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


GXSA   -   Recruiting new, younger members

                    The Gerrards Cross People                   (tune, YMCA)

Young man, there’s no need to feel down
I said, “Young man, there’s a welcome in town” 
I said, “Young man, can you just stick around”
And join our Wednesday evenings

Wednesdays, through the long winter months
I said “Even, if you only come once”
I said “Enjoy it, and get over your grumps”
And join our, fine little club


Chorus       It’s fun to go the GXSA; it’s fun to go the GXSA
                   You can meet all your friends; you can chat with your mates
                   And their speakers, they’re just so great


Summers, just go out on a boat
I said, “Young man, enjoy being afloat !”
I said “Sailing, is what gets my vote”
Our rallies are so much fun

Chorus       It’s fun to go the GXSA; it’s fun to go the GXSA
                   You can meet all your friends; you can chat with your mates
                   And their speakers, they’re just so great


Saturdays, we have special events         
I say, “These will, help to prevent
Boring weekends”, it’s just heaven sent
Oh, come and join us

Chorus       It’s fun to go the GXSA; it’s fun to go the GXSA
                   You can meet all your friends; you can chat with your mates
                   And their speakers, they’re just so great


GXSA, it’s fun to go the GXSA
GXSA, you’re sure to love it at GXSA

 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 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 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.