January 9th


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

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 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 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 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