John Laing

Newsletter

OYT South bulletin 16th April 2004

Finally JOHN LAING is enjoying some proper sunshine (not much wind, though).

Last weekend’s Easter voyage was booked by Gosport Sea Cadets, for adults in a variety of leadership positions in the Sea Cadets from various locations along the South Coast. It was organised by Tony Salmon, and it was great to see the Sea Cadets using the boat after all the fantastic support they have given OYT South over the years – not least in providing invaluable storage space for much of our gear.

Mark Boggis, who was a mate on the voyage, says: “This proved to be a great weekend for demonstrating the boat’s potential to these folks. Hopefully we will see many of them again sailing as Sea Staff or Group Leaders. Thanks to Tony Salmon, who is both an OYT 3rd Mate and on the Gosport Sea Cadet Staff for organising this weekend.

“Unlike the weekends earlier this year, lack of wind rather than too much wind was the problem! After motoring down Southampton Water we took the Hurst Castle channel out to Christchurch Bay and engaged in intensive tacking exercises achieving a record tack in 41 seconds. Thereafter we sailed to Freshwater Bay and anchored overnight. The anchorage really added to the experience providing a complete break from contact with land. Sunday
morning saw us motoring along the South Coast of the Isle of Wight and doing some man overboard exercises both under power and in light winds. Later, after turning back into the Solent, we were able to sail peacefully along to Cowes where we stayed overnight.

“Monday morning brought no increase in wind strength so we had to motor back up to Ocean Village, though with the bonus of sharing the channel with the new Queen Mary 2.  Throughout the weekend there were quite a lot of practice incidents onboard as Ali Travis provided training for Helen Acton ahead of her forthcoming skipper assessment.”

Thanks to Mark Boggis for that report – I’d like to encourage other sea staff (and crew) to send me comments following any voyages, for use in these bulletins.

The crew this week has been a real mix – a few of the Millennium Volunteers who helped with the refit, a few from one of our regular customers, Bourne College, and a couple of individual bookings. Several old faces who have been on the boat before made a welcome return, and were joined by a number of new people who all appeared to have a good time.

Helen Acton says there have again been lightish winds with lots of sunshine. They started by going to Cowes on the first evening. Unfortunately the boat developed some strange noises which caused a bit of concern; and a diver was sent down to check the propeller and P-bracket, which seemed to be okay. Fortunately the team were able to arrange constructive and enjoyable activities for the crew while they were unable to sail. They did a lot of Competent Crew training, rowed the dinghy, and managed to get a guided tour of a nearby Customs vessel.

On leaving Cowes, the engine trouble was again evident and JOHN LAING was eventually taken back to Ocean Village, where the invaluable Chris from Contact Marine came down and spent many long hours working on it. Apparently the problem was with the coupling; the engine has now been realigned; but we’ll have to keep monitoring the issue as the season goes on. Luckily Craig the staff bosun has a natural affinity with engines and with him to keep an eye on things and Chris very generously giving his time when needed, hopefully we’ll be able to keep the voyages running smoothly.

Thanks to Ali Travis for her time on the boat as relief skipper. Tony Whiting will be taking over from today, and this weekend’s voyage will be for youth leaders from West Sussex.

Wolf wanted to remind everyone about the maintenance day on Sunday 25th April. We need lots of helpers in Ocean Village on the day so please come along if you can – just call Wolf on 07771 771864, as he can plan the jobs more easily if he knows who’ll be there.

David Salmon asked me to mention that we still have spaces on the familiarisation voyage Monday 3rd May to Friday 7th May. This is open to anyone over 18, whether sea staff or not. It should be a great fun voyage, with a great chance for many people to practise a range of skills on the boat.

Don’t forget there are still other vacancies for sea staff and crew during the season; please have a think about whether you know other people who might enjoy sailing with us, and encourage them to get in touch.





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

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