Programme Autumn 2020

On line talks begin at 8.15pm.  Zoom invitations will be sent to members and registered visitors at least one day before the talk.

Help on using Zoom for GXSA sessions can be found by clicking this link

Wednesday October 7th

The Extraordinary Voyage of Mary Bryant

John Apps

The events that led Mary Bryant to sail from Sydney to West Timor in an open boat in 1790 provide an insight to the harsh conditions in the Australian settlements then. The Royal Navy’s response and how Mary subsequently became a celebrity in England is a little-known but remarkable story. John will explain both the legend and the facts.  More details

Wednesday October 14th

Travels with Tilman

Bob Comlay

Bill Tilman's achievements rank amongst the greatest in twentieth century mountaineering and high latitude sailing. Bob Comlay crewed on two of Tilman’s high latitude voyages, earning a level of trust that gives him unique insight into the character of this self-effacing legend of twentieth century exploration.   More details

Wednesday October 21st

Boats, Planes (and Trains)

Alastair Fischbacher

What do dinghy sailing, going to sea as a cadet and ships officer, a flying instructor, coal mining and big bulk carriers have in common? Alastair links them through his experiences, career and other events. He is now co-Chair of the Sustainable Shipping Company.   More details

Wednesday October 28th

High Latitude Adventures

Steve Brown

Steve Brown will tell us about his sailing and climbing expeditions to South Georgia and Antarctica undertaken during his 33,000nm circumnavigation of the Americas that began with a successful transit of the North West Passage in 2014. More details

Wednesday November 4th

Walking the Coasts of England and Wales

Chris O’Grady

Chris walked the coasts of England and Wales over a period from 2002 through to 2017 – including a lot of time looking at the sea! We will learn about his experiences and the sights, sites and insights he encountered. More details

Wednesday November 11th

Teaching Oceanography in South Africa

Isabel Ansorge

Prof Ansorge (head of the Department of Oceanography at the University of Cape Town) makes a return visit to entertain us again with her recent exploits, focussing on the SEAmester programme to teach and inspire interest in oceanography, marine life and climate change near South Africa.  More details

Wednesday November 18th

The Dutch Raid on the Medway

Chris Tarratt

The Medway raid in 1667 saw a Dutch fleet sail into the Thames and attack the British fleet at anchor in the Medway, causing a panic in London and winning a victory that helped bring the second Anglo-Dutch war to an end. But the peace only lasted for a few years…   More details

Wednesday November 25th

The Excavation of the Mary Rose

Dawn Perrier

Dawn worked as a diver on the excavation and salvage of the wreck of the Mary Rose. She will give us a fascinating insight into how the historic objects were recovered and tell us about the recently improved Mary Rose exhibition and the work of the Mary Rose Trust.  More details

Wednesday December 2nd

Sørlandet Tall Ship

Knut Arne Gjertsen

Sørlandet is the world's oldest and most authentic fully-rigged ship still in active service and is operated by a non-profit foundation in Norway. Knut will tell us about the history of Sørlandet, her cruises, the management of Sailing Ventures, and the opportunities to join Sørlandet for voyages. More details

Wednesday December 9th

Cast off for Christmas

For GXSA members and their guests, the usual mix of short presentations about sailing incidents, photo competition, quiz and festive entertainment.

 Programme Spring 2020

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

Wednesday January 9th

Paddington: Motorboating in Europe

James and Carol Littlewood

Having sailed the coastline from the Norwegian Arctic Circle to La Rochelle, James and Carol decided to visit the "inside". In 2014 they started to explore the gutters of France, the ditches of Belgium, the canals of the Netherlands and the big waterways of Germany.  James will talk about differences between "outside and inside", will compare locks with crocodiles and will give a us a glimpse of French champagne country and the German Mecklenburg Lakes.  More details

Wednesday January 15th

Seabatical - a Caribbean adventure at 30 something

Nick and Roxanne Creak

In 2018 Nick and Roxy bought a 1989 40ft Westerly in Trinidad in the hope of being able to sail to Puerto Rico and back for the Caribbean honeymoon of a lifetime.  Armed with limited experience and a can do attitude they have recently returned with a smile on their faces and many stories to tell.   More details

Wednesday January 22nd

In the Footsteps of Shackleton

Martin Thomas

In 1915 Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, was crushed in the ice of the Weddell Sea and sank. After drifting on the ice for 15 months, he and his men reached the uninhabited Elephant Island. He then set out on one of the most hazardous small boat journeys of all time and eventually reached South Georgia. Martin will describe his own adventure, sailing the Southern Ocean to South Georgia and then following Shackleton’s route across the mountains, the Shackleton Traverse.   More details

Wednesday January 29th

From Pushing Paper to Planing Planks

Nigel Morris

For 30 years, Nigel Morris was a project manager working around the world; then on 20 August 2018 he jumped ship and decided to become a boat builder.  He spent 40 exciting and challenging weeks at the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis, learning woodwork and eventually building his own 21 foot boat in the final weeks of the course.  He is now practising his newly acquired skills on renovating a Dunkirk Little Ship.  More details
Wednesday February 5th

Sailing Small Boats to the Arctic

Alasdair Flint  

Alasdair Flint is the long-time owner of a 26ft wooden yacht called Sumara. He will talk about his penchant for sailing north to the Arctic. The talk will focus on his 2011 expedition to Jan Mayen to climb the world’s most northerly volcano but will also briefly cover his earlier sail to Spitsbergen and his recent trip to East Greenland with Will Stirling.  Alasdair will attempt to explain how careful planning, good kit and the right attitude can help mitigate some of the risks.  More details

Wednesday February 12th

Warrant Officer 1 Mick Gentry, Royal Navy

Mick Gentry

Mick has served for 43 years in the Royal Navy, which included 3 years Service in Her Majesty’s Royal Yacht Britannia from 1995 through to decommissioning in Dec 1997. Hear how the Royal Yacht was organised, what duty as a Royal Yachtsman entailed, and what life was like onboard. Mick will tell you of events that you will not have heard before and explain the uniqueness of Britannia in every detail.  More details

