Programme Spring 2022

Talks begin at 8.15pm.  Procedure to receive the  Zoom links 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 January 12th

Antarctica, Old and New

Bob Shepton

Accomplished sailor, mountaineer and Arctic explorer, Reverend Bob Shepton will tell us about his sailing in the 1990s between the Falklands and Antarctica (partly under jury rig) and more recently on Novara from the Falklands to South Georgia in 2017. More details

Wednesday January 19th

Cruising through Life, BC to the Hanson Cup

James Littlewood

James returns to reflect, in his usual entertaining style, on his sailing career and tell us about his cruising on the coastal and inland waterways of Northwest Europe. He recently won the prestigious Cruising Association Hanson Trophy for his 2020 log of his travels. More details

Wednesday January 26th

HMS Medusa

Alan Watson

Medusa is the last original, seaworthy example of 464 HDML vessels built for the WW2 Royal Navy. After a critical role at Omaha beach on D Day and other action, she became a survey ship, then civilian life since 1968. Alan has been her skipper for the last 9 years. More details

Wednesday February 2nd

Wildlife and Ecology of the Thames

Graham Scholey

Graham has a specialist role with the Environment Agency (Thames area) and was made MBE for his work in 2004. He will explain how the wildlife (above and below the surface) and ecology of the Thames fit in with historic changes to the river and its management.  More details

Wednesday February 9th

The Penlee Lifeboat

Paul Barnett

In 1981, the Solomon Browne was launched into hurricane conditions to aid the MV Union Star off the southern coast of Cornwall. A few people were rescued on to the lifeboat but then both vessels were wrecked, and a total of 16 people were lost. This is their story. More details 

Wednesday February 16th

The Big Tow

John Apps

John successfully completed the 2021 Jester Azores Challenge, sailing single handed to the Azores. All the boats that crossed the start line finished but not all under their own sail power. Do you really need a rudder? How far can you tow a boat under sail, and more….  More details

Wednesday February 23rd


Jon Holt

Jon founded the Scaramouche Sailing Trust and leads outdoor education at a London City Academy. With small boats and their 45ft Admiral’s Cup boat, Scaramouche, he has led young sailors to compete successfully in major races, including the RTI and Fastnet.

Wednesday March 2nd

Three Men in a Nauticat Boat

Richard Sutton

Santander to Portsmouth 2020. It all began with a remark over a beer: “If you need any help bringing your boat back from Spain, give me a call.” Several months later I was in Santander staring at a boat that wasn’t ready to sail in the harbour, let alone cross Biscay.  More details

Wednesday March 9th

Lloyd's Register

Mark Darley

After his early career as a marine surveyor, Mark is now Global Marine and Offshore Director at Lloyd’s Register’s Marine and Offshore business. He will tell us about how they help companies to improve design, safety and environmental impact of shipping.   More details

Wednesday March 16th

Annual General Meeting

AGM and Review of the year, followed by a look forward to the coming sailing season.

 Programme Autumn 2021

Talks in Colston Hall begin at 8.15pm.  Additional Zoom invitations will be sent to members and registered visitors at least one day before the talk. Please note changed order of some talks.

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

Wednesday October 13th

Chesapeake Bay and Recovering Crashed Aircraft

Brian Deacon

Sailing in Chesapeake Bay was on Brian’s bucket list, and he managed to cross this off in 2017.  Separately, his career in aviation led him into aircraft recovery; not what he planned but an interesting subject.  Don’t worry if you are not a keen flyer, nor is he!  More details

Wednesday October 20th

The Saxon Ship Project

Joe Startin

The 625 AD ship burial at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk is important in North European maritime history. A digital reconstruction has been made and a reconstruction of the ship is now being built next to the River Deben to explore some of the purposes of the ship.  More details

Wednesday October 27th

Round Britain in Vela

Jill Rogers

Jill is a serving Army Officer who decided to take a break from “green camouflage” for 6 months and sail her Sadler 25 - Vela around Britain in 2019, doing most of it single-handed. Prior to the trip, she had only sailed alone occasionally…. More details

Wednesday November 3rd

Phoenicians were in America before Columbus

Philip Beale

Adventurer and Sailor, Philip Beale FRGS, will describe his journey sailing a Phoenician galley, the Phoenicia, on a 6000 mile voyage from Carthage to the Americas in 2019-20. One of the most interesting and important historic replica ship voyages of recent times.  More details

Wednesday November 10th

The Isle of Wight, England in Miniature

Graham Horn

Graham (a blue badge guide) visits the island frequently and has an extensive knowledge of its attractions, history and geography. Some of us know the island well and the talk will bring back memories, but most people listening also say “Well, I didn’t know that.”  More details

Wednesday November 17th

Rowing the Thames

Tony Ayton and Isabel van der Ven

Join Tony, Isabel and their double sculled, hand-crafted boat Papillon as they rowed 125 miles down the Thames from Lechdale to Teddington Lock in 2018. They will tell us about their boat (which they plan to bring with them!..) and what they enjoyed. More details

