It’s nearly that time of year again: lots of work to do on the boat, including several major items like replacing the standing rigging. It all costs money and we would really appreciate any contributions! If you want to donate to the refit appeal, please send cheques payable to OYT South to David Salmon, OYT South, Spur House, 1 The Spur, Alverstoke, Gosport, Hants PO12 2NA , or telephone 0870 241 2252 with a credit card handy.
End of season party November 5th
Thanks to all those who have replied about coming to the end of season party on November 5th. It has become clear from the responses that an informal party on the boat will be more popular than a structured day at Gosport Sea Cadets, so this is now the plan: John Laing will be in Ocean Village on the evening of November 5th from 7.30 pm, and we hope to see as many people as possible there, and going on to the pub later. The boat will already have been partially dismantled for refit, but the bunk cushions will be left so people can stay overnight. Assuming all those who’ve already said they can come to the party and who don’t live locally will want to stay, there are still some bunks left – please let me know if you will want one!
Craig’s leaving present
We are still looking for contributions for Craig’s leaving present - please send anything by November 5th to David Salmon, OYT South, Spur House, 1 The Spur, Alverstoke, Gosport, Hants PO12 2NA (cheques payable to OYT South but please make it very clear it's for Craig's present and not just a refit donation or anything else), or telephone 0870 241 2252 with a credit card handy.
Photos and stories
Thanks for all the photos I’ve been sent from voyages this season – but don’t stop now! We can always use more photos, articles from crew members or even just a short quote about your voyage which can be used in our publicity.
Sea survival course
For those who couldn’t make last week’s course, Yvonne Taylor is offering another RYA Sea Survival Course on 4th Feb, at Universal Marina, Sarisbury Green, Southampton, for just £60. This is a really worthwhile course and I would strongly recommend anyone to go along if you can. Call Yvonne on 07785 335189 for details.
All those of us who sail with young people know how often we see crew members from difficult backgrounds get off the boat with new skills and confidence, and a more positive outlook on life. Perhaps you have wondered how long the effects of the voyage stay with these individuals; well, this week, I was sent one answer to that question.
The following message came from a lady who wishes to be anonymous, who sailed with the Ocean Youth Club many years ago on a trip arranged by her social worker. She says: “At the time I was given the opportunity to take part in crewing a yacht to the Channel Islands, my family was going through a difficult time. Never in a million years would I have thought that someone from my background and circumstances would be able to take part in such a venture. I guess I did not fully appreciate just what an opportunity it was but as I look back on the experience (which is often) it always fills me with a sense of achievement which I draw on at low times.
“It certainly was a window of light in dark days and something that has stayed with me even though it must be over 18 years ago since I took part. Not only did it give me a break from the situation at home (holidays were unheard of) it gave me the confidence to know that after taking part in something that required total team work I have been able to use the skills acquired in that area of working life.”
A hugely enjoyable return visit last weekend by Sunnydown School (for boys with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties). This trip was designed to make up for the voyage in May when much of the sailing time was lost owing to gearbox problems. The same three group leaders and eight of the nine boys all came again, plus one newcomer.
It was great to have almost a full group who had been together on the boat before, and sea staff were amazed by quite how much they remembered from the previous short trip – from living on the boat to how to deal with cleats and winches. It was really impressive to see how confident and competent they were, and for those of the sea staff who were with them last time it was a particular pleasure having everyone so familiar and friendly from the outset.
Friday night gave us plenty of time to remind people of the basic briefings, and we also played a couple of games. We had an excellent sail on the Saturday, with enough wind to make things interesting and get the boat going well. Sail hoists and drops all went very smoothly, and everyone got a chance to practise steering and tacking.
We went into Cowes in the evening, where we met up with all the competitors from the ASTO Small Ships Race (including OYT South’s entry – of which more later). The boys got a chance to look round the town, and in the evening we played a lively round of the Chocolate Game.
Sunday dawned with scarcely any wind, and all our plans for sailing were pretty much scuppered. But the crew were doing so well that it became clear that with a little extra effort, they all had the ability to pass the RYA Start Yachting certificate. So we spent time demonstrating man overboard recovery, practising knots and learning about the weather – at the end of which every single one of the crew had earned his certificate. It was clear that with a few days extra on board, the group would have coped well with the more advanced Competent Crew syllabus.
The trip had many highlights, but one of the best was knowing that we were scheduled to pass OYT Ireland’s Lord Rank in Southampton Water. We quietly prepared for it, made our approach with an air of innocent calm, and only when we were right alongside, on a word from the skipper, did we unleash our store of carefully-hidden water balloons.