(Alastair Fischbacher talk has been postponed)

Wednesday February 19th

Linnea 360: a UK Circumnavigation

Alison Milne and Chris Smith

No two sailing trips around the UK are the same; in the summer of 2017 Chris and Alison, newly retired, set off in their Malo 37 Linnea on what was, for them, a voyage of discovery. As well as recounting their story, they will share some tips on what worked for them in both the planning and execution of the trip and will hopefully inspire some in the audience to take the plunge with this UK sailors' rite of passage.  More details

Wednesday February 26th

Sailing Last Summer and Other Tales

Talks from GXSA Members

With so many talks from visiting speakers about their accomplishments, we might overlook the achievements and adventures of our own members. We shall hear about some of their impressive sailing exploits in the Baltic, Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal, BVIs, Bermuda and Azores and other entertaining stories. Visitors welcome, as usual. More details

Wednesday March 4th

The Golden Globe Race

Barry Pickthall

Barry Pickthall is a yachting journalist and photographer who has been covering international sailing events for over forty years. A former boat builder and naval architect, he was yachting correspondent of The Times for many years and is currently the Golden Globe Race Media Coordinator. He will tell us about the Golden Globe Race past, present and future.  More details

Wednesday March 11th

AGM, followed by 

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

 

 

 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…..to 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.

 

 Programme Spring 2019

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

Wednesday January 9th

Oceanography and Climate Change in the Arctic

Dr Simon Boxall

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

`Allo, ‘Allo: the Story of Communications

Jeremy Batch

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

Five days immersed in the Java Sea

Erik Vischer

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

Sailing to Svalbard

Frances and Gareth Watkins

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

Clipper Race - Australia to Seattle

Phil Haigh  

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

Man Overboard - Could you deal with it?

Jonty Pearce

 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

Forgotten Craft

Diggory Rose

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

Admiral Lord Cochrane

John Apps

Remarkable story of a British Naval hero who was admired by Napoleon and was the basis for the fictional heroes in  "Hornblower" and  "Master and Commander".   More details

Storms in the Caribbean

Bernie Smallman

Bernie will describe weather events in the Caribbean, particularly the British Virgin Islands. She will cover how she and John first visited the islands, the story of the Wreck of the Rhone and (more recently) Hurricane Irma. More details

Wednesday March 6th

Boat Surveys

Guy Nicholls

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.  He will discuss the most frequent problems experienced, with a few examples of specific boat types and general problems that occur; mostly, 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.

 

 Programme Autumn 2018

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

Wednesday October 10th

Marlin's Mission

Dave Selby

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

Ironhorse

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

Islands in the Sun

John Apps

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

Sharing the Solent - a Southampton Pilot's perspective

Captain William Hargreaves

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

The True Story of the African Queen

Kevin Patience

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

Vintage Boats

Jane Percival

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

Turn to Starboard

Shaun Pascoe

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

CHIRP

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

The Defensive Towers of Britain

Stuart Gaunt

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 2018

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

Wednesday January 10th

Shackleton – The greatest story ever told

Geoff Selley

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 words.  More details

Wednesday January 17th

Disaster Waiting - the Severn Bridge Disaster

Paul Barnett

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

Sailing the Baltic

John Rugg

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

Sailing the Indian Ocean

Bob and Elaine Hazell

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

First Aid at Sea

Tom Sowerby

Accessible Sailing for All

Peter May

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 water.  More details

Wednesday February 14th

What your Navy is doing - and why it matters !

Royal Navy

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

Saved from the RNLI

John Apps 

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

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

Chris Tarratt

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

Old Father Thames: Cruising the non-tidal Thames

David Horn

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

Battle of the Atlantic - Convoys and Corvettes

David Bray

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 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

Charts

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 2017

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

Wednesday January 11th

Peter Bruce

Heavy Weather Sailing

Peter Bruce is a well known author having published books such as Solent Hazards, Solent and Island Tidal Streams and a newly updated 7th edition of Heavy Weather Sailing. We look forward to learning how to deal with it and hope never to need the knowledge.  More details

Wednesday January 18th

Chris Tarratt

A History of Time

Chris is a retired jeweller with an abiding interest in the History of Time. He is a keen offshore yachtsman and has taught Navigation. Chris will tell us about the measurement of time over the years and how this has affected those who travel on the oceans.  More details

Wednesday January 25th

Richard and Cathy Brown

A Stockholm Adventure

Journalists Richard and Cathy have sailed round Britain and cruised the French Atlantic coast and north west Spain in their yacht Brave. Tonight they will tell us about equipping their new boat and sailing her in the stunning Stockholm Archipelago.   More details

Wednesday February 1st

Kevin Patience

Scapa Flow - Salvaging the German Imperial Navy

Kevin looks at some naval battles between Britain and Germany, the salvaging of 32 scuttled German warships and Scapa Flow as it is today. He uses contemporary photographs from  Ernest Cox, who led the difficult task, and newsreel from the 1920s and 30s.  More details

Wednesday February 8th

Philip Holt

Donald Campbell - Across the Lake

Phil will review the life of Donald Campbell, the only man to hold both the world land and water speed records in the same year. A behind the scenes look at that fateful day in January 1967 on Coniston Water to find the cause of the crash and a look at the current recovery of both Bluebird and Donald himself.   More details

Wednesday February 15th

Richard Thomas

The Story of the Panama Canal

Richard will cover the four centuries of endeavour that started with Christopher Columbus in 1502 to build transport links across the 50-mile isthmus at Panama. The story culminates with the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, and the 21st century improvements.  More details

Wednesday February 22nd

Commodore Gerry Thwaites RN

The Royal Yacht - a bygone era

Commodore Thwaites served 34 years in the Royal Navy, much of it in Submarines.  In the early 90s he was appointed Senior Engineer of the Royal Yacht Britannia. This talk looks into the day to day life on board “The Yacht” serving the Royal Family.   More details

