Candidate Profile

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History - Maritime
Science - General
Bob Collins (B.SC, MBA) is a graduate metallurgist and businessman with over thirty years professional experience working in the UK and internationally. Bob initially worked as a metallurgist in the energy sector advising on materials selection, manufacturing and fabrication methods and failure analysis, including working on the James Fisher Fleet of ships based in Barrow and supporting the nuclear industry. Subsequently Bob transitioned into commercial roles including sales and marketing before focusing on strategy and business planning as a Vice President in the Westinghouse Electric global nuclear business. During this time Bob worked with the Devonport Dockyard in the UK. Bob finally set up his own business providing consultancy on strategy, business planning, acquisitions and corporate alliances. Bob has extensive experience speaking to audiences large and small on cruises, at universities or local groups and at business events such as conferences and exhibitions.

Bob has developed his portfolio of talks based on a deep interest in both maritime history and the influence of materials on the world of today.

Talks on the Atlantic Ocean and Atlantic Islands

This set of talks discusses how crossing the Atlantic has developed over four thousand years from exploration to mass transport.

Talk 1 – The Atlantic Challenge
This first talk of the set focuses on the geography and climate of the Atlantic, considering wind patterns, sea currents, hurricanes and icebergs, including a discussion of the Sargasso Sea and the Bermuda Triangle. Through this we can see why the ‘Western Ocean’, as early sailors knew it, was such a challenge to early explorers and why it continues to demand respect from travellers today. The talk includes a look at how the Atlantic Ocean has changed over time and how man might be influencing this today.

Talk 2 – Who was first? – Exploring the Atlantic
There continues to be debate about who was the first to cross the Atlantic and discover ‘The Americas’. This talk looks at the early explorers who may or may not have been the first to reach the Americas and what we mean by ‘the first’, ranging from Thor Heyerdahl and his reeds boat theory through to the origin of European influence in the Americas. This talk includes discussion of the type of ships used by the early explorers, from reeds through Viking long boats and the ships of Christopher Columbus.

Talk 3 – Empires and Pirates
The Americas rapidly became an extension of the battlefields of Europe for the great maritime nations of the 15th and 16th Centuries as well as potentially sources of great wealth. And great wealth at sea would lead to the development of the tradition of pirates and privateers that is now looked back on with such an air of romance. This talk explores how England, France, Spain and Portugal sought to exploit the newly discovered territories as both new places of empire and finance for their ongoing wars in Europe and looks at the development of piracy, particularly in the Caribbean. To conclude at the time of the American War of Independence. The talk includes discussion of the ships used during this period of maritime history.

Talk 4 – The Blue Riband
From the early days of regular crossings, the speed at which a ship could cross the Atlantic was the focus for the marketing of scheduled transatlantic passenger services and it soon developed into a race to win the ‘Blue Riband’ for the fastest crossing. This talk looks at the history of the ‘Blue Riband’ from when 8Knots was considered a high average speed through to the most recent crossings at over 50Knots – though some may question if these more recent crossings should qualify for the riband!

Talk 5 – Travelling in Style
Today the ‘Atlantic Crossing’ is synonymous with fine dining and the highest of luxury travel, but it wasn’t always this way. This talk looks at the conditions of the journeys of the early colonists, the first wave of emigrants and concludes with what is often called the golden age of the transatlantic liner, including the wave of emigration from Europe to the USA from the late nineteenth century through a large part of the twentieth century.
Along the way the talk looks at how the design of ships has changed and how changing materials and technology has enabled faster and bigger ships to travel more safely, though nobody today would describe a ship as ‘unsinkable’.

Talk 6 – Mail, Trade and The Wireless
By the 18th Century travel across the Atlantic had increased substantially but it was still quite an adventure and transatlantic communication was slow at best. This talk looks at the development of mail services across the ocean, how this was followed by scheduled cargo transport and the development of the telegraph and radio across the Atlantic.

Talk 7 – The Atlantic at War
The major powers have used the Atlantic as a battle ground almost from the time that the first explorers and colonists arrived on the ‘other side of the pond’. This talk discusses the role of transatlantic shipping and warships in the World Wars I and II but drawing lessons from the naval warfare that preceded it.

