Cast Off for Christmas

Members and their guests will enjoy  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.