Wednesday March 1st

Rick Lawrence

2015/16 Round the World Clipper Race

Rick will talk about his once in a life-time experiences on Garmin, one of the twelve 15/16 Round the World Clipper yachts. He raced through hurricanes and freezing conditions. Over 12,000 miles from China to Seattle and on to New York via Panama.    More details

Wednesday March 8th

Dr Chris Willard

Birds of the Solent

Chris, a bird watcher from the age of 8 and keen sailor, has lived half a mile from the Western Solent shore for 40 years.   He will introduce us to the wonderful range of  birds which might be seen anywhere along the 48 miles of Solent Shores.  More details

Wednesday March 15th

AGM, followed by

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

 Programme Autumn 2016

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

Wednesday October 12th

Elaine and Bob Hazell

From Kiwis to Orangutans

Elaine and Bob are on a Round the World Odyssey, and taking the time out to tell GXSA all about it. Their second leg took them from New Zealand to Borneo.  A fantastic tale of global adventure.     More details

Wednesday October 19th

Colin van Geffen

Nelson and HMS Victory - Their Lives and Times

HMS Victory is best remembered as Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar in 1805. Speaker and artist Colin van Geffen returns to describe key successes and failures of two of our best known historical icons. We hear how their paths crossed, culminating at Trafalgar - and what followed.  More details

Wednesday October 26th

Helen Doe

Cornwall - a Maritime History

Cornwall has the longest coastline of any county in England and Wales and is the most maritime of counties. From pirates to privateers and from wars to world trade, Cornwall's heritage is  much more than just Tin and Fish ! More details

Wednesday November 2nd

The Confessional – If I Had Known Then, What I know Now...

Bernie Smallman & Stuart Gaunt

Sailing is an education that we frequently forget.  This evening the floor is open to members with interesting stories to tell that will prevent other people having similar Adventures.  How many stories do you have?  We start the ball rolling with “Bernie’s Summer” and “Stuart sails to Guernsey”.  More details

Wednesday November 9th

Bob and Elaine Hazell

Hongs and Pagodas

Elaine and Bob are back to describe the third leg of their journey around the world on Pipistrelle, before they fly away to start "Leg Four".  Singapore, Penang, Thailand, Myanmar and lots more in this passage.    More details

Wednesday November 16th

Peter Poole - Oilskins that I have known

Mary Allan - A summer of joy,  ...nearly

Two GXSA members speaking this week. Amazingly, Peter still owns all the waterproofs he ever purchased and will tell us their stories. Mary will tell us about a lovely summer trip up the west coast of England, via Ireland and Scotland, that didn't go completely to plan...    More details

Wednesday November 23rd

John Barry

The How and Why of Tides

Tides have a major effect on our time on the water and vary greatly around the world. Why do they happen and how do different tidal periods arise. How are tide tables predicted and why are the tidal streams always in the wrong direction for us..?   More details

Wednesday November 30th

Bob Shepton

Sailing and Climbing

Rev. Bob Shepton returns to give us an account of a further expedition, sailing and climbing in Greenland and Baffin Island with his team of star top climbers. The talk is presented with slides and an excellent film of the expedition.   More details

Wednesday December 7th

Malcolm Thorpe

Bembridge Harbour

Bembridge harbour - Visited by Many,  Known by Few.  Malcolm and his wife Fiona bought the harbour in 2011. He will tell us about the history and future of this important part of English heritage More details

Wednesday March 16th

Bernie and Stuart

Cast-Off for Christmas

All the usual fun and entertainment for GXSA members and their guests, with mulled wine. Photo competition in Boats and Sailing, Scenic and Humorous categories; please make prints no larger than A5.  Click here for GXSA Song lyrics

 Programme Spring 2016

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

Wednesday January 13th

Jeremy Batch

Going Boldly - Across, Beneath and Beyond the Ocean

One of our favourite speakers, Jeremy returns to entertain us with a wide ranging and amusing account of marine historical developments that we all take for granted today.   More details

Wednesday January 20th

Giles Milton

Nathaniel's Nutmeg and Fascinating Footnotes in History

Historian Giles wrote of the sea battles, brutality and skulduggery between the British and Dutch as they fought to control the eastern spice trade when nutmeg was worth more than gold, and tells of fascinating footnotes that make our past so intriguing.  More details

Wednesday January 27th

Graham Anthony

"Sorely Tried"- the story of HMS Beagle, Fitzroy and Darwin

The role of the Royal Navy was changing rapidly when ‘Beagle’ was launched in 1820. Graham explains how the Beagle voyages led to a nautical infrastructure that now allows us to roam the seas happily and safely.   More details

Wednesday February 3rd

Stuart Carruthers and Gus Lewis

Future of UK Cruising - from the RYA

Stuart is RYA Cruising Manager and Gus is Head of Legal and Government Affairs. They will explain the wide variety of contributions the RYA makes on our behalf with government and regulatory issues. Find out what are the most frequent enquiries and how we get good value from the RYA...   More details

Wednesday February 10th

Nigel Sharp

Dunkirk Little Ships plus Wartime Leisure Sailing

Commodore of St Mawes Sailing Club, Nigel is a lifelong sailor. He spent 35 years in the boatbuilding industry before becoming a freelance marine writer and photographer. The recent 75th anniversary of the Dunkirk rescue, described in his book Dunkirk Little Ships, makes this an excellent time to learn all about itMore details

Wednesday February 17th

Paul Farrell

Summer cruises on Amoret

GXSA member Paul finally got to visit the Azores!  He will tell us about his voyages on Tony Firth's Amoret, focussing on last summer's cruise taking in Spain, Portugal and the passage home from the Azores.  More details

Wednesday February 24th

Stephen Taylor

Edward Pellew

Edward Pellew, captain of the legendary Indefatigable, was the greatest British frigate captain in the age of sail. Left fatherless at age eight, he fought his way from the very bottom of the navy to fleet command. His biographer Stephen Taylor, an accomplished author, tells us the remarkable story.  More details

Wednesday March 2nd

Linda Crewe-Gee

Girl's Guide to the Southern Ocean

Linda joined a small crew on a traditional Dutch tall ship for a voyage from Auckland across the Southern Ocean via Cape Horn to the Falkland Islands. Wild weather, hard physical work and occasional mishaps make this an inspiring story.  More details