Talks on the Pacific Ocean and Hawaii

Talk 1 - A Calmer Ocean? - How did the Pacific Ocean get its’ name and is it right?
This first talk of the set focuses on the geography and climate of the Pacific Ocean, considering wind patterns, sea currents, how the many islands may have developed and will evolve and how these factors have influenced the development of sailing around and across the Pacific Ocean. This talk will consider influences such as the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire’, how it differs from the Atlantic Ocean and how unique aspects of the regional geography influence the climate for sailing and includes a look at how the Pacific has changed over time and how man might be influencing this today. Itinerary Focus: A look at the geological aspects of the development of the islands of the Pacific and particularly Hawaii.

Talk 2 Early Explorers
In Europe the history of exploration of the Pacific usually starts with Ferdinand Magellan, the first European to enter the Pacific by rounding Cape Horn in November 1520. However, by this time all of the Americas and most of the islands of the Pacific were already populated and trade was well developed. This talk considers theories of how populations spread throughout the pacific region, including Australia and New Zealand, at a time when ship designs were basic and navigation techniques were only just developing. Itinerary Focus: Particular focus on theories of how the islands of the Pacific were populated.

Talk 3 The Europeans Arrive
Maritime history in the Pacific Ocean changed with the arrival of European explorers and traders. This talk looks at the first European traders to explore the region, such as Magellan and Sir Francis Drake through to the journeys of Captain Cook and the scientific explorations of Charles Darwin. This talk will consider aspects such as the type of ships used in these voyages, improvements in navigation and living conditions aboard early sailing ships. Itinerary Focus: Who were the first Europeans to arrive in the Pacific Ocean and discover islands such as Hawaii? And what happened when they did?

Talk 4 The Development of International Trade
This talk looks at how International trade on the Pacific Ocean changed after the arrival of the Europeans, leading on to the emergence of the Pacific as the new hub of international trade in the last century as the economies of Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, China and other Asian countries have grown. Itinerary Focus: An indication of how the worlds centres of trade have changed from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean and then to the growing hub of Pacific Ocean Trade.

Talks on the Mediterranean Sea

Talk 1 Challenges of Sailing the Mediterranean Sea
This talk looks at the oceanography of the Mediterranean Sea with a focus on winds, tides and currents as they have influenced the history of sailing and exploration of this ‘inland sea’.

Talk 2 The Age of Exploration – How Portugal and Spain led an age of ocean exploration
The period of the 15th to the 18th Centuries covers a time when European countries explored the oceans of the world. This was led by Portugal and Spain who explored the Atlantic Ocean and discovered routes to the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Talk 3 The Roman Empire at Sea
Although Rome was not initially a sea going power it became the dominant naval power of the Mediterranean Sea. This talk looks at the history of how this happened and the types of ship that they used to achieve this.

Talk 4 Pirates of the Mediterranean
Piracy, as seen in the Pirates of the Caribbean, has become romanticised over the last two hundred years but it was prevalent throughout much of the nautical history of the Mediterranean Sea. This talk looks at key developments in the history of piracy in this region.

Talks related to Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea

Talk 1 – Viking Explorers
This talk will explore the history of exploration and discovery by Viking seafarers through the North Atlantic with a focus on the discovery of Iceland, Greenland and being the first Europeans to reach North America. The talk will follow the family of Erik the Red and will also include discussion of the type of ships used in this exploration and how the destination ports were involved.

Talk 2 – The Vikings go east
This talk explores the history of how the Vikings of Denmark and Sweden in particular traded with and influenced the history of large parts of Northern Europe and Russia.

Talks on Materials and Ship Building

Talks 1 and 2 on the subject: ‘A Short History of Iron and Steel in Ship Building’

Talk 1 – Before the Industrial Revolution
Beginning with an introduction to the subject by using the cruise ship as an example of the modern-day use of steel these talks discuss how we have progressed from all wooden boats to huge ships where steel is all around us.
Part 1 is focused on the growth of iron and steel use in wooden ships. The talk concludes with the development of iron and steel on an industrial scale and the first all iron boat.
Itinerary Focus: Can be adapted to suit many regions where there is a strong maritime history.

Talk 2 – Steam and Steel
Using some iconic example ships this talk illustrates how steel came to be the dominant material in ship building and how steel making technology has evolved and continues to evolve to meet the needs of naval architects. The talk concludes with a discussion of materials in use in ship building today, using superyachts as an example of how steel continues to be important but there are more options to choose from now.
Itinerary Focus: Can be adapted to suit many regions where there is a strong maritime history.

