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A voyage into history: Thomas Cavendish

Claudia Myatt reports on the first of our Winter Talks season at Robertsons Boatyard on the River Deben, December, 2023.

Thomas Cavendish: the navigator who wasn’t averse to a bit of piracy too

The Sprat Shed at Robertsons Boatyard in Woodbridge is a perfect place for a social gathering – once Sprat dinghies were built there; now it’s a cosy social space with rugs, sofas and a small galley. On 9 December, 2023 twenty or so Gaffers got together for the first event in a series of winter socials, a talk by maritime historian Cathy Shelbourne on 15th century local sailing hero and privateer Thomas Cavendish. Cathy is a professional speaker who spends several weeks a year as cruise ship lecturer; her talks are full of stories, anecdotes and fascinating research that brings sailing history to life. We discovered the importance of nutmeg and ruthlessness in bringing prosperity to Ipswich, and in spite of our 21st century problems we were all glad not to be living in a time when you would be rewarded by the Queen for burning and looting a foreign shore!

More winter events and talks are planned and it’s great to have the chance to meet off the water and do a bit of armchair sailing.