Gordon Harold - Sailing Around the UK - Against the Clock

Gordon HaroldGXSA member Gordon, was a very experienced dinghy sailor when he bought his first cruising boat in the 1980s, a Halcyon 27. This was followed by a Frances 26 and then in 2003 a Contessa 32 which is regarded as a safe robust 'go anywhere' offshore yacht.

GXSA talks on a ‘Round the UK Rally’, the accounts of Roger Oliver’s solo passages round Britain in PBO, and the BBC’s excellent ‘Coast’ programmes, all inspired Gordon to do something similar, so in 2006 he set off on a meticulously planned venture to sail around the UK.

The trip proved to be a challenging and rewarding experience, both on and offshore.

Come and hear his story, there is something to touch us all.

GXSA Talk - Wednesday November 6th

Dr Isabel Ansorge - U-Boats, Giant Waves and Climate Change

Dr Isabel AnsorgeMembers may recall Isabel's excellent enjoyable and informative talk about Oceanography in 2010 when Isabel not only explained the basics of the then topical themes in Oceanography, but also described her personal research projects in the Antarctic.

The Colston Hall was packed like never before...

This time, in response to a personal invitation from GXSA, she is making a special return visit from her base in Cape Town to tell us about unusual ocean currents, like those used by U-Boats to sneak in and out of the Mediterranean and the currents causing the accumulation of huge areas of rubbish in the oceans also the giant waves along the South African coast that have caused the sinking of huge ships.

Dr Isabel AnsorgeIn addition, Isabel was recently involved in the sea trials and equipping of the new South African polar research ship, the S.A. AGULHAS II. She will describe this state-of-the art vessel and her winter shake-down voyage to Antarctica.

Finally there will be an update on climate change and global warming developments which were a key theme of her previous talk.

Isabel is currently on Sabbatical and has just returned from a research voyage to Gough Island, Tristan da Cunha and the Southern Ocean - next stop .... Gerrards Cross!

This will be another unforgettable evening - be there, or you'll have big regrets ...


GXSA Talk - Wednesday November 13th

Justin Jones - All About Ropes

Marlow Braid

Justin is the maritime manager of English Braids, a UK manufacturer of ropes and cordage based in Worcestershire whose best known yachting brand is Marlow Ropes. In his illustrated talk, he will tell us about some of the underlying manufacturing processes and technology which over time have gradually improved to gives us the superb modern ropes of today.

In a change from our normal style of Wednesday's talks, Justin and his assistant will demonstrate some rigging tricks and also show us how to splice braided ropes. This is not just a boring 'plain vanilla' practical demo - splicing done by these experts - is magic.

Come along, bring your fids, have a go yourself - you'll be amazed and leave itching to get to the boat to replace those tired old halyards.

GXSA Talk - Wednesday November 20th

Martin Thomas

Rum, Sodomy and the Lash - A history of Naval Medicine

Battle of TrafalgarMartin Thomas, surgeon, sailor and former OCC Commodore will talk about medicine and surgery in the navy during the age of sail.

He will trace the story of scurvy and of how lessons learnt were forgotten and learnt again, with mention of typhus and other medical conditions. The navy’s approach to discipline for insubordination, drunkenness and other crimes will be explored together with the place of punishments such as running the gauntlet and flogging.

Battle of TrafalgarMartin will try to give some insight into what it was like to have a limb amputated in a ship of the line at sea. Finally there will be a brief account of the injuries suffered by the crew on HMS Victory at Trafalgar and their treatments with particular reference to Nelson’s injury and death.

Surgical saws
Not for the squeamish, but certainly an interesting evening and one you’ll recount for many weeks to come.

GXSA Talk - Wednesday November 27th

June and John Gorrie   "Cruising in the Carribbean ...
                        without a budget !"

Caribbean Anchorage 
Two of our members, John and June Gorrie will recount their adventures on a 110 metre yacht in the Carribbean.

They will tell how they managed to sail in a big circle from Bridgetown, Barbados to St Lucia, Grenada, the Grenadines, Bequia and back to Bridgetown without looking at a single chart and without making a single passage plan.

John and June's Siren!

Unlike the usual GXSA rallies, there was no rain and no gale force winds!

They never even tied a fender!

As the winter weather deteriorates, this is certainly going to be an evening for planning trips to warmer climes - June and John will give us some ideas, and show us how to :

" Just do it !"