John Laing

Newsletter

OYT South bulletin 30th April 2004

An abbreviated bulletin this week as all the phones on the boat are out of range as I write, while they sail back from Devon, so I haven’t been able to collect any anecdotes to pass on. If there’s anything good I’ll try to remember it next week.

Anyway, this week began with the maintenance day last Sunday – thank you very much to all those who turned up and got so many jobs done. Please make sure the next maintenance day is in your diaries: Sunday 23rd May, in Weymouth. It would be great to see as many people as possible to help us keep up the high standards of repair and maintenance on the boat.

On Monday we were joined by another group from Greets Green in the West Midlands. Wolf says the youngsters have been doing fantastically well and he is really impressed by their enthusiasm and effort. So far they have sailed from Southampton to Portsmouth, then on to Brixham (hardly falling below 9 knots all the way) and then Dartmouth. They are currently heading back to finish in Poole on Sunday.

The next trip will be an adult voyage running from Monday 3rd to Friday 7th May. There are still some berths available on this trip so please rack your brains and see if you can think of anyone aged 18 or over who might like to sail next week – call the office on 0870 241 2252.

Anyone wanting an adult voyage, who isn’t available at such short notice, might like to consider the weekend mates’ training voyage from 8pm Friday 14th May to 4pm on Sunday 16th. This is not restricted to existing mates, so please encourage anyone who might consider getting involved as a mate to come along and find out what we do. Other adults who don’t see themselves as prospective watchleaders but are interested in OYT South for different reasons (sending young people on the boat, shore support, fundraising, etc.) can also register their interest in this trip since we would like to fill the boat even if insufficient mates are able to come.

Our bookings this season have been very strong, with the boat full for much of the year. However, we are just getting into the period which is always hardest to sell, as almost everyone aged 12-25 seems to be doing exams. Apart from next week’s adult voyage, we urgently need to fill more berths on three other trips: 17-22 May, 24-29 May and 4-10 June. Please make an effort to think of anyone at all who might be able to sail during that period. We can always redesignate a trip as an adult voyage if we can’t sell it to young people – anything is better than cancelling a trip altogether, not least to avoid disappointment to volunteer sea staff who may have booked leave to do these voyages.  

Apart from the sailing, there are two events in June for which we need volunteers. On Friday 11th June we’re having open days at Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, from 1000 to 1500, and on Saturday 12th June in Cowes Yacht Haven (exact venue to be confirmed) from 1000 to 1600. We need people to give tours of the boat and enthuse to visitors about our voyages. It would be great to have some recent crew members along as well as adult volunteers, as these days are fantastic opportunities for encouraging others to sail with us. Anyone interested should contact Chris Hirst: cj.hirst@virgin.net or 07810 101446.

Meanwhile, I thought those of you who know Phoebe might like an update on her progress since her family emigrated to New Zealand. Her job on the square rigger didn’t work out (what other sailing job could match up to the expectations of those trained on board JOHN LAING?) so she spent a while working in a boatyard, helping with the interior of a 55-foot catamaran. But if you remember Phoebe’s unique way with paint, you will tremble at the prospect of Phoebe and fibreglass. Any substance Phoebe is given to work with, she ends up wearing. Fortunately she moved on from that job before developing a fibreglass coating sufficient to enable her to be launched in her own right. She’s now picking grapes, working with one eye on the vines while using the other eye to look out for “a sexy New Zealand grape-picker who will instantly fall in love with me.” Phoebe fans will be glad to know that she will be back in the UK at the end of May for a few weeks.

Don't forget I'm always happy to pass on news from other people; and I'd be delighted to get comments and stories from those who have been on the boat recently.





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

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