Wednesday November 24th

Resurrecting Dr John Snipe

Jane Bowden-Dan

When Nelson re-boarded Victory in 1805, he wrote to the Admiralty to commend the services of Dr John Snipe (Physician to the Fleet) to negotiate a supply of lemon juice for the Navy. We shall hear of his importance to the Mediterranean Fleet’s success.  More details

Wednesday December 1st

Mayflower Autonomous Ship

Brett Phaneuf

With no human captain or onboard crew, the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) uses Artificial Intelligence and energy from the sun to travel further and reveal more about the ocean. We will hear about this and other innovative projects run by the ProMare company.  More details

Wednesday December 8th

Cruising in Indonesia

Norma and Phil Heaton

In 2009 Norma and Phil embarked on a seven-year circumnavigation in Minnie B, including lengthy visits to Indonesia and Malaysia starting in 2014. Their talk will cover weather, anchorages, culture, people, provisioning, landscapes and hazards....  More details

Wednesday December 15th

Cast Off for Christmas

For GXSA members, the usual mix of short presentations about sailing incidents, photo competition, quiz and festive entertainment.  To make it more inclusive, this will now be a Zoom only event; we shall not meet in the Hall. Get your photos ready - categories are Humorous, Scenic, Sailing, Wildflower seeds. Maximum one photo per category, per person. To enter photos, you must log in to the GXSA web site and then you will see the link in the Events menu. More details

 Programme Spring 2021

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

All Shipshape and Blackwall-fashion

Jeremy Batch

On the Blackwall side of the Thames, opposite the dome, lie the largest private dock in Europe and the locations of countless innovations in shipping and commerce. Jeremy will transport us through the amazing history of this part of London with his usual engaging style.  More details

Wednesday October 14th

Building and Arctic Sailing a Traditional Boat

Will Stirling

Stirling and Son Ltd are based in Devon and specialise in restoration and building wooden boats of all descriptions. Will Stirling will tell us about constructing his own impressive 43ft Gentleman’s Cutter and an exciting expedition in it to Jan Mayen and East Greenland.  More details

Wednesday October 21st

Shipwrecks of the Thames

Robert Smith

Rob will tell us about 12 ships out of the thousands that have sunk in the Thames, from a Roman cargo ship to a 17th century ship whose sinking shocked Samuel Pepys; a voyage through history that includes the ship full of explosives that is still there and a mysterious sinking in the Cold War.  More details

Wednesday October 28th

Do we really need all those Instruments?

Stuart Gaunt

In 1984 Marvin Creamer became the first and only person known to have sailed around the world without instruments.  30,000 miles. 18 months.  No Chart Plotter. No Decca. No RDF. No Sextant.  No Astrolabe. No Clock. No Watch.  What made him do it?  How did he do it?  More details

Wednesday November 4th

Nordic Odyssey

Clive Woodman

In 2004 Clive completed a ski traverse in the arctic winter of the whole length of Norway, from Telemark to Finnmark and then sailed south from Nord Cap along the whole Norwegian coast in his 19ft Cornish Shrimper (yes, 19ft…). Clive will join us from Germany to present this remarkable story.  More details

Wednesday November 11th

Passage Planning, Pilotage and Yacht Delivery in the Med

Graham Thomas

In October 2016, Graham helped to crew and navigate a move of two sailing school yachts from Trapani in Sicily to San Miguel in Tenerife. The journey of approximately 2000nm takes between 4-5 weeks and included interesting offshore sailing, weather, gear failure and being in close confines for long periods. The second part of the talk has a special focus on passage planning and preparation.  More details

The talk on Edward Allcard has been postponed

Wednesday November 18th

Boat Building in Bucks

Rob Johnstone

Unlike many of us, GXSA member Rob Johnstone has something to show from Lockdowns 1 and 2. He will tell us about the trials and tribulations of creating the design, establishing a workshop space, building and (almost) finishing a 15ft lug sail dinghy. Her maiden voyage is imminent.  More details

Wednesday November 25th

Circumnavigation of New Zealand

David and Andrea McKay

David and Andrea McKay live in Tasmania and have made several crossings to New Zealand and elsewhere in the Pacific Ocean. In this video presentation, they take us on their 2013-2014 journey around New Zealand in their steel Van De Stadt Tasman 48, Diomedea.  More details

Wednesday December 2nd

The Right Knots for Red Knickers - and - The South Africa Route

Jenny Crickmore-Thompson and John Franklin

Jenny and John are GXSA members, currently in South Africa. Jenny will entertain us with some of their sailing experiences (from her point of view…).  John will explain their efforts to help ocean cruising yachts avoid the 2020 Indian Ocean cyclone season during the Covid19 restrictions.  More details

Wednesday December 9th

Annual General Meeting

Review of the year, AGM and future plans for the rest of 2021.