Back in Ocean Village, the school’s headmaster turned up to watch us come alongside, as well as several of the parents.
This is really an exceptionally nice group, with boys aged 12-15 who were all lively, enthusiastic, helpful, inquisitive and entertaining; plus excellent group leaders in Heather, Tim and Andy. Tim in particular has started his watchleader training and has plenty of sailing experience to back it up; but all three of them did a great job and would be welcome back any time.
Sea staff for the weekend were Dave Carnson, Craig, Caz, Mark Boggis, John Snowden and Grenville Houser. Grenville was making a welcome return to the OYT seventeen years after he last sailed as a mate!
Meanwhile, Wolf and a crack team consisting of Nick Crawford, Tim Deverson, Special K, Dinghy Boy, Phoebe (yes, she's back from New Zealand and started at Southampton University), Jo Nahum and Alex Evans were flying the OYT South flag in the ASTO small ships race in a chartered Sun Odyssey 37. The race took them round the Nab Tower and back. Apparently if there had been any decent downwind sailing they would have done really well with their spinnaker up; but with no proper spinnaker legs, while they still did very well on the water, their handicap (which was affected by the fact that they had a spinnaker on board) did them no favours at all in the final results.
The weekend was followed by a mixed voyage in John Laing for crew aged 16+, including an assortment of newcomers, plus people who had sailed as crew before, and a few extra sea staff who came along to make up the numbers, including a couple from OYT Ireland’s Lord Rank, which is staying in the Solent for a few weeks.
They went to Gosport on Monday night, and had a 6am start on Tuesday, aiming for Poole. However, they went so fast that they were off Poole by mid-morning and decided to carry on to Weymouth instead.
A relaxed morning in Weymouth on Wednesday was followed by a sail to Swanage with lots of tacking. They spent that night on Swanage pier while most of the crew went ashore to watch the England-Poland football match on TV (a competitive edge was introduced by the Irish girls cheering for Poland).
Thursday saw a fantastic 10-knot sail across the bay and back up the western Solent, racing a German adventure sailing ketch, and finishing up in Gosport again. Finally this morning they returned to Ocean Village – managing to get the mizzen staysail up on the way.
Official sea staff this week were skipper Dave, bosun Craig, John Clack, Mike Makepeace, Jo Nahum and John Snowden. Supernumary sea staff were Special K, Dinghy Boy, and Sarah and Lorraine from Ireland. Poor Dings had a difficult week as he lost every single game that was played and capped it all by losing his wallet – for the second time this season.
Tragically, of course, this was Craig’s last week sailing as staff bosun. He and John Snowden decided to lay down a bench-mark for hoisting the mainsail with just two people: 4 minutes and 15 seconds – a time which I’m sure will be hard to beat.
A plan was hatched to ambush Craig as soon as he had finished tying up the boat for the last time, but he became suspicious when he saw John Snowden donning oilskins, and went and put his own on. However, this didn’t do him much good as John and crew member Warren grabbed him and turned the marina hose on him…
Craig may not be sailing as staff bosun again but he doesn’t actually stop working for us till November 5th, so there’s still time to get tales and tributes to me before the November 4th bulletin.
Sea staff vacancies
No vacancies left for 2005, but keep sending in your preferences for 2006 - see http://www.oytsouth.org/ for the official 2006 voyage programme. As ever, people who help with the refit over this winter get priority with 2006 staff bookings, but I can always pencil people in now.
I’d also like to hear from people – whether new to OYT South, or former crew members who want to make progress – who would be interested in joining our volunteer sea staff in 2006, so that I can start planning familiarisation and assessment voyages.
We are now taking bookings on the 2006 programme, also available from the office, or on the website at www.oytsouth.org. Don’t forget the 2006 Tall Ships races to Spain, Portugal and Antwerp!
A number of full-boat bookings means that at certain times of year there are already limited spaces – so get your booking in now!
Dates for your diaries
Saturday 5th November: End of season party, John Laing, Ocean Village. Individuals welcome aged 18+; crew members under 18 who have sailed this year and would like to keep in touch are welcome to come to the weekend with a parent or group leader.
Don’t forget the OYT South link to Amazon!
At the bottom of the OYT South home page (http://www.oytsouth.org/) is a link to Amazon. Use this link whenever you order anything from Amazon and they will give a percentage of the price to OYT South funds.
Don’t forget the office can now take payments over the phone - just call 0870 241 2252 and have your credit card handy.