Wednesday March 9th

Colin van Geffen

Calshot - a Place in Time

Colin explains the history of Calshot Castle and the Spit, from Saxon times to the present day.  It has been used  by the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coastguard in peacetime and at war. Pirates, smugglers, ship-wrecks, submarines and much more.   More details

Wednesday March 16th

AGM, followed by

John Dawson - Brittany or Bust

GXSA members John Dawson and Bernie Smallman enjoyed a recent trip to Brittany on Burnadebt. John had been planning a cruise there since he was a teenager. Last year they finally spent some time there.....     More details

 Programme Autumn 2015

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

Wednesday October 7th

Professor Carl Ross

How Deep the Ocean ? - Advances in Submarine Structures

The importance of underwater exploration and challenges in making structures and vessels capable of exploring the great depths will be explained. Opportunities for retrieving vast quantites of methane fuel, for military activity and for applying similar engineering techniques in exploration of other planets will be discussed. Prof Ross has promised that no maths will be presented in the lecture!..    More details

Wednesday October 14th

Duncan Wells

Single Handed Sailing Techniques

GXSA member Duncan explains bullet-proof techniques for departing and returning to the dock, anchoring with confidence and getting an incapacitated casualty in the water back on board when short-handed, plus many other tips.  More details

Wednesday October 21st

Colin van Geffen

Flying Boats of Southampton

Colin takes us back to the Golden Years of the commercial flying boat era, when Southampton and its Empire flying boats led the world. He takes us from the beginnings in 1913 to the swansong in the 50s and later.   More details

Wednesday October 28th

Chris Smith and Cocky Taanman

Unlikely Places: Albania and Ukraine

Chris would like to know why he met only six other cruising yachts during his two weeks in Albanian waters. Is it the mines (6,000 destroyed in 2013), the lack of yacht-friendly harbours or just the reputation?  In contrast the Ukraine, now forbidden, made wonderful sailing for them in 2012.     More details

Wednesday November 4th

Julia Jones

Ghost in the Cabin; Sailing Arthur Ransome’s Peter Duck

Julia is an accomplished author. When she was 3-years-old, her father bought the wooden sailing ketch Peter Duck, which she now owns. She will tell us about how her experiences have encouraged her to focus on children’s adventure stories.  More details

Wednesday November 11th

Steve Huxley and Damien Oliver

Coastguard: latest organisation and new Helicopters

An opportunity to hear about what is happening at the MCA: Damien is responsible for ensuring the new search and rescue helicopters meet the needs of the agency and Steve Huxley MBE is Search and Rescue Communications Manager, based at Falmouth.   More details
Wednesday November 18th

Paul Barnett

Purton Ships Graveyard

Local maritime historian and Friends of Purton Chairman, Paul Barnett describes the Purton Hulks on the banks of the River Severn and explains their significance for marine history. More details
Wednesday November 25th

Jimmy Cornell

Atlantic crossing planning and an Arctic voyage

Having just completed a 10,000 miles voyage on his new yacht Aventura that took him from London to Greenland, Arctic Canada, Newfoundland, US east coast and the Bahamas, Jimmy will tell us about voyage planning, the new Atlantic Odyssey rally and some of his experiences.  More details

Wednesday December 2nd

 

Capt Ian McNaught

From Cruise Liners to Trinity House

With 40 years maritime experience, having been Master of the QE2 and Queen Victoria in his day job at Cunard before joining Seabourn, Ian then became Executive Director and now Deputy Master of Trinity House. He will tell us about these roles and he has some fascinating stories to tell.  More details

Wednesday December 9th

 

Cast Off for Christmas

Members evening of short talks and festive fun

 

Programme Spring 2015

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

January 7th

Presentations by GXSA Members

Part 1  Steve Daish - What could possibly go wrong? The perils of yacht delivery

Part 2  Bernie Smallman - Antarctica in Comfort. South Georgia, the Falklands and Cape Horn   More details

January 14th

David Brook

RNLI Poole Lifeboat building

David leads 400 staff who design, build and repair RNLI lifeboats. He will explain how their engineering capability keeps the Search and Rescue service going and tell us about the new all-weather Lifeboat Centre in Poole, in which future Lifeboats will be built and maintained.   More details

January 21st

Rob Johnstone

Remember to turn left this time

We last heard about Vagabond when Rob left her at Balvicar after part 1 of his single handed circumnavigation of Britain. Now the rest of the tale includes a near capsize off Wells, confusion off Aberdeen, a raid through the Caledonian Canal and fog off the Old Man of Hoy.    More details

January 28th

Colin Gent

World War 2 Destroyers

Former GXSA member Colin will tell us about the engineering and armaments of Destroyers and their roles in escorting convoys and troop ships. This is backed up by stories of his own experience as an Electrical Engineer aboard HMS Caprice (a CA Class destroyer) in the Far East.   More details

February 4th

James Littlewood

River cruising in Western Europe

After 60,000 adventurous sea miles, James Littlewood has replaced his yacht with a 13m steel motor boat. He expected the change from sailing to provide a relaxing time on the inland waterways of Europe. He now considers "worse things happen at sea" to be a myth!    More details

February 11th

John Apps

The Glory of the Ride

He’s back, after 2 years and 26,000 Miles in his Rival 34. True to his motto “Passage Plans rarely survive the first Gale”, John Apps has sailed to Greenland, Brazil, Cape Town (twice..) the Southern Ocean, St Helena, Ascension Island and the Azores.    More details

February 18th

Terry Corner

RNLI Top Tips for Boaters and some Rescues from Harwich

Terry Corner keeps his boat at Shotley marina on the River Orwell. He is also RNLI safety team leader at Harwich lifeboat station. He will update us on current RNLI guidance and show us some of the more interesting and unusual rescues they have undertaken recently.    More details
February 25th

Simon Fraser

The Grand Tour

How Simon took his 43ft Hallberg Rassy from Chatham to Denmark through the inland waterways of Belgium and the Netherlands, all with the mast up. An enjoyable journey through picturesque towns, Nordeney and the Kiel and Eider Canals.    More details

