Bosun Craig has been having a happy week. Anyone who has had much to do with bosuns knows that if there’s one thing they really like, it’s taking things to bits (anyone who reckons they know of anything else that bosuns really like can stop sniggering now). Skipper Wolf has been away this week, leaving Craig with a free hand to dismantle John Laing as far as possible in advance of having her lifted out of the water next week.
Many thanks to everyone who has been down to give him a hand: Travis moved the boat round from Ocean Village to the Hamble. Kathryn Francis (who should be around quite a lot during this refit and will probably acquire a nickname very soon) has been working hard. And third mate Andy Shuttleworth brought his brother and nephew, Nick and Joe, to help. Apparently they got through a great deal of work as well as entertaining Craig immensely with a running commentary on his ability to drive the refit van. (This van, for those who haven’t seen it, has a personality all its own and nearly deprived OYT South of two first mates last year when it attempted to induce heart attacks in John Parkin and me. The most appalling noise erupted as John braked, and we looked at each other white-faced…until we noticed the pneumatic drill being operated at the roadside. But the point is that it didn’t seem wholly impossible that the van brakes might make a noise like a pneumatic drill).
Also helping to take things apart this week were Chris Lane and Chris Hirst, who came down separately for meetings but both stayed on to help; and Iain Ballantyne, who is there today, earning his third mate’s berth on one leg of the Tall Ships Race.
Craig says that almost everything which can be dismantled before the lift-out is being done, with the exception of anything needed to get the boat a few hundred yards up the Hamble from her current berth to Hamble Yacht Services. This includes getting ready for the masts to come out, though Craig is happy to reassure Wolf that he has left the wiring for the VHF and the horn: the former in case Wolf needs to tell anyone he is moving, the latter because Wolf doesn’t like his horn being played with. Craig may also be nervous about the horn, remembering the time when the wires got crossed when it was being reinstalled, resulting in a horn where you had to press the button to stop the noise.
Anyway, lots more help will be needed next week (and for many weeks to come) so please call Wolf and Craig on 07771 771864 to let them know when you’re coming and make sure there’s a place for you to stay in the refit house (pictures of our luxury winter accommodation now available on the website www.oytsouth.org). If you can’t come soon, it is still really useful if you can let us know as soon as possible when you intend to come down, because there are jobs which need a certain number of people and it’s good to be able to schedule them, knowing we’ll have enough bodies.
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.)
There is a fundraising event planned for Monday 6th December, when we have permission to hold a collection at Waterloo Station from 7am to 7pm. Some students from the local university have already offered to help but it would be great to have some more volunteers from among our members and supporters in and around London: please contact Chris Hirst on 07810 101446 or email CJ.HIRST@VIRGIN.NET. Alternatively if you see us there, or know someone who passes through London Waterloo, get them to stop and say hello!
And for those in the Southampton area, don’t forget the OYT South Southampton support group AGM next Wednesday 1 December at Hythe Sailing Club starting at 8pm (including a bar and food). Please go along and get involved with their plans to promote and support OYT South in the area. If you have any queries, need directions or a map, or any help in getting there, please contact chairman Peter Hughes either by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone 023 8084 2165 or 077 5247 6589.
As usual, please note:
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, email@example.com for bookings.
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. I'm sure those regular sea staff who haven't yet contacted me will do so shortly, but if you are new to OYT South and just thinking about coming sailing with us, please do get in touch and we can have a chat about your options and I'll try to answer any questions.