John Laing

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OYT South bulletin 28th May 2004

It’s been a quiet week for JOHN LAING…..

Cap’n Wolf has gone away for a few days, and our valiant bosun has been hard at work doing maintenance on the boat all alone, apart from a bit of help from Sarah.

Craig has spent the week sanding and D1-ing all the woodwork on the boat. I’ve seen a photo {note to the technologically-challenged: these camera phone gizmos are just the thing for a proud bosun who wants to show off his handiwork} and it positively gleams. You could see your face in the hatch cover. I think it may be inadvisable ever to let Craig leave us and go to work on a wooden boat, unless they want a deck more suitable for ballroom dancing than sail training.

However, not wishing him to get bored all on his own, I arranged for him to do an interview about Ocean Youth Trust South on Radio Oxford. Apparently he proved do be such a natural broadcaster that we can all look forward to a new showcase station, Princess FM (specialising in DIY, martial arts and flower-arranging). Actually it’s widely rumoured that he did rather well, though he was slightly thrown when the interviewer asked him if JOHN LAING had a crow’s nest….Not sure if he was just a little wistful, or simply working out a design in his mind. Anyone going to the boat in the next few days should look out for signs of building work near the top of the mainmast.

One reason why Craig was alone for much of the week is that Dinghy Boy had some time off, for an interview to see if he could get sponsorship for his university course. Many of you will know that at the end of voyages, we quite often tell the crew that successfully completing an OYT trip can be a good thing to mention in interviews as you may well run into someone who knows us. People often look disbelieving: but never again. Dinghy Boy’s interviewer turned out to be a former staff skipper of DUET when she was part of the Ocean Youth Club fleet.

Anyway, proper voyages resume on Sunday; but we did have two more day sails last weekend. Dougie Walker (ex-OYT Northern Ireland, among other things in a long career of going to sea whilst wearing very cool hats) came down to take charge. On Saturday Fraser and Cathy Old brought some friends for the trip; it was lovely to see them and I’m sure everyone would like to wish Cathy all the best as she is shortly starting medical treatment for a problem with her back. Also on that day sail were a couple of friends of Craig’s, who somehow persuaded him to spend part of the day dressed as a pirate. This may have been to reassert his masculinity after the nail varnish incident described in Bulletin #6.

Steve Lacey was one of the watchleaders for the weekend, and he brought his wife – another Cathy. She is in the Navy and was just on the point of heading off to sea (remember that war that Mr Bush told us was won some time ago?) However Cathy has promised that when she gets back she’ll be coming to get her watchleader’s ticket on board JOHN LAING. (Craig, with a glint in his eye, seems to think he might have found an ally in his mission to mount a nice big gun on the foredeck).

The other watchleader was Matt Bland, who is in the Merchant Navy, and also shortly off to sea – in a slightly different direction - in his case, until next April. Hope it goes well.

We also had on board over the weekend several representatives from CHASE Children’s Hospice, friends and supporters of ours since last November’s fundraising voyage with the cricketer Adam Hollioake. CHASE has booked a number of voyages this season; but last weekend proved a real eye-opener for their chief executive, Chris Robinson, as he had never been to sea in anything other than eye-watering cold with waves breaking over the foredeck. A calm sunny day therefore came as a bit of a shock to his system. Unfortunately, there was really no wind and we had to motor, so his quest for the perfect sailing day continues.

Anyway, enough gossip.

We’ve still got some voyage vacancies coming up (call 0870 241 2252):

Voyage 27, 20th - 25th June, Southampton to Poole, £125
Voyage 28A, 26th June – 1st July, Poole to Poole, £200 (we’ve had some interest in this but not yet confirmed, so it’s still worth getting in touch about vacancies)
Voyage 31, 9th – 15th July, Poole to Brest, £450
Voyage 32, 16th – 23rd July, Brest to Southampton, £525
Voyage 41, 2nd – 8th September, Poole to St Malo, £450
Voyage 46, 27th Sept – 2nd Oct, Poole to Southampton, £230
Voyage 50, 15th – 21st Oct, Southampton to Southampton, £270
Voyage 53, 29th Oct – 1st Nov, Southampton to Southampton, £110

We do occasionally have some bursary funding available; so if you particularly want to do a trip but really can’t afford it, it’s always worth getting in touch, and we’ll judge each application on its merits, both for first-time crew members and for returning crew who might become watchleaders if they can build sufficient experience.

What we really need is some new ideas for organisations who might be persuaded to sail with us, as we’re quite dependent on a small group of regular clients when we have vacancies. With this in mind, the Trust’s management meeting agreed this week to offer a small incentive: a bottle of champagne to any of you who gives us a suggestion or introduction which leads to a new group booking. You don’t need to make the contact yourself; merely send us a name, contact details and a little information about the organisation, and we’ll follow it up. Please think about whether you know a school, youth club, charity etc., which has young people who might like to sail. And remember that we can deal with an immensely broad range of people – consider recent successful voyages with people with severe disabilities; our confidence-building trips for profoundly dyslexic kids; or the forthcoming voyages for brothers and sisters of life-limited children associated with CHASE hospice. We particularly need contacts for youngsters who are not in full-time education, who might help us fill the boat during the exam season. So get thinking: the champagne is on ice and waiting for you….

Meanwhile, don’t forget the Boat Open Days in Portsmouth on June 11th and in Cowes on June 12th and 13th. Call Chris Hirst for details 07810 101446 – we need lots of enthusiastic helpers to show visitors around the boat. Also thanks to Marion Hemings and the Isle of Wight Support Group for their efforts in drumming up people to visit the boat. 

And finally: don’t forget the Southampton Boat Show from September 10th – 19th. We need lots and lots of keen people to help on our stand – including some young recent crew members. It’s great fun; and if you’ve never been to a boat show, you’ll love it. There’s masses to see and do, so you can spend a few hours on the OYT South stand and have the rest of the day to look around. Highly recommended: call David Salmon on 0870 241 2252 and let him know if you’d like to come.





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

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