March 4th

Ken Endean

Four men in a boat

The story of some remarkable yachting in peace and war. Ken Endean has published books and written for the yachting press for many years and he is also interested in maritime history. This talk presents a fascinating true story with the action shifting from sailing to all-out war and back again. More details

March 11th
AGM, followed by members’ sailing highlights 2014 plus a look at forthcoming Rallies

Programme Autumn 2014

October 8th

Tom Cunliffe

Pilot Cutters Under Sail

Pilot cutters were amongst the most seaworthy and beautiful craft ever built. Distinguished yachtsman Tom Cunliffe explains what brought them such an enviable reputation.  More details

October 15th

John Franklin

St Peter's to Saint Pierre

Commodore of the OCC and GXSA member, John will tell us about recent cruising with his wife Jenny in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in their yacht, Al Shaheen.  More details

October 22nd

Bill Cumming

Scottish Clippers

Maritime historian Bill Cumming describes the development of these fast trading merchant ships built in Scotland from the late 18th century.       More details

October  29th

Jonathan Lewis

Around the UK in the motor boat Gralian.

Distinguished film maker Jonathan Lewis describes the restoration of motor cruiser Gralian and the experience of cruising in the Baltic and round the UK.     More details

November 5th

Gil Sharp

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race  -  A Grandmother realises her racing dreams.

Gil Sharp describes the joy and deprivation of the Clipper race, including the Southern Ocean, the Sydney to Hobart race and the North Atlantic.    More details

November 12th

Tim Barker

Bipolar Cruising – The Adventures of Mina2 from the Arctic to the Antarctic

Mina2 is one of the few amateur yachts to have sailed into both the Arctic Circle and down to Antarctica. Storms, ice and great scenery..   More details

November  19th

Sara Atkinson

Sea Biscuits and Lido Cakes

What it took to leave family, friends and a job to travel from Herne Hill to Barbados and how it was worth every minuteMore details
November  26th

Roger Taylor

Creating and Sailing an Arctic Mini-cruiser

Roger Taylor describes the re-construction of Mingming II, an Achilles 24, for high latitude sailing and describes her maiden voyage.    More details

December 3rd

Cast Off for Christmas

Festive evening of short talks by GXSA members

Mulled wine, mince pies and other treats - a little earlier than usual this year

December 10th

Bob Shepton

The North West Passage – twice. Madness?

2013 Apollo/Yachting Journalists' Association Yachtsman of the year, Bob Shepton returns to tell us about his latest exploits and his new book - Addicted to Adventure.  More details



Programme Spring 2014

 

January 8th

Invaders, Explorers and Shipbuilders – Jeremy Batch

Entertaining account of early ship building on the Thames and Medway plus … Why was the Archbishop of Canterbury murdered at Greenwich Yacht Club? How did the Dutch sneak up the Medway to raid Chatham and how did Olaf the Viking make London Bridge fall down?

More Detail...

January 15th

Shackleton:   Death or Glory  - CANCELLED
Sebastien Coulthard and Alexander Kumar

Expedition crew member Sebastien Coulthard and expedition doctor Alexander Kumar describe the preparation, planning and challenges in successfully recreating Shackleton‘s famous escape from Elephant Island in Antarctica to South Georgia in early 2013.

More Detail...

January 22nd

Keep Turning Left:   Job Done! – Dylan Winter

By making films from a small boat and visiting the harbours, estuaries and shallow spots other UK circumnavigators sweep past, Dylan Winter captures the real feeling of sailing. The highways and byways of the East coast as far north as the Firth of Forth provide an enjoyable evening of great films, wit and chat.

More Details...

January 29th

A Tale of Two Cities – Martin & Shân Alexander

Ups and downs of the participation of Spirit of Avalon in the 2012 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant fleet in London and crossing the Channel in 2013 to explore the Seine to Paris and beyond. Presented together with accompanying GXSA members: Ben Benest, Roger Havelock and Philip Young.

More Details...

February 5th

Port of London Authority and role of the Harbour Master 
Steve Rushbrook

Steve is Deputy Harbour Master Upper, responsible for Teddington to Crossness, including the second biggest port in the UK and the busiest inland waterway for freight. He will talk about the challenges of navigating the Thames – including some rather hair–raising stories

More Details...

February 12th

Round Britain with the Old Gaffers – Sue Lewis

Not all the boats were old, or even gaff–rigged, but twenty boats sailed round Britain last summer to celebrate 50 years of the Old Gaffers Association, of which Sue is Secretary. Sue and her husband Howard sailed on their gaff cutter Bonify; good experiences, photos and tips.

More Details...

February 19th

Butterflies, Bulls and Blarney – John & Freda Andrews

Returning for a third presentation of Qwyver’s remarkable 6 year sail round the world, John and Freda focus this time on Islands in the North Atlantic, which make a splendid finale to their voyage. We can think of going to some of these places too!

More Details...

February 26th

Through University on a 23ft boat, sailing near and far 
Joe Pearce

Joe was a student at Aberystwyth, and tells how he came to spend his student life living on board a small boat. We shall also hear about his adventurous trip down to his home on the Isle of Wight and a trip to Greenland.

More Details...

March 5th

Pierhead Painters – Claudia Myatt

The story of the 19th century harbour–side artists who earned a living by painting ships as they anchored and then selling the paintings to the ship’s captains. Accomplished artist Claudia Myatt explains from an artist’s and a sailor’s viewpoint.

More Details...

March 12th

AGM, followed by Rallies and Events 2013 – Stuart Gaunt

A whistle stop tour through the GXSA social events from 2013 and a look forward to our plans for summer 2014. Enjoy re–living the fun and experiences, or see what you missed.

 


The Autumn 2014 talks programme will start on 8th October, 2014

Programme Autumn 2013

Circle Line: Around London in a small boat – Steffan Meyric Hughes

In 2009, Steffan sailed and rowed a dinghy around London, writing an entertaining and best-selling book about his experiences in 2012. Hear Steffan talk about this voyage, and some of the other adventures and mishaps in eight years of yachting journalism.

