John Laing

Newsletter

OYT South bulletin 1st October 2004

There are many extra names on the mailing list this week, because of all the people who expressed interest and left email addresses at the Southampton Boat Show, plus various additions from other sources. So, with apologies to regular readers, I’ll start with a brief introduction.

This is the weekly email bulletin from Ocean Youth Trust South. It goes to sea staff, crew members and other helpers, supporters and friends. It contains a mix of news, gossip, short-notice sailing opportunities, special offers and requests for help. It is sent out most Fridays, not only during the sailing season but also during the winter when we are refitting the boat. The gossipy bits may not initially mean much to new readers if you don’t know the people involved, but the solution to that is to come sailing or volunteer a day or two to help at the refit and you will soon meet the leading cast of characters!

We very much welcome comments, reactions, replies and contributions to the bulletin. If you have any news you would like included, or you want to write something about a recent voyage you were on, or to appeal for information about someone you once sailed with, please let us know. We don’t generally circulate pictures as some people have old and slow computers and prefer not to have anything large to download.

We hope you find it interesting and / or useful to receive these bulletins but if you want to be removed from the mailing list, you only have to ask.

The bulletin normally starts with a description of what has been happening on board JOHN LAING in the last week; however, on this occasion the plan has been foiled by the fact that they left Alderney this morning to head back across the Channel and are currently out of telephone range. All I know is that this is a group organised by Steve Lacey (one of our Trustees who is also a youth worker in Dorset). If there are any funny stories or tales of daring on the high seas, I’ll add them into the next bulletin.

Next week’s trip is with Portsmouth Housing Association, regular clients who always send an enthusiastic group of youngsters. PHA uses these voyages to promote good behaviour, as the opportunity is only open to those who have not been in trouble over the summer. This approach seems to have led to a significant drop in petty crime, vandalism etc. in these communities.

We have a relief skipper on board at the moment – the enormously experienced Tony Whiting. JOHN LAING’s staff skipper Mark “Wolf” Todd has been away on holiday this week – a proper holiday on which it is actually rumoured that he might have switched his mobile phones off. There are some doubts about this, given that he is seldom seen without at least one phone clamped to his ear, giving rise to the suspicion that he is permanently connected to an 0898 number on which a recorded voice can be heard suggesting “Breathe in……breathe out…..breathe in…..breathe out.”

I’d like to be able to tell you all where he has gone on holiday but unfortunately he doesn’t seem to be quite sure, although it is definitely not Corfu!

Meanwhile, we do still have a few sailing vacancies this year: for 12-25 year olds on the voyage 29th Oct – 1st Nov (£110), and for adults (16+) on 22nd-24th Oct (£110) – call the office on 0870 241 2252 for details. Please help us to sell these trips – invite your friends / relations / random passers-by. The adult trip is especially useful for people who want to find out more about OYT South with a view to getting involved next year – prospective sea staff, group leaders, anyone who works with young people who might like to sail. Also any parents who are jealous that their offspring have had such a great time sailing with us and would like a chance to try it for themselves!

And getting involved next year will be really worthwhile: check out the 2005 sailing programme on http://www.oytsouth.org/, especially the details of the Tall Ships race which will take us to Waterford, Cherbourg, Newcastle, Fredrikstad and Bremerhaven. Things are booking up rapidly. Crew members who are only available during school holidays should definitely start making enquiries now, as some of those trips are almost full. Call the office 0870 241 2252 or email oytsouth@aol.com.

With such a busy and demanding programme, and so many things to deal with, OYT South trustees are also spending some time this autumn looking at how we work and considering how to make the organisation more effective. We would welcome comments and ideas from you (please reply to this email). We are primarily looking at shore-side operations at this stage: the office, staffing, bookings, berth sales, fundraising, and communications. But if you have suggestions relating to other matters such as voyages or sea staff training, of course it’s always good to hear from you.

And finally the bit that many of our regular readers have been waiting for: a PHOEBE UPDATE! Phoebe is a long-standing crew member / watchleader whose family emigrated to New Zealand last year. She is still mulling over decisions about where to go and what to do at university, and meanwhile is filling in time by pruning vines and painting her bathroom (“am very painted myself, and have replaced all the paint that was still in my hair from JOHN LAING’s last refit with new paint!”) She says the university thing is very stressful as NZ application forms “are designed for high-school kids and not phoebes from the other side of the world….I’m going to take my mind off it for a while by trying to stand on some snow, with some planks attached to my feet, and then falling over.” This last point will obviously ring many alarm bells with people who know how accident-prone a Phoebe can be. The “eating ground glass by mistake” incident will live with me for a very long time…..

 



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

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