John Laing

Newsletter

OYT South bulletin 19th December 2003

This is the fifth in this year’s series of weekly updates on the progress of JOHN LAING’s refit but there are quite a few extra people on the mailing list, including several who are unfortunately too young to be allowed to come and help with boat maintenance but who have asked to be kept in touch. The new contacts mostly stem from the people who responded to Wolf’s letter to crew members who sailed this year – great to hear from you all! If anyone has any more email addresses for sea staff or crew not currently on the list, please let me know.

As an explanation for new readers: annual maintenance on JOHN LAING is done almost entirely by our two professional sea staff, Mark (Wolf) and Craig, plus an army of volunteers. Without these volunteers we cannot keep the boat sailing. The cost of a full professional refit is way beyond the resources of a small charity like Ocean Youth Trust South.

Sea staff are encouraged to come and help as a contribution towards keeping the organisation going. And crew members who are hoping to make progress towards becoming bosuns or watchleaders often find that helping out with a refit is a great way of learning how different bits of the boat work – as well as making contact with other people in OYT South. Where there is high demand for a particular voyage – either for crew or staff berths – people who have helped over the winter are often in a strong position.

You don’t need any specialist skills – there are lots of unskilled jobs, and lots more skills you can learn. We provide accommodation for helpers, who are welcome any time – yes, we do work at weekends! It all goes on until mid-March. You just need to call the skipper in advance on 07771 771864 to let him know when you want to come.

The one restriction is by age. Sadly for reasons to do with safety and insurance, we can’t have under 16s working on the refit. 16 and 17 year olds need to be supervised while you work.

If you have any more questions about the refit, please reply to this email.

Meanwhile, down on the boat…….

Last week I said that Craig had earned a role in Carry on Camping for building a tent over the deck to allow everyone to work in shelter. Tragically that night there was a severe gale….Craig’s fastenings were foolproof and held firm; sadly the material of the tent did not. Craig says he doesn’t want to be in Carry on Camping anyway as he is too busy in rehearsals for Pirates of the Caribbean II.

Despite this setback, the team has managed a lot of work on the deck. They’re not quite sure whether the stuff they used to fill it has gone off properly or just frozen, but they’ve certainly managed a lot of work. The hull below the waterline is also filled and prepared, ready for antifouling.

The stern platform has had two coats of hammerite. Painting has also begun in the cockpit locker. Indeed, Phoebe’s work down there has made her a fully-qualified contortionist – just ask to see her “left elbow in right ear while knees wrapped round the back of the neck” trick.

The winch bases have been cleaned and the seacocks are all off and ready to be serviced.

Many thanks to Roo and Gary for all their work this week, and, as ever, thanks to Penny for the food.

Dinghy Boy has already gone home having done a lot of work on the boat plus a number of medical certificates and the Sea Survival course. The rest of the core team, Wolf, Craig and Phoebe will be off shortly. The last working day before Christmas is Monday 22nd so it would be great to see any helpers between now and then.

The first day back at work will be January 5th, when George Furber and a friend are coming for a few days. Quite a number of people have also offered to help out during half term in February. As ever, please let us know if you’ve got plans to come along any time between now and March. Not only does it help to organise the jobs efficiently, it’s also very reassuring to the team to know they haven’t been forgotten!

Looking forward to seeing as many people as possible in the New Year. In the meantime: HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!!!

 



“This has been one of the best experiences of my life and I will never forget it.” Sam, aged 16

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