Candidate Profile

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History - Maritime
Franz Schneider enjoys giving talks on cruise ships because of his love of the sea. A sailor all his life, Franz became active in ocean racing as a teenager. He sailed many thousands of miles with Ted Turner, starting with races from Bermuda to Copenhagen in 1966, and from California to Honolulu in 1967. In the 1970s, Franz was Turner’s navigator in many ocean races including the classic Newport to Bermuda, and Miami to Montego Bay races. He was also the founder of Landfall Navigation, a firm that offers navigational supplies and services.

Onboard, Franz will give several talks about ocean racing, as well as several about navigation, including celestial navigation. Franz’s first voyage was as a child on the classic liner Queen of Bermuda, starting his passion for ocean liners. He gives a talk about some of those experiences, including passages on the last two liners powered by steam: the Norway (built as the France), and the Regent Sun (built as the Shalom). Franz also has given talks on topics ranging from psychopaths to estate planning.

When not at sea, Franz has a dual career as an academic and a professional money manager. A holder of three degrees from Harvard University, he has taught there since 2001— most recently teaching courses about Psychopaths, and Law and Psychology. He holds an appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School. For the past 28 years, he has also been a private trustee as well as a registered investment advisor.
1. A Life on Liners
As a child, Franz’s family often visited his grandmother in Bermuda. Their voyages on the classis liner Queen of Bermuda started Franz’s passion for ocean liners, and he will talk about some of those experiences. Other classic liners included in Franz talk include: the Ocean Monarch, sometimes called the Millionaire’s Yacht; the French liner Antilles completed in 1953; the Regent Sun, originally Shalom, completed in 1964; and the Norway, originally built as France in 1962. The latter two ships were the last ocean liners powered by steam.

2. Becoming a Navigator

Franz Schneider grew up in a sailing family and learned to sail as a child. Starting at age 12, he wanted to sail on the beautiful yachts that raced on the ocean. As a boy he discovered that one way to realize this dream was to learn navigation. In this talk Franz describes these early experiences which led to his racing to Bermuda when he was 16. In the 1970s, he started navigating winners in several classic ocean races. He continued navigating in Bermuda races through 1994, but by then the widespread use of GPS had taken most of the fun out of being an ocean racing navigator.

3. The Bermuda Triangle: Myths and Realities

The public has long been fascinated by the Bermuda Triangle— a vast area of ocean in which all sorts of strange things seem to happen to ships and airplanes. Franz Schneider will describe some of the incidents attributed to the Bermuda Triangle as we sail through these waters. He will discuss some of the real phenomena that can present a challenge, and will also explore some of the myths that continue in the public mind.

4. Ocean Racing with Ted Turner I – Transatlantic & Transpacific
Franz started racing with Ted Turner in 1966 when Ted competed in a 3,600-mile race from Bermuda to Denmark with his Cal 40 yacht Vamp X. In this talk, Franz starts with a video clip taken aboard another of Ted’s boat during the start of an ocean race. Then, a brief history will be given of how races across the Atlantic started in 1866, and continued sporadically since. The primary focus of this talk is the 20-day race with Ted in 1966, along with some highlights from a race to Honolulu in 1967 in Ted’s yacht Vamoose.

5. Cunard’s Legendary Queens

After crossing the Atlantic in a sailboat in 1966, the next voyage Franz Schneider took across the Atlantic was aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 in its 1969 maiden year. When he met some of the deck officers, they were eager to hear what it was like on a sailboat on the ocean, and he was fascinated by these officers’ life at sea. With the success of the QE2, Cunard regained it place at the pinnacle of ocean liners, as exemplified by the introduction of the Queen Mary 2, the last true ocean liner ever built. Through his voyages on the QE2 and other Cunard ships, Franz started exploring the rich history of the line. In this talk, Franz describes four legendary Cunard Queens, and he follows the careers that some of the young officers he met went on to have— becoming Captains, and Commodores of the Cunard fleet.

