The great news at the moment is that crew bookings for John Laing next season are looking incredibly strong, with many voyages already fully-booked and confirmed. There are plenty of repeat bookings coming through, but also lots of interest from some good new groups which should lead to rewarding and enjoyable voyages.
The key task now is to make sure that all the berths on the Tall Ships Races are sold, so PLEASE help us if you think you know any groups or individuals (aged 16+) who might like to join one of these very special trips:
7th-16th July: Waterford (Ireland) to Cherbourg £635 (Race 1)
17th-26th July: Cherbourg to Newcastle £635 (Cruise in company with tall ships)
27th July–5th August: Newcastle to Fredrikstad (Norway) £635 (Race 2)
6th–10th August: Fredrikstad to Bremerhaven (Germany) £305 (To Bremerhaven festival).
If you can’t do one of these trips (or you are aged 12-15) but you still haven’t booked, don’t worry: there are still a few berths left for crew members before the summer, and plenty left in the autumn.
We’ve also got spaces left for adults (16+) on some mates training and familiarisation voyages. The mates training trips are highly recommended for all existing mates who recognise that they don’t know it all already (and accepting this is a sign of wisdom!); but the trips are also open to prospective mates and possible relief bosuns who want to learn more about the boat and how we run our voyages, and previous crew members trying to make the step up to be sea staff.
Familiarisation trips are suitable for anyone who wants to find out more about OYT South – people who are wondering if they would like to be volunteer sea staff, people who are thinking of bringing a group of youngsters on the boat, anyone who is considering donating some money (yes please!), even parents of crew members who are jealous that their offspring get all the fun!
6th-10th April, familiarisation voyage, £190
6th-8th May, mates training weekend, £105
12th-16th September, familiarisation, £235
16th-18th September, mates training weekend, £120
All these trips start and finish in Southampton. Please book soon!
Meanwhile, back at the refit, it’s been a very productive week as the team get used to the novelty of working in a warm toasty shed while other people endure the rain and gales outside.
Wolf reports that they have continued moving kit off the boat; all the water tanks are more or less done; one diesel tank has been cleaned; all the tank lids are being prepped and painted; the first lot of paint has been delivered; and the sails have gone away for repair. This is all thanks to the efforts of a great team of volunteers: Kathryn and Ceri (apologies for misspelling your name last week), Phil Runchman, Andy Royse (all the way from Swansea), Mark Boggis, Rob Harwood, Tim Deverson (who is doing great work on the rig) and the welcome return of Dinghy Boy, one of last year’s full-time refit team but now fresh from his first term at university (not too taxing as they are trying to teach him navigation, and OYT South taught him all that years ago!).
We’ve had far more volunteers down before Christmas than we’ve had in previous years, when refit help hasn’t really picked up till January. So we are very grateful indeed to everyone for all their efforts –let’s keep it up in the New Year.
Having thanked the volunteers, of course we mustn’t forget the dedication and hard work of our professional refit staff, Craig (who is on a well-earned holiday at the moment) and Wolf. As ever, they have been putting in an immense amount of work to ensure that everything runs as efficiently as possible.
The next stage of the refit is that John Laing is being completely scaffolded and tented, a job which should be finished later today or tomorrow. Once that’s done we’ll be able to start sanding the hull. It would be fantastic to get this done before Christmas (our last working day will be Tuesday or perhaps Wednesday), so please come down over the weekend or early next week if you possibly can. Wolf is away on Saturday and Sunday, so if you are coming then, please call Dinghy Boy on 07990 518915; but from Monday, call Wolf on the usual number, 07771 771864.
Thanks also to everyone who has contributed to the refit appeal, which means we can afford to keep the work going. This week’s star is Pam Collier, who helped to organise a donation of £150 of equipment from B&Q.
Plans for our Training Weekend in February (19th-20th) are going well. The OYT South AGM has now been confirmed as taking place at 2.30pm on Sunday 20th.
On Saturday 19th we are aiming to get as many people as possible on training courses. We now have just one or possibly two places left on the VHF / GMDSS course; five places left on the radar course; and an unspecified number on the first aid course. Do please email me ASAP if you would like to do any of these.
Although this doesn’t lead to an RYA certificate, we also have the option of a short course on basic chartwork and passage planning – please let me know if there is any demand for this.
Even if you don’t want to do a particular course, please come for the weekend anyway – we’re planning to make it a good social gathering as well. Just email me if you’re interested.
Finally, the usual stuff – repetitive perhaps, but plenty of people haven’t responded yet:
SEA STAFF (and prospective sea staff) BOOKINGS for 2005: email me with your booking preferences (including second choices where possible), both for normal trips and assessment or familiarisation voyages. If you need to discuss anything, call 07986 354697.
CREW BOOKINGS for 2005: see the 2005 sailing programme with dates and prices at www.oytsouth.org. Crew members, group leaders and anyone with suggestions for new groups to approach should contact the office on 0870 241 2252, firstname.lastname@example.org for bookings.
FUNDRAISING: We are also still looking for donations to help with the refit, so please give generously (Cheques payable to OYT South to Spur House, 1 The Spur, Alverstoke, Gosport, Hants PO12 2NA – but taxpayers please contact the office on 0870 241 2252 to ask about GIFT AID first.) Thanks very much to all those who have contributed so far.
This is probably the last bulletin until January (no sighs of relief, please!) so here’s to a happy Christmas – and see you all at the refit in the New Year!