Do you want the good news first or the bad news?
I think I’ll start with the tough stuff. Many people have worked extremely hard on the refit: but with five and half weeks to go before the first crew members join up to go sailing, we have yet to start any exterior painting - antifouling, hull, deck or cockpit (the delay is caused by finishing the repair work on the deck, which causes so much dust that exterior painting is impossible); we still have to paint the bilges in the mates’ and skipper’s cabins, the heads and the engine and central bilges; we haven’t painted the saloon, the mates’ cabins or the galley; we need to clean the fuel tanks and service the winches, and plenty more besides. John Laing goes back into the water on 7th March; but the hull has to be painted by 18th February (i.e. two weeks today). We can still do it, but we really do need more helpers. If you are one of those people who has been meaning to get around to it but hasn’t yet quite found the time, then the time is NOW! Call Wolf on 07771 771864 before he subsides into despair.
Just to entice you all along and make the refit even more exciting than it usually is, on the weekend of 12th-13th February, we are having a Valentine’s Weekend Refit!!! We need as many single refit helpers as possible, and Wolf has promised to pair you up on a job with someone he thinks is compatible (but remember he has a slightly worrying sense of humour). Attached people are still welcome – surprise your partner by bringing them to the refit for a romantic weekend away! Saturday night dinner in the refit house will be my best cooking, eaten by candlelight. Instead of the normal refit music, Wolf has dug out his collection of smoochy CDs – the shed will be full of unchained melody. You will think love is all around! If we are painting the hull that weekend, John Laing will be the ultimate lady in red – a real pretty woman! Wolf will be stressing over the fact that the boat seems to take over his entire life – as he says, “Everything I do, I do it for you”; every time he looks at his jobs list, he’ll say a little prayer. Chris will be putting the power of love into the engine room. Princess Craig will be exhorting the painting team “Let’s get it on” – in fact, for him, refit is the closest thing to crazy….Assorted refit helpers will be reacting to endless demands for extra work: “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that!” We’re bound to hear something from the Walrus of Love. Power tools will drown out every careless whisper – in fact, hand gestures are best: you say it best when you say nothing at all. Against all odds, we’ll get the jobs done! And we’ll leave the boat each evening looking….wonderful tonight.
How can you resist? Even if you’re not looking for love it will still be a great weekend.
We do have a good list of people to thank for their help over the last week: Lucie Williams (now back from her time in France); Gemma Hanson, Pete McSherry, Rosemary and Mike Martin, Stephanie Thornton (who very kindly sorted out all our medical kit – the fact that we got a doctor of psychology to do this should not lead to any assumptions about the type of disorders most often found on board John Laing), Chris from Contact Marine, Tim Deverson, Alan Underwood, Kathyrn, Ceri, Jude, Fraser Old, Bruce Ogilvie and John Parkin.
The forward crew cabin has been painted; work is underway in the mast; all sorts of things have been taken off the boat and painted; the hatches and liferaft holders have been tackled; the new crew heads are a work in progress, as is the engine; diesel has been transferred so we can clean the tank; the stern platform has been rebuilt; the capping rail is being done; the deck goes on; and Pete, Fraser and Bruce between them have taken all the floorboards home to be worked on.
Training weekend 19th – 20th February
Everyone who has booked on a course for the Saturday should have received detailed joining instructions, which were sent out yesterday by email. If you think you are doing a course but did not get this message, please email me or call 07986 354697.
Owing to a cancellation, we do still have one possible space on the RYA one day first aid course – does anyone want it?
Because so many people are coming for the weekend, we do have a bit of an overcrowding problem in the refit house on the Friday and Saturday nights. If anyone living within reasonable distance of Gosport or Hamble has a spare bed to offer, please let me know!
Those not doing courses on Saturday 19th can still go to the refit, where Craig will be in need of support, but the boat will probably be closed on Sunday 20th as all the refit team will be involved in our other activities.
Anyone is welcome to come along for the Saturday night social or any of the events on Sunday:
From 18.30hrs on Saturday night please join us for food and/or drink at The Clarence Tavern, Clarence Road, Gosport (02392 529726)
On Sunday morning the session on crew welfare starts at 10.30 am in the Gosport Sea Cadet Headquarters, Berkeley Hall, Royal Clarence Yard, Weevil Lane, Gosport. Royal Clarence Yard is situated on the harbour side of the road, off the main A32 Fareham to Gosport Road.
www.multimap.com/map/browse.cgi?lat=50.8017&lon=-1.1258&scale=10000&icon=x . The crew welfare session should be extremely valuable for all OYT South sea staff and we would strongly urge as many people as possible to come along.
There will be a reasonably priced snack lunch available (£3 approx.) or you are welcome to bring your own sandwiches, and this will be followed by the AGM and an open forum from 14.30hrs.
If you want to contact someone over the weekend, to ask a question, please dial Mark Boggis on 0787 943 0749.
The group that had booked 12 berths on a voyage from April 1st to 5th called this week to say they could only bring 6 people after all. We’ve already sold one more, but there are still 5 places left, and this is still during school holidays for most people, so let’s try really hard to fill the spaces (£235) - it's a great opportunity, especially for 12-14 year olds who can't fit in a voyage during the summer holidays because they are too young for Tall Ships.
For bookings and details of other vacancies, contact the office (firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 0870 241 2252).
Sea staff bookings
Mates training: one berth left 6-8 May; ten berths left for 16-18 September.
Adult familiarisation (for prospective sea staff, group leaders etc): one place left 6-10 April; plenty left on 12-16 September.
Otherwise, email me for an up to date list of vacancies for mates at each level, or phone me on 07986 354697 for latest availability and to book your berth(s).
News and gossip section
I had an email this week from bosun Katy Tarrant who is currently travelling the world – she had a great time in LA; visited Fiji and Robinson Crusoe island (where she survived drinking an enormous bowl of Cava) and is now in Auckland and enjoying showers with hot running water before starting on the full NZ experience.
And in less exotic Swansea, Andy Royse recently got 86% on one of the exams that forms part of his master’s degree….