One of my most popular club lectures is about the development and safe use of navigational electronics. It masquerades under the title of ‘Man is Not Lost ‘. The talk, a mix of yarns and solid information, is a friendly and irreverent look at the changes many of us have seen from the days when I found Barbados after 42 days at sea with no chart at all – just a lat/long to shoot for, a sextant and my grandfather’s pocket watch – to my current chart plotters that sometimes manage to lead me astray.
I have another lecture, called ‘The Boats that Built Britain’ which is based on my popular BBC2/4 TV series. It gives an insight into the presenter’s lot and includes a few out-takes.
Also on offer is a talk entitled ‘Ice With Everything’. This is about a trip I made recently in a mate’s boat that he bought for £14,000 on eBay. There’s rape and pillage involved, but not from us boys I hasten to add. That’s where the Vikings come in. A rollicking tale.
My latest lecture is called ‘What Ship? Where Bound? ‘ This is a talk on two levels – part autobiographical, part historical. My lifetime involvement with cruising ancient pilot boats gave me a headstart when writing my most recent book about the history of the sailing pilots in northern Europe. Hair-raising tales of the everyday life of a pilot are interwoven with my own adventures to Brazil, Greenland and Soviet Russia. The reason this form of vessel was so popular is explained – all backed up by a load of images from the era of magic lantern slides to digital pix of today.
All these lectures are richly illustrated and last about 50 minutes with a question-and-answer session afterwards. If your club is outside the Solent area, there may be some modest travel expenses.
A full house at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club