Portsmouth and Southampton: a maritime contrast
Graham Horn

Graham Horn explores the history of merchant port Southampton and premier Naval base Portsmouth, delves into their rivalries and reveals why they came to take on such different roles. Whether it is shipbuilding, trade, defence or football, Portsmouth and Southampton have had a long rivalry. Some 2,000 years in fact. Blue badge Guide Graham will get you to think of the area in a new light when next sailing in the Solent.

A Life Under and Over the Waves – 
Stephen Golliker

Growing up in South Africa sailing dinghies, Stephen has since sailed in submarines for the South African navy, sailed through time on a historical re-enactment in the Bartolomeu Dias, sailed on the Olympics first 49er racing circuit and covered developments in ocean racing.

Sailing around the UK – Against the Clock 
Gordon Harold

In 2006, Gordon, a long standing GXSA member sailed around the UK in his Contessa 32. The trip proved to be challenging and rewarding – both on and off the water - there are yarns a plenty ...

U-boats, Giant Waves and Climate Change –
Isabel Ansorge

A return visit by Dr Ansorge (University of Cape Town) reporting on the brand new Agulhas II research vessel and her Antarctic trials. Isabel will describe new insights into unusual ocean currents, giant waves along the African coasts and climate change developments.

All about Ropes – Justin Jones

Justin Jones is Marine Manager at English Braids and will tell us about the history of the company, different types of ropes and how they are made. The evening will conclude with entertaining demonstrations of various types of rope splicing.

Rum, Sodomy and the Lash – Martin Thomas

Accomplished sailor, surgeon and former OCC Commodore, Martin Thomas describes naval traditions and medicine in the age of sail. Scurvy, amputation, surgery at sea, the press gang and the death of Nelson. Not for the squeamish but certainly an interesting evening...

Caribbean Cruising without a budget – 
John Gorrie

GXSA member John reports on the pleasures of sailing last winter on the ‘Wind Star’ a four-masted 110m sailing yacht. Large beds, flat-screen TV, gourmet cuisine, casino, library, pool and hot tub - all sounds a bit different from our normal GXSA rallies but good to learn how the other half live.

Sailing and boat maintenance - Vyv Cox

Vyv Cox is a mechanical engineer, metallurgist, contributor to Yachting Monthly and keen photographer, who has sailed extensively in cruising yachts. Vyv will share his expertise on yacht maintenance and engineering problems, and describe his cruising in the Mediterranean.

Cast Off for Christmas

More entertaining stories from members about their year’s sailing experiences plus mince pies and seasonal refreshments.

Programme Autumn 2013

January 9th

2013

Child of the Sea – Doina Cornell

Based on her book 'Child of the Sea'; Doina sailed around the world with her parents. She will paint an intimate portrait of family life on board a small yacht in the bygone era of low-tech cruising and travelling far off the beaten track to Pacific islands that even now few yachts visit.
January 16th

A Caribbean experience – Ray Bridges

Since arriving in the Caribbean on board 'Sonar' in time for Christmas 2009, Ray has set up a base in Grenada and spent three seasons there exploring these exotic cruising grounds. Good sailing and plenty of warm, sunny pictures to help cheer up a dark winter's evening.
January 23rd

From Sadler to Starlight – Nigel Thomas

Nigel, President of the Sadler and Starlight Owners Association and one time Chairman of GXSA, looks at the history of the various companies and the popular range of Sadler and Starlight yachts from the first Sadler 25s and 32s via the Barracuda and 'Howards Way' to the most recent Sadler 290.
January 30th

On top of the World: studying the Arctic Ocean – Helen Johnson

The Canadian Arctic Archipelago connects the Arctic Ocean to the Atlantic. University of Oxford Scientist Helen will describe recent research expeditions to the region as well as current understanding of the ocean circulation and its role in global climate.
February 6th

Circumnavigation of Sweden – Roger Mustoe

Roger lived for four years in Norway in a house with a mooring; it just needed a sailing boat. Two summers were then spent sailing from Sweden to Norway and back. A tale of endless days, endless gale force winds, a broken engine, a bent prop shaft and ... some sailing
February 13th

From Oars to Jet Propulsion – Jeff Carter

A technical history of the lifeboat from the earliest known on in the UK to the latest RNLI boats in development. Jeff is an engineer and provides a unique perspective on the significant advances made over the years.
February 20th

From City Streets of the Open Seas – Nick Beck

A jovial tale of how two city workers came to find themselves building the 44 foot Pilot Cutter 'Amelia Rose' and founded Topsail Adventures. The boat also featured in ITV's "Hungry Sailors" programme so this talk should be a feast for all tastes!
February 27th

All About Ropes – Julian Tucker

Julian Tucker managing Director of English Braids, will tell us about the history of the company, different types of ropes, how they are made and conclude with some enlightening demonstrations of various types of rope splicing.
March 6th

Vagabond wanders round Britain – Rob Johnstone

Sometime in 2010, GXSA member Rob thought it would be a good idea to buy an old boat, do her up and sail round Britain before the Zimmer took pride of place in his home. The reality is both different and fascinating - come along and hear the actual story.
March 13th

AGM followed by a film presentation: 
'Keep Turning Left' – Dylan Winter

An interesting, amusing and original view of sailing on the East Coast and Norfolk Broads in a (very) small boat.
Saturday 13th April

Annual Dinner - Beaconsfield Golf Club

Programme Autumn 2012

Ruffling the Parrot's Feathers: 
10,000 miles across the Pacific – John Apps

Accomplished long distance sailor, 3 times Jester Atlantic Challenge competitor and GXSA member, John Apps describes his 2011 voyage from the Caribbean to Australia in his usual entertaining style.

New England Sailing – Roger Shaw

Tales of sailing from Long Island Sound out to Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod and Nantucket over seven years, including how to avoid a US submarine in fog and many other stories.

Cruising in the Adriatic – Stuart Bradley

Stuart Bradley and his crew have spent four seasons cruising the area from Venice to Dubrovnik along the Croatian coast and islands – “ the Mediterranean as it used to be”.

