About David Barrie

DB sailing3
After studying Psychology and Philosophy at Oxford University, David Barrie served for 17 years in the British Diplomatic Service and Cabinet Office.

From 1989 to 1992 he was Executive Director of The Japan Festival 1991, a major nationwide celebration of Japanese culture.  He was appointed Director of the National Art Collections Fund (now the Art Fund) in 1992, a position he held until 2009.

David was chair of the campaigning organisation, Make Justice Work, from 2010 to 2013 and has served as a trustee of many organisations including the Ruskin Foundation, Butterfly Conservation and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

David grew up in Lymington, Hampshire, where he first learnt to sail.  In 1973 he crossed the Atlantic in a 35-foot sloop, avoyage which he describes in Sextant.  He competed in the 1974 Observer Two-Handed Round Britain Race in a Contessa 26, and has since sailed in many parts of the world.  He was elected  a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation in 2015 and is a member of the Royal Cruising Club.

The great-great nephew of the playwright J M Barrie, David is married with two daughters and lives in West London and Emsworth, Hampshire.


8 thoughts on “About David Barrie

  1. Dear Barrie,
    I just finished reading your book, one of the best books I ever read!
    My expertise is quite different but I can relate to most of your points… we build nanosatellites (www.athenoxat.com, http://www.pop-sat.com) and we navigate them in Space using compass and Sun, sometimes the Moon. The on board chronometer is not so precise and needs some periodical synchronization… which we do from the ground for the moment.
    I would be happy to get in touch for more details.


    1. Thanks very much Giulio – I’m delighted that you enjoyed Sextant! Did you read it in English or Italian, I wonder?

      I’m sorry for the delay in responding – you won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve been away sailing.

      Best wishes


  2. Mr. Barrie,
    I just finished your book and enjoyed the entire read. As a Land Surveyor that works in “local” plain surveying, I have always been facinated by the science and mechanics of navigation. Also, I can relate and understand the process of removing the systematic errors as well as the dangers of errors in the calculations. Now you have me considering draging my vintage transit out to the garden on some clear night!

  3. Hi David Barrie,

    I am thoroughly enjoying your book ‘Sextant’. Hope you will get many more buyers and editions. I the latter case, you may want to correct one small error (if I am correct): On page 65 Chapter 6 (paperback version) you write that “… the geographical length of a degree of latitude would increase as one moved away from the equator.” Think this ought to be “decrease”. Small thing of course but I assume especially you will care about small things 🙂

    Ron Marchand

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Ron. Sorry for the slow reply. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the book. Actually I think what I wrote is correct. The lengthening of the degree of latitude is due to the flattening of the Earth towards the poles. There’s a good explanation on Wikipedia under ‘degree of latitude’.

      All the best


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s