John Laing

Newsletter

OYT South bulletin 8th April 2004

Three good voyages since the previous bulletin. Last week we had a familiarisation voyage, with adults who are considering getting involved with OYT South, so that they can find out more about what we offer and we can find out more about them. The upshot of this seems to have been positive on both sides, and with luck we shall get some good new sea staff out of it. That voyage went to Yarmouth, Portsmouth and Cowes as the weather continued unfriendly.

At the weekend we had a mates’ training voyage. The weather forecast was dreadful, so we planned a lot of work which people wanted to do without going sailing. This included teaching people all the daily and weekly maintenance checks which are regularly done on the boat, and getting people thoroughly familiar with the boat’s equipment and systems. The crew was a good mix of experienced mates, relative novices, and some highly competent sailors who were new to JOHN LAING. Relief skipper Brian Eyres used this as an opportunity to swap some roles among the more experienced staff, so the first mate became the skipper for part of the weekend, and second mate Mark Boggis did an impressive turn as acting first mate. We did get a brief sail, from Southampton to Cowes and back. On the way down, it was windy and wet; on the way back just as windy but at least it was sunny. And again, some of the new people were great company and good sailors, and hopefully will enjoy sailing with youngsters on board and go on to be excellent sea staff.

After two adult trips it was time to get back to our real purpose, with a crew from Kingston Grammar School. Ali Travis is the current relief skipper, and she tells me the crew are very impressive indeed. They went down to Poole in wind forecast to drop to Force 4 or 5, but instead endured 50 knots in Poole Bay. The crew kept going with real enthusiasm, and the next day volunteered to do a night sail. They went round the bottom of the Isle of Wight, aiming to be in Portsmouth by 10pm; but the wind dropped and they didn’t get in till 4am. Staff bosun Craig should have been on this trip but has sadly gone sick (hope you’re better soon, Princess). Luckily Graham, who had been on the familiarisation and mates’ training voyages, was able to stay on and take Craig’s place.

We do have a few other sea staff vacancies coming up shortly. We need a 2nd mate for Tuesday 13th April to Friday 16th April; a 3rd mate for a weekend trip 17th-18th April; either a 2nd or 3rd mate (but MUST be female) for 26th April to 2nd May; and a 2nd or 3rd mate for 3rd-7th May. Call Wolf if you can help with any of these: 07771 771864.

And Wolf is also looking for feedback from people who came and helped at the refit – what worked well, what could have been improved, and any suggestions for next year. Email him at john.laing@rya-online.net.

For all those of you who are missing the refit and finding that time hangs heavy on your hands at weekends, don’t forget the next maintenance day is Sunday 25th April – ring Wolf on 07771 771864 for details. All help greatly appreciated.

We also have a few crew berths remaining on the following voyages:

3-7 May (Poole to Southampton) – adult familiarisation voyage - £240
14-16 May (Southampton to Southampton) – mates training - £110
17-22 May (Southampton to Weymouth) – Age 12-25 - £325
24-29 May (Weymouth to Southampton) – Age 12-25 - £330
20-25 June (Southampton to Poole) – Age 12-25 - £330
26-27 June (Poole to Poole) – Age 12-25 - £330
16-23 July (Brest to Southampton) – Age 16+ - £525
13-15 Aug (Plymouth to Plymouth) – Age 18+ - £140
2-8 Sept (Poole to St Malo) Age 12-25 - £330
27 Sept-2Oct (Poole to Southampton) Age 12-25 - £230
29 Oct-1 Nov (Southampton to Southampton) Age 12-25 - £110

Call the office if you’re interested, on 0870 241 2252 (and spread the word among any other possible crew members).

Meanwhile the marketing team has been hard at work. Chris Hirst and Marion Hemings visited two schools on the Isle of Wight (and there will be an Open Boat Day on the island on Sunday June 13).

Chris Lane has had some useful meetings with the CHASE children’s hospice, with whom we did the Adam Hollioake voyage last year. CHASE has confirmed bookings on two voyages this season.

Weekend voyage 8 has now been fully booked by a group of Youth Leaders from West Sussex. The new person in charge of Youth Work in West Sussex sailed with OYC many years ago, as did her boss too! Here's hoping for lots more crew from the area.

Crew bookings have been going so well that we are concerned about having to turn people down in the school summer holidays. For this reason we are looking at the possibility of chartering a second boat for a couple of weeks. Wolf and a team went for a test sail in ex-OYC boat Samuel Whitbread last weekend. She needs some work to bring her up to code, but if that happens then we could have some more berths to offer in high summer.

Keep sending me your news for circulation.

And meanwhile, happy Easter.





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

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