Rowing the Atlantic in support of Human Rights – Debbie Beadle

Remarkable story of how Debbie Beadle lead a record breaking 45 day rowing boat Atlantic crossing last winter. Many problems but determination and resilience saw them through. Debbie manages the Youth Programme at a leading children’s rights charity and the trip was devised to raise awareness about child trafficking.

Marine Accident Investigation – Nick Hance

Inspector of Marine Accidents, Nick Hance will describe how the MAIB investigates accidents in merchant ships, small commercial vessels and in leisure craft. Example cases, including recent investigations, will be instructive and raise issues for discussion.

Adventures in the Ice – Dick Turnbull

Sailor, climber and retailer, Dick Turnbull will describe his trip from Oban to Spitzbergen. In addition to the sailing, Dick scaled some of the Lofoten mountains. There were some hair raising moments escaping from an ice pack, assisted by an ice breaker.

Sailing down the Danube in Sea Griffin – Neil Lynn

Taking a boat through the heart of historic Europe from the Baltic to the Black Sea over two sailing seasons. Locks and dams, impressions of the journey, the oddities, people, the history but most of all the interest.

The Making of a Yachtsman’s Pilot – Dick Holness

Dick is co-author of East Coast Pilot, the definitive guide to East Coast creeks and backwaters. How did the Pilot come about and how it is kept up to date? Interesting local stories and ideas about the future role of such publications in the electronic age.

The Shetland Bus – Stephen Howarth

Stephen’s father David was in day to day operational command of the SOE unit that transported secret agents and weapons between the Shetland Isles and occupied Norway during the winter months of 1940⁄1945. His 1951 book ‘the Shetland Bus’ is still selling steadily today.

Cast Off for Christmas

More entertaining stories from members about their year’s sailing experiences plus mince pies and seasonal refreshments.

Spring 2012

Navigation: From Galileo to Galileo – Jeremy Batch

Which prehistoric navigational device played a vital part in the moon landings? How did Deptford Sailing Club get put in charge of pilotage and buoyage? How did submarine USS Skate find Ice Station Alpha, when the "station" had no idea where it was? All this and more in Jeremy’s usual entertaining style.

Sydney to Hobart Race 2006 – Charles Sandison

A Father and Sons race “down under”. Charles will explain the history of the race and his preparations in the UK, together with the build up in Sydney and the race itself.

Cruising to Norway and the Arctic Circle 
James & Carol Littlewood

During 2011 James and Carol sailed from Harwich to the Arctic Circle and back in their Moody Eclipse, Paddington IV. Their many adventures included responding to a Pan Pan relay off Narvik, cycling down mountains and powering up a 6400 horsepower fast ferry.

Recent Marine Science Discoveries – Anna Hickman

From ocean conveyor belts to the origins of life on Earth: Anna Hickman, research fellow from the University of Southampton and the Challenger Society for Marine Science, will explain research and discovery at the cutting edge of marine science.

The Last Blue Water Rally – John Hazell

John and his boat Fai Tira took part in the last Blue Water Rally, a round-the-world rally specifically for cruising sailors. He will talk about his near circumnavigation, the many problems overcome and the final difficulties due to the pirates in the Indian Ocean.

Racing and RORC – Peter Rutter

Are all racing men mad?? Former Commodore of the Royal Ocean Racing Club and winner of the 2011 IRC National Championship title, Peter Rutter tells how he has run a series of successful racing boats, won many races and the role of RORC.

Admiral Robert Fitzroy, first Head of the Met Office 
Gordon Tripp

Famous as the man who sailed Charles Darwin round the world, what more do we know about this remarkable Victorian and sailor who also did pioneering work on weather forecasting.

Scilly Pleasures and Precautions – Ken Endean

Everybody wants to visit the Isles of Scilly: Ken returns to tell us how to navigate around and between the islands, how to stay safe when the weather is bad and how to enjoy ourselves when the weather is good.

Sailing Atlantic and Pacific – Bob Hazell

Bob & Elaine Hazell left the UK in 2008 to realise a life’s ambition. Here they recall the last 9 months fantastic experience of their South Pacific Crossing from the Panama Canal to New Zealand, and visiting many of the stunning islands en route.

AGM : followed by 
The Creation of the Bell Rock Lighthouse 1807–11 
Roland Paxton

Professor Roland Paxton of Heriot-Watt University and the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Panel for Historical Engineering Works will tell us how this wonder of the industrial world was achieved on a rock up to 5 metres below high water and 11 miles out to sea.

 Programme Autumn 2011

Unique Hurtigruten - Lucy Hone

From the Norwegian Shipping Company, a history of Hurtigruten and where they go: Norway, Spitsbergen, Greenland and Antarctica, illustrated talk with superb photos. 2011 has been declared the Nansen – Amundsen year in Norway to honour the two polar explorers.

Qwyver Travels On - John Andrews and Freda Haylett

John and Freda return to tell us about the next part of their voyage, from New Zealand to Brazil via Australia and South Africa.

White Nights in the Baltic - Douglas Addison

Starting from Turku in Finland and sailing around the Northern Baltic, including Latvia, Estonia and Sweden, Douglas discovered windmills, painted wooden houses, Orthodox Churches, Lutheran Cathedrals ....and saunas

Cruising the Wild West - Robert Fellowes

Spitzbergen or west coast of Ireland? Robert will describe his cruise to either Ireland or Spitsbergen depending on whether he managed to get to Spitsbergen during the summer of 2011!

National Historic Ships Society - Martyn Heighton

Martyn Heighton, Director, National Historic Ships will tell us about vessels currently on the National Register of Historic Vessels and the Historic Fleet, problems they face and the solutions the National Register is planning to achieve.

The Plimsoll Line - Nicolette Jones

What inspired the London Transport logo, banished coffin-ships and saved thousands of sailors lives? The story of an MP's campaign to improve the lot of sailors - battling ship owners and parliament, who were more interested in profits than sailors' lives.

