Apologies for the lack of a bulletin last week but I was away sailing. And, unusually, a Thursday bulletin this week as I shall be away tomorrow at the Sail Training International conference.
As promised in the last bulletin, and eagerly anticipated by many, judging from the number of enquiries: news of Craig’s leaving present – which I couldn’t circulate before in case it leaked out and spoiled the surprise. Anyway, the first wave of the appeal raised enough to get him pushed out of an aeroplane at 3,000 feet. The increasingly frantic appeals for more contributions as his leaving date approached were in order to be able to afford the parachute as well. (That's why I kept going on about it). But the good news is that the required total was reached at last, and Craig will be dangling in mid-air somewhere in the vicinity of Salisbury on a date to be confirmed (but we aim to announce it in time to collect a gang of enthusiastic spectators).
As of yesterday, the boat is out of the water at Hamble Yacht Services (same place as last year). Unfortunately we were unable to get a space inside the shed this year, so it’s another outdoor refit (brrr – there was ice on the deck this morning and it’s only the first day in the yard!) However, to limit the problems caused by being outside, the boat will be scaffolded and tented – the scaffolding work started today and is more or less done now.
Prior to the lift, all the kit was taken off the boat which could possibly be removed. The masts have been de-rigged, thanks to Tim Deverson; the bottle screws are off; the shit tanks exposed; the water tank lids are off; the bilge pumps have been serviced, the forward bulkhead is off; and the liferafts have gone away to be serviced.
International Paints came down yesterday to see the boat and talk to the skipper about a long-term study into the effectiveness of their antifouling on our boat.
Refit helpers for all this have been Wolf, Dinghy Boy, Special K, Gizmo, Laura, Tim Deverson and Matt Bland.
We’re got the same refit house as last year; but with quite a few people volunteering full-time on this year’s refit, it is vital that all those of you needing accommodation when you come to refit book themselves in well in advance. It is unreasonable to expect the neighbours to put up with large crowds of people staying in the house all the time (those who came last year will remember that the walls are thin and sound carries). So Wolf needs to keep control of the numbers. Call him on 07771 771864 to discuss when you can come.
Those who have never been to a refit before and have any questions about how it works and what is expect of them are welcome to email me.
Don’t forget the refit is closed this weekend as the staff are at the Sail Training International conference. Volunteers needed again from next Tuesday 22nd November.
This year’s refit will be quite expensive as there are a number of major items we must replace as well as all the usual jobs. If you can help us with a donation – either in cash or by helping us find sources of cheap or free materials – please get in touch. If you want to send cash, please send cheques payable to OYT South to David Salmon, or phone him with a credit card donation (OYT South, Spur House, 1 The Spur, Alverstoke, Gosport, Hants PO12 2NA, tel 0870 241 2252 ). With ideas or suggestions regarding donations of equipment and materials, talk to Wolf on 07771 771864 about what he might need.
There was a good turnout for the end-of-season party with lots of mulled wine on board John Laing followed by a trip to the nearby Frog and Frigate. Great to see so many people there!
Day skipper course
Congratulations to Gizmo and to Alex Evans who successfully completed the Day Skipper practical course in a small boat last week. Of course, sailing in November means that it is really more of a Night Skipper course, but we will be working on their ability to sail in daylight when the weather improves. Meanwhile if anyone needs advice on night pilotage, those two have certainly had a lot of recent practice.
Sea staff vacancies and training
Keep sending in your preferences for sailing dates in 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 if you know what you would like.
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 assessment voyages.
I’m also taking bookings for staff training voyages in early 2006:
· Mates training weekend 21-23 April (£150)
· Adult familiarisation voyage 30 April to 5 May (£275).
These are both open to new prospective sea staff, as well as to existing sea staff who may be rusty or want some more practice. The prices for these two voyages include £30 annual membership and £70 annual mates sailing fee, so once you’ve paid this you can sail as often as you can manage in 2006 at no further cost.
There will also be some shorebased training courses available on the weekend of February 18th and 19th (as well as the OYT South AGM on the Sunday) – so put the dates in your diaries now. Wolf will be running the one-day GMDSS/VHF course for anyone who needs this qualification. Last year we also ran successful First Aid and Radar courses and if there is sufficient demand we will try to do so again. There can also be a one-day chartwork course, as last year, though this does not lead to a formal qualification. Please email me if you would like to do any of these courses. And if you can think of another one-day shorebased training session which you would find useful, let me know and we’ll set it up if we can.
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
18-21 November: Boat closed while staff away at STI conference.
18-19 February: Training weekend and OYT South AGM
Don’t forget the OYT South link to Amazon – especially if you are starting to think about ordering Christmas presents!
At the bottom of the OYT South home page (http://www.oytsouth.org/) is a link to Amazon. If there’s anyone out there who isn’t completely familiar with Amazon, it’s one of the best places to buy books, CDs, DVDs and a range of other things on-line. Use the OYT South link whenever you go to the Amazon homepage and they will give a percentage of the price of your order to OYT South funds, without it costing you a penny extra.