Lectures

I’ve been invited to talk to yacht clubs not only in England, Wales and Scotland, but also in Ireland, Holland and Norway. These include, amongst others, The Royal Yacht Squadron, Bromsgrove Boaters, The Royal Channel Islands YC, Rudyard Lake, The Irish Cruising Club, Poolbeg YC, Nederlandsche Vereeniging van Kustzeilers, Chipping Norton YC and Cardiff Bay YC. 

There is a fee for my talks, but if you’ve only got a few members, don’t despair. Small groups sometimes get together with a neighbouring club and I’ve been known to donate a book for a raffle prize to help swell the coffers. 

All my 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.

Current Lecture Options

‘Confessions of a Yachtmaster Examiner’.  This talk takes a look at the top end of the yachting qualification world from well outside the box. How did the examiner’s motorcycle end up in a hedge on the Isle of Wight? Had he lost the will to live? And how did he fetch up at dawn in Cherbourg with two lively girls in his saloon who weren’t on the crew list – without touching land! All will be revealed, and much more in this exposé.

‘Man is Not Lost’.  One of my most popular club lectures. The talk is about the development and safe use of navigational electronics. It combines a mix of yarns and solid information. This is a friendly and irreverent look at the changes many of us have seen from the early 1970s when I found Barbados after 42 days at sea with no chart at all – just a lat/long position, a sextant and my grandfather’s pocket watch – to my current chart plotters that sometimes manage to lead me astray.

Ice with Everything – to America with the Norsemen’ The early 1980s saw me setting off in a 1911 sailing pilot boat, with my wife and four-year-old daughter as part of the crew, to follow the old Viking route from Norway to America. I only partly succeeded and it was to be many years before another chance came my way when a mate offered me a berth to Greenland in a boat that he’d bought for £14,000 on eBay. In this talk I weave the modern day and ancient expeditions into a rollicking tale you really won’t want to miss.

‘What ship? Where Bound?’ A talk on two levels – part autobiographical, part historical. My lifetime involvement with cruising ancient pilot boats gave me a head start when writing my 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 pictures of today.

‘In the Wake of Heroes’ In this lecture, I open the porthole on a cast of maritime characters from my book of the same name including the famous to the obscure. I also talk about my own genesis from a knockabout sailor to a writer and what it’s like to face a blank page.

‘The Life and Times of the Shell Channel Pilot’ I inherited this well-known guide for yachtsmen in the English Channel from the swashbuckling Commander Johnnie Coote, who in turn had it from the legendary Adlard Coles. In this lecture, I combine the history of the book with some of the misadventures the current Pilot has to go to for his readers. Fully illustrated.

Testimonials

I have had nothing but great comments from all who attended.  London Corinthian Sailing Club

An entertaining and informative evening. We had a record audience. Gerrards Cross Sailing Association

Your enthusiasm for the subject inspired the audience. I received many good feedback comments. Henley Offshore Group

Thank you very much for your superb presentation last evening. The members have all told me how much they enjoyed it. Newhaven Yacht Club

A huge thanks for Monday evening which was exactly what we needed. Several said we should capture your delivery on film. Sea-Change Trust

I thought you would like to know that we have received a lot of bookings for your talk, about 50, max is 70. Only been advertised for 2 weeks! North Norfolk Boatyard

On behalf of all of your friends in BSC, thank you for a wonderfully entertaining talk. Your passion is highly infectious. Bray Sailing Club

What a success and the feedback on the workshops was fantastic. RYA

Everybody loved the evening. This is borne out by the laughter following some of your navigation stories. Ashdown Sailing Club

An interesting and amusing talk. All thoroughly enjoyed listening to you. Cardiff Bay Yacht Club

A huge thank you for your talk on Saturday. The feedback was amazing; you absolutely knocked their socks off with your thrilling tale of the race to get the Trafalgar dispatches to London. Both academics and lay members alike were entranced.  The Nelson Society

Thanks for speaking at our RYA North East Conference. We much appreciate the incredible entertaining, enthusiastic, intelligent and informative manner of your two presentations. RYA North East Conference

Man is Not Lost ~ A salutary talk, and a great evening’s education and entertainment.  Chipping Norton Yacht Club

All the proper sailors reckoned the theatre at Excel warehouse was the best part of the show – and your talk was the most popular by far. John Goode

A hugely enjoyable, funny, engaging, inspiring and informative talk at the London Boat Show. Michael from Faringdon

Huge thanks for a splendid evening Tom, I’ve already been asked ‘Are you coming back next year!’  Channel Sailing Club