The RYA: the best possible Life Sentence - James Stevens

We welcome back James Stevens, recently retired as head of RYA training and examining to reminisce on his long career with them, and his thoughts on the changing world of sailing.

GXSA MasterClass On Ocean Sailing

Acknowledged expert and well known author Jimmy Cornell provides a unique insight. This is an open meeting organised by GXSA. Members of other clubs and the RYA Thames Valley section are invited to join us. 

Further details and booking arrangements will be posted on the home page as they emerge

Sydney to Hobart Race 2006 - Charles Sandison

A Father and Sons race “down under”. Charles will explain the history of the race and his preparations in the UK, together with the build up in Sydney and the race itself.

Traditional Boatbuilding on the Thames - Colin Henwood

Colin is one of a new generation of Thames Boatbuilders who are continuing the traditions of restoring, maintaining and building elegant Thames craft. His enthusiasm, together with stunning photographs of some of the finest boats on the Thames, make his talk interesting for us all.

Cast Off for Christmas

More entertaining stories from members about their year′s sailing experiences plus mince pies and seasonal refreshments.

Programme Autumn 2011

Unique Hurtigruten - Lucy Hone

From the Norwegian Shipping Company, a history of Hurtigruten and where they go: Norway, Spitsbergen, Greenland and Antarctica, illustrated talk with superb photos. 2011 has been declared the Nansen – Amundsen year in Norway to honour the two polar explorers.

Qwyver Travels On - John Andrews and Freda Haylett

John and Freda return to tell us about the next part of their voyage, from New Zealand to Brazil via Australia and South Africa.

White Nights in the Baltic - Douglas Addison

Starting from Turku in Finland and sailing around the Northern Baltic, including Latvia, Estonia and Sweden, Douglas discovered windmills, painted wooden houses, Orthodox Churches, Lutheran Cathedrals ....and saunas

Cruising the Wild West - Robert Fellowes

Spitzbergen or west coast of Ireland? Robert will describe his cruise to either Ireland or Spitsbergen depending on whether he managed to get to Spitsbergen during the summer of 2011!

National Historic Ships Society - Martyn Heighton

Martyn Heighton, Director, National Historic Ships will tell us about vessels currently on the National Register of Historic Vessels and the Historic Fleet, problems they face and the solutions the National Register is planning to achieve.

The Plimsoll Line - Nicolette Jones

What inspired the London Transport logo, banished coffin-ships and saved thousands of sailors lives? The story of an MP's campaign to improve the lot of sailors - battling ship owners and parliament, who were more interested in profits than sailors' lives.

The RYA: the best possible Life Sentence - James Stevens

We welcome back James Stevens, recently retired as head of RYA training and examining to reminisce on his long career with them, and his thoughts on the changing world of sailing.

GXSA MasterClass On Ocean Sailing

Acknowledged expert and well known author Jimmy Cornell provides a unique insight. This is an open meeting organised by GXSA. Members of other clubs and the RYA Thames Valley section are invited to join us. 

Further details and booking arrangements will be posted on the home page as they emerge

Sydney to Hobart Race 2006 - Charles Sandison

A Father and Sons race “down under”. Charles will explain the history of the race and his preparations in the UK, together with the build up in Sydney and the race itself.

Traditional Boatbuilding on the Thames - Colin Henwood

Colin is one of a new generation of Thames Boatbuilders who are continuing the traditions of restoring, maintaining and building elegant Thames craft. His enthusiasm, together with stunning photographs of some of the finest boats on the Thames, make his talk interesting for us all.

Cast Off for Christmas

More entertaining stories from members about their year′s sailing experiences plus mince pies and seasonal refreshments.

Spring 2011

World Cruising Destinations - Jimmy Cornell

Distinguished sailor and author Jimmy Cornell has completed ocean passages in all parts of the world including the Antarctic and the Pacific, illustrated in his new book entitled World Cruising Today. Excellent pictures and fine sailing.

An Atlantic Crossing - Ray Bridges

Our vice chairman, Ray was sailing dinghies until just a few years ago. In spring 2010 he sailed Sonar, his Island Packet 440 to the Caribbean and will describe the voyage and the warm cruising grounds he has explored there. A good talk for a January evening.

Around the World - Rory McDougall

Rory's Wharram Tiki 21 is the smallest multihull to circumnavigate the world at just 21ft in length. With no engine and navigating by sextant and compass, the voyage was a wonderful discovery of islands, nature and cultures, all experienced in a simple and non-intrusive way.

The RNLI : An insider's View - Paul Boissier

What is 186 years old, costs £380,000 a day to run, builds boats and saves a life a day? Find out from the RNLI's Chief Executive, who once qualified as a brewer of Guinness and then went round the world in a submarine.

How to Write a Sea Story - Sam Llewellyn

Author of many novels, accomplished sailor and frequent columnist in sailing magazines, Sam returns to entertain us with his humorous insight on all matters maritime. He believes that telling stories is the summit of human achievement and will convince you with this talk.

Europe's Waterways: Down the Danube 
Philip and Phyl Cook

Philip "&" Phyl designed and managed the building of their 21m motor boat, Zingara, which they took on inland European waterways from France to Romania, travelling on the Rhine, Main and Danube. They returned via the Mediterranean in 2009.

Cruising the Western Isles
David Horn and Rob Johnstone

GXSA members David and John explored the Hebrides and St Kilda in the summer of 2010. Fine pictures, good stories and helpful sailing advice about this excellent cruising area will convince you to visit.

Sailing the North Aegean Sea
Karin and Andrew Wilkinson

Mediterranean experts and former GXSA members, Karen and Andrew describe their recent voyage exploring the Northern Aegean islands and changes on the sailing front that they have seen in the Mediterranean in the past 10 years.

Jester Challenge 2010 - John Apps

This was John's third Jester Challenge, a biannual single handed trans-Atlantic event for yachts under 30 ft in length. Sailing his UFO 27 "Glayva" he completed the crossing to Newport, Rhode Island in 50 days and was presented with the Newport Medal in recognition of his achievement.

45th Annual Dinner at Buckinghamshire Golf Club, Denham