Shellbacks Goes Live and Zoom

Feb 14, 2024

The Shellback Club is celebrating 89 years and is beginning its 90th! As usual, the club has selected speakers and videos presenting a wide range of nautical and maritime topics and sometimes outdoor adventures.

Shellbacks plans for a series of meetings loaded with friendly women and men who like nautical topics and interesting informed speakers.

The FORMAT this year is in person and Zoom. You will be kept up to date by the Skipper and you may also peruse the Shellbacks web.  

To attend, one, several or all Shellbacks sessions ON ZOOM, please register at You only have to register once for Shellbacks 2024 sessions. Once you have registered, you will be sent your own personal zoom link. That link will work for any of the Spring sessions you choose to join. For help on using Zoom, see

To be a Shellback today only requires attending a lunch meeting and joining everyone in singing a sea shanty. (“We’ve found some great shanties online for our ZOOM sessions.”) Guests are always welcome. Invite those who may not have been able to join us in person but can do so on ZOOM.

The 90th Shellback year includes these presentations:

February 14th: ZOOM ONLY: Tony Robinson on Timeline – El Triunfante; The Biggest Shipwreck Ever Discovered in Spain – What’s the process of retrieving a sunken ship and preparing it for display in a museum? How do archaeologists work underwater? One of the biggest wrecks ever discovered in Spain was the ‘Triunfante’, sunk during a French siege in 1795. We follow the process from its discovery to its display in a museum and learn what makes this ship so special.

February 21ST: ON ZOOM and IN PERSON: Could You Handle These Horrid Seafaring Jobs From History? Worst Jobs in History – Among the thankless tasks tackled by TONY ROBINSON this week are the work of the midshipman, lighthouse keeper, stoker and trimmer, the men of Britain’s first navy who survived on minimal rations, and the men who wore sacks on their heads on the luxury liners. Finally he experiences the dangerous occupation of the Victorian lifeboat man.

February 28th: Wayne Parker – Organizing a Long-Distance Race: Wayne was one of the organizers of the long distant race to Kingston. He will outline the challenges his team faced and the resulting tribulations … and they plan to do it again this summer!

March 6th: A Life Course Change at 50 with Thomas Aulinger

March 13th: ON ZOOM ONLY: Part-time Explorer brings us The Wreck of the SS ATLANTIC – Halifax, NS 1873 –  the SS Atlantic was a transatlantic ocean liner of the White Star Line that operated between Liverpool, United Kingdom, and New York City, United States. During the ship’s 19th voyage, on 1 April 1873, she struck rocks and sank off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, killing at least 535 people. It remained the deadliest civilian maritime disaster in the North Atlantic Ocean until the sinking of SS La Bourgogne on 2 July 1898 and the greatest disaster for the White Star Line prior to the loss of Titanic in April 1912.

MARCH 20th: The Welland Canal – Past and the Present with Tom Garner

MARCH 27th: Jacqueline Gibbons on the Development of a Float Plane

APRIL 3rd: Dianne Leggatt, Noel & Sally Lien will look back at the 97 Flotilla from Toronto to Bonavista. On May 10th, 1997, seventy-five boats left under great fanfare from Ontario Place in Toronto to sail to Bonavista, NL to meet the Matthew, a replica ship of that sailed by John Cabot in 1497. The ship was welcomed to Bonavista by the crews of the 75 boats and the Queen on June 24th, 1997.

APRIL 10th: ON ZOOM ONLY – Peter Rowe and his new book: Out There: The Batshit Antics of the World’s Great Explorers – A panel of Shellbacks will join Peter to discuss his new book. Join us for a lively discussion, many pictures and comments from renowned author and filmmaker, Peter Rowe. Read the book ahead of time and join in the discussion … or just watch & listen.

APRIL 17th: DIANNE LEGGATT & OTHERS – 90TH Celebration – Highlights & History of Shellbacks, Toronto, from 1934 to today.


The Shellback Club officially started in February 1934 and met at Eileen Bradley’s Tea House on Adelaide Street in Toronto but had its roots earlier. Starting in 1924, some of the crews of large racing sailboats from RCYC met weekly in the summer to organize crew duties.

By 1934, these crew meetings had morphed into The Shellback Club as other sailors from Clubs in the area liked the idea of sharing lunch and sailing lore… and even singing a shanty.

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