6. The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst
This talk examines an extraordinary ocean race that started in 1968—a non-stop, single-handed, round-the-world race that offered a prize of 5,000 pounds to the winner. There were no eligibility requirements, and one of the nine starters was Donald Crowhurst, a businessman in his 30s with little ocean sailing experience. He soon realized that neither he nor his boat were not up to the task, and so ceased radio transmissions and stayed in the Atlantic— sailing in circles— while the other competitors circumnavigated the globe.  Then, when the others were on their way back to the finish, he resumed radio transmissions giving positions that indicated that he might actually win the race.  Unfortunately, he had gone mad during this time— keeping two logbooks, one with his faked positions and a real one documenting his deception.  However, before he would have finished, he jumped overboard, and some weeks later his abandoned sailboat with the two logbooks was found adrift in the Atlantic. The story is now back in the public eye due to two recent movies, one (“Crowhurst”) released last year, and another (“The Mercy”) scheduled for release this year, which stars Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz.

7. The Art and Science of Navigation
As an experienced navigator, Franz introduces passengers to navigation— setting out some basics, and then describing specific navigational techniques, starting with the most basic tools that Columbus used, and ending up with the present day’s high tech navigational solutions. He will also present several navigation case studies, including the 1992 grounding of the Queen Elizabeth 2 near Martha's Vineyard, which occurred due to an error of the local pilot.

8. Ocean Racing with Ted Turner II – The Bermuda & Jamaica races
Franz became Ted Turner’s ocean racing navigator, starting with the 1973 Miami to Montego Bay race in Ted’s one-tonner, Lightnin’. Franz will discuss why the Jamaica race became his favorite, navigating Ted’s winning performances in 1973 as well as in 1979 with his 61-foot sloop, Tenacious. Another favorite race is the legendary Newport to Bermuda race, and Franz will describe some of the most memorable Bermuda races that he participated in between 1964 and 1994. He will also talk about recently seeing Ted, who has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia.

9. The Vanishing Art of Celestial Navigation
Since the time of Columbus, mariners have used the sun, moon, stars, and planets to guide their voyages. With the mid-18th century development of accurate time-keeping devices that could go to sea, it became possible to navigate the world’s oceans with a precision of about one mile using celestial navigation. Indeed, until the truly worldwide GPS system was introduced in the 1990s, all ships—and many airplanes—still carried sextants when navigating far from land.

Destination talks that Franz has given talks on several cruises to Cuba:

1. Cuba's Beautiful Cars
A look at the amazing cars seen in Cuba. Discover how cars from the 1950s and 1940s are in everyday use, and find out how their owners manage to maintain them. During this talk, many of the iconic cars of that period are discussed— with pictures. There are also video clips interviewing some of the ingenious mechanics that keep these car running.

2. Operation Mongoose: The CIA and Cuba
Starting with the Eisenhower administration, the CIA developed operations aimed at overthrowing the new Castro government in Cuba. These efforts intensified under President Kennedy after the Bay of Pigs fiasco. This talk includes video clips interviewing former CIA agents about some of the unsuccessful efforts that were made.

3. The Cuban Missile Crisis: Ten Days in October 1962
Under Khrushchev, the Soviet government secretly attempted to install medium-range nuclear weapons in Cuba. When the U.S. discovered this in October 1962, it led to a confrontation that tested the administration of President John F. Kennedy. During these ten days, the world came the closest it has ever been to a nuclear war.

In addition, Franz has given talks ashore on these topics that might be of interest aboard cruise ships:

- Psychopaths -- what they are and why, with some case studies

- All About Trusts – An introduction to estate planning

- Investments that can boost your income in retirement
No Cruise Experience details provided.
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Emerald Princess E912 (partial) Spanish Passage Cruise 15 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Friday, May 3, 2019
Viking Sun SU181216 Mid Atlantic Crossing 11 Lisbon Sunday, December 16, 2018
Viking Star ST181115 Cultural Cuba 7 Miami, Florida Thursday, November 15, 2018
Viking Star ST181108 Cultural Cuba 7 Miami, Florida Thursday, November 8, 2018