John Laing

Newsletter

OYT South bulletin 21st May 2004

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, there’s a decent breeze…..and all those of us stuck in offices are missing good sailing time. Special sympathy to all OYT South friends, supporters and crew members at school, college or university facing exams over the next few weeks – I know a lot of people reading this bulletin are at that stage and I’m sure all the rest of OYT South would like to wish you luck. (Sympathy also goes out to a certain watchleader who has to mark the exam papers…..)

However, some students clearly don’t have their noses to the grindstone full-time, and last weekend JOHN LAING did two day sails for groups of students from Portsmouth University. I think only one of them was actually revising on deck.

We also enjoyed the company of two more special guest stars: a welcome return for Helen Acton; and a visit by Tom Bastable, first mate of OYT North West’s boat, Greater Manchester Challenge, whom we very much hope will be sailing with us again in future. We told Tom that last weekend’s weather was normal for the south coast and that his usual experiences in the cold and rainy Irish Sea were unheard-of in the Solent; so he may be back.

Saturday’s sail was outstanding – hot sun but enough wind to get the boat moving well. We went well out beyond the Needles and hove to for lunch in open water. Everyone seemed to have a great time, though some people do appear to be hoping that Wolf’s current obsession with Take That’s Greatest Hits fades away pretty rapidly. We got a lot of sails up including the mizzen staysail and cruising chute. Tom in particular liked short tacking with the cruising chute, a complex manoeuvre that the foredeck team were soon doing with admirable slickness.

Wolf was enjoying himself so much that he refused to bring the boat back in on time, but luckily the crew agreed that no-one had urgent appointments on shore and everyone enjoyed the evening sail. Luckily the fact that our very own Princess (our bosun, Craig) was on leave kept us clear of all those complications involving pumpkins and glass slippers which can be so annoying when you don't go home on time….

Sunday was equally hot but with not very much wind (this is based on hearsay rather than experience as some of us were doing chart corrections down below). {NB that’s “hearsay” NOT “Hear’Say”. Wolf may like Take That but he does have some standards}.

Wolf went on leave on Sunday night, but the return of Craig “Little Princess” Dickerson left JOHN LAING in safe hands for a few days of maintenance. Dinghy Boy stayed to help, and they were joined by Graham Fairs. Between them they have serviced the engine and generator, sorted out the anchor chain locker lid which had caused a few problems with the chain not running freely, touched up the hull paint where needed, and sanded much of the capping rail. They also enjoyed visits from Andy Haynes and Matt Bland, as well as Fraser Old who brought some visitors from a school which may book a voyage some time.

This weekend it is day sails again; call Chris Hirst on 07810 101446 for the latest information on spaces on board.

The curse of the exam season means that again next week we have been unable to sell the voyage to young people, so the maintenance work continues, and Craig really needs help as Dinghy Boy is going back home to Jersey for a while. Call Craig on 07990 518915 if you can spare any time at all to give him a hand. If the weather continues as good as it is now, there are lots of outdoor jobs as we need to sand and D1 all the wood, so the week should be a perfect opportunity to get your tan under way before the summer holidays.

There are still vacancies on some voyages in the next few weeks – PLEASE rack your brains for ideas of anyone who might be able to sail:

Voyage 22A (4/6 - 10/6), £125, departure port Portsmouth
Voyage 27 (20/6 - 25/6) £200 (reduced from £330)
Voyage 28A (26/6 - 1/7) £200 (reduced from £330)

We’re also still looking for bookings on voyage 31, owing to a group cancellation. This is from Poole to Brest, 6 nights, Fri 9 July to Thurs 15 July, cost £450, travel not included. It will be a particularly special voyage as it is timed to coincide with the Brest festival for traditional sailing boats – a spectacular event which would be a memorable experience for anyone. We really must sell this trip as we are committed to getting to Brest – some of the crew for the return leg have already made travel plans, so altering the outward trip is not an option.

For all these voyages, please contact David Salmon in the office as usual, 0870 241 2252

And Wolf is looking for a first mate for three voyages: 20th – 25th June; 26th June – 1st July; and 2nd – 8th June. If anyone can do any of these, call him on 07771 771864. He also wants to remind people that he can run GMDSS courses (a very good one-day course on radio operation at sea, including emergency procedures – strongly recommended to all sea staff). Please call Wolf if you’re interested in getting this certificate.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to keep sending me any news or information you want circulated in this bulletin.





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

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