Note: If required Talks 1 and 2 can be combined to one 45min. talk.

Talk 3 - From the Stone Age to Superconductors – How Metals Changed the World
This talk illustrates how the production and use of metals has been a driving force in the development of the world as we know it today. The beginnings of the Bronze Age are explored, as are each of the next major steps in civilization from the Iron Age through the Industrial Revolution and on to the third industrial revolution that we are in today. The technology of metals is further explored through major failures such as the Titanic, the BEA Comet and Liberty Ships. Itinerary Focus: Can be adapted to ports which are sources of materials

Talk 4 – Magical Materials - From Ancient Greece to Avatar
This talk begins with the study of Alchemy, with Aristotle in Ancient Greece, and progresses through the development of the modern Periodic Table to present a story of how materials from the worlds of science fiction and fantasy, such as Unobtanium in Avatar, are not so strange as they might at first appear. Itinerary Focus: Can be adapted to ports which are sources of materials.

Talk 5 – A Short History of Iron and Steel
This talk discusses the history of iron and steel making from before the iron age through to today. Itinerary Focus: Can be adapted to illustrate the history of iron and steel for a specific itinerary. Note: Uses similar data to talks 1 and 2

Other Maritime Talks

Talk 1 – Common words and phrases with a maritime origin.
There are many phrases in common use in the English language today where we all understand the modern meaning, but the origin has been lost in time. Some of these have a maritime origin and they have a connection to our naval history – but it can be hard to know when that connection is true! Itinerary Focus: Will be relevant to any cruise and can be adapted to focus on specific ports of call.

Talk 2 – The Tides – What Causes them and their impact on history
Tides are an every day part of the maritime world but few people truly understand why they happen and the effects that they can have on our world. This talk looks at the science behind tides and considers some of the historical events that have been influenced by tides.
Itinerary Focus: Can be tailored to consider the tidal effects in particular regions or ports.

Talk 3 – Maritime Companies that Changed the World
Some maritime companies or trade groups have had a big influence on creating the world as we know it today. This talk looks at two of them:
• The Hanseatic League – which is focused in the Baltic Sea with connections to all countries on this cruise
• The East India Companies – also relates to European trade but brings in important historical trade in the Indian ocean
Itinerary Focus: Particularly relevant to cruises in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Indian Ocean.

Supporting Talks

Talk 1 – An Introduction to Lego Digital Designer
I am an Adult Fan Of Lego (AFOL) and all talks will include the use of Lego models developed using Lego Digital Designer. This talk introduces this freely available Lego product so that it can be explored by all. Itinerary Focus: Relates to all the talks given on this itinerary and will be of particular interest to anybody considering visiting LEGOLAND.

Talk 2 – The Deal – Personal stories from buying and selling companies
Every week you hear about one company buying another, whether that be a major corporate deal or a chain of newsagents buying out your local shop, and it might seem like a complex but romantic world that ordinary people cannot join. In this talk I discuss my direct experiences of buying and selling companies, showing that yes it might be complex at times it is not as romantic or sophisticated as you might think. Itinerary Focus: Informative and amusing on any cruise.

Talk 3 – The Joys of Business Travel
Many people have a romantic vision of a life of business travel – 5 star hotels, first class flights and the finest foods. This talk takes an amusing look at the reality of regular business travel. Itinerary Focus: Informative and amusing on any cruise

Port Talks
• Portugal - Lisbon
• Madeira - Funchal
• Canary Islands
During 2019 to date Bob has delivered talks on a SAGA cruise in Northern Europe (2 talks), on an MSC Cruise in the Indian Ocean (12 Talks) and on a Princess Cruises voyage to the midnight sun (6 talks). All talks are well timed at 45minutes and were well received and assessments received were very good.

Presentations use Microsoft powerpoint and are delivered while standing and without reference to notes
The portfolio of available talks are suitable for most cruise destinations and can be adapted to specific itineraries.I also have a deep knowledge of maritime history for many regions and can prepare talks for a specific itinerary if required.

For an example of my talks please see:
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Crown Princess 3927 Southern Caribbean Voyager 10 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Friday, October 18, 2019
Pacific Princess K910 Land of the Midnight Sun Cruise 16 Dover Sunday, June 30, 2019