OYT South Sailing


OYT South bulletin 4th November 2005

Urgent notices

Day Skipper practical course
Owing to a last-minute cancellation there is one space on Wolf’s day skipper practical course from this Sunday 6th November to Friday 11th. This is being run in a small yacht, and is a great opportunity to learn about parking and manoeuvres which are difficult to practise in a vessel as big as John Laing. Cost £100 per head, contact Wolf on 07771 771864 for details.

End of season party November 5th – that’s TOMORROW!
Don’t forget the party on the boat on the evening of November 5th in Ocean Village, starting on board from around 7.30pm and finishing in a local pub. Please bring a bottle!

Bosun news

Farewell Craig….
Sadly the time has come to say good-bye to Craig Dickerson, who joined OYT South as a frog (sorry, unpaid refit volunteer) in early 2003 but was rapidly transformed into a princess (i.e. staff bosun) {In the tradition of frog princesses, somebody must have kissed him – but Craig: if it was someone dressed as an old lady in a cottage in the woods then I’d ask Wolf some serious questions if I were you …}, and has been our staff bosun since September 2003. Highlights of Craig’s OYT South career have included setting the record for the fastest solo mainsail hoist; being sat on by ten crew members from Bruton School for Girls, who were attempting to tie him to a fender board with hands in interesting places, and being given mouth to mouth by their teacher during a first aid exercise; and, of course, finding lasting love on a familiarisation voyage at the start of this season. His work-rate and his ability to fix things has been outstanding, and we shall all miss both his skills and his company. Craig’s efforts at refits and during the sailing season have made a massive contribution to keeping John Laing in good condition, and ensuring that scarcely any voyage days have been lost due to mechanical problems. His plans for the future involve a great deal of skiing, but we are confident he will shortly soar to still greater heights (see next week’s bulletin).

Skipper Wolf, who has developed a close friendship with Craig whilst relying on his support through two years of trials and tribulations at sea, was asked for a quote for this bulletin summing up all that Craig has meant to him. Touchingly, his final message to his right-hand man is: “So long and thanks for all the tea.”

….and welcome Dings
Congratulations to Julian Watkins, aka Dinghy Boy / Dings, whose appointment as staff bosun in succession to Craig was confirmed by the Trustees this week. Dings started sailing with us in 2001 at the age of sixteen (when he took the smallest available size in oilskins). He became a third mate in 2003 (medium oilies). In 2003-4, during his gap year, he worked full-time as a refit volunteer, and passed his second mate’s assessment in early 2004 (large or XL oilskins).

As we always do with crew members at the start of each voyage, we asked Dings what he hopes to get out of the experience. The answer is that his greatest hope is to fulfil a longstanding ambition to paint John Laing black…but his biggest fear is Wolf finding out.

Meanwhile we look forward to many more years of successful wind-ups of Dinghy Boy. He was once fooled into thinking that the whole crew, in his absence, had played a game involving everyone admitting to a highly embarrassing escapade in childhood, and that it was now his turn – which led to a long confession about a lot of running around with no clothes on..

The refit has started!
Volunteers needed seven days a week until March. Sea staff are all expected to do at least a day or two - as the price for cheap sailing next season! The normal procedure for coming to refit is to call Wolf on 07771 771864, but from Sunday 6th to Friday 11th November he will be at sea running the Day Skipper course. To come to refit in his absence, call Dings on 07990 518915. Anyone who has never been to refit before and wants more information before committing themselves can email me (I’m away next week too but will reply as soon as I get back).

Refit appeal
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.

This week’s news

A report on the final voyage of the season – for a change, mostly written not by me but by Special K and Gizmo.

It was a group booking from an East London charity called Community Links (http://www.community-links.org/). They say that “Our work is based on the belief that we all have the potential to do great things….In east London our activities include education programmes, care schemes for children, advice and advocacy, training for adults, respite for special needs and much more.We help over 53,000 children and young people and adults every year.” They first got involved with OYT South three or four years ago, and this was their second full-boat booking.

The group consisted of seven young people and four adult helpers, who joined on Wednesday afternoon with lots of apprehension from some of the young people.

On Thursday the weather forecast was fair so they sailed from Southampton to Poole. After a windy night in Poole they motored to Studland Bay which provided a sheltered anchorage for lunch in the sun. They sailed off the anchor and then had a real rollercoaster ride back across Christchurch Bay and up the Needles. “Whoo”'s and “Whee”'s were heard from the crew – who seemed to have lost their initial nerves by this point. Outside Yarmouth, just as they were getting lines and fenders ready, they saw a dolphin within 10m of the boat. Needless to say, it was tricky to get the crew focussed on bits of rope after that! They then spent a night on the wall in Yarmouth.

On Saturday they practised tacking outside Yarmouth and then screamed up the Solent towards Portsmouth. By this time there were some big smiles on the young people's faces - particularly when they were on the wheel. 

Gizmo managed to miss this entire day’s sailing by supervising what may be the longest lunch in John Laing’s history (don’t you believe it – I’ve known it take far longer – Ed.). She managed to make preparing the simplest lunch of the week (soup and sandwiches) last 3 hours from start to finish!

They sailed into Portsmouth Harbour and up past the historic ships. There was a visiting Dutch "Stealth Frigate" (third mate Dave Blogg is an expert on this sort of thing) which prompted one of the kids to say "It's not very stealthy - we can see it".

Another windy night, this time in Haslar. The biggest drama of the evening was when Gizmo appeared in the companion way emitting high pitched little squeaks which were translated to mean she'd lost a flip flop over board. But no problem - we had already perfected our double boathook footwear overboard recovery technique when one of the leaders lost his trainer overboard in Yarmouth the previous night. The day was saved and Giz was reunited with her flip flop.

On Sunday morning the group went off to visit the Submarine Museum, taking Dave - the resident submarine expert - along with them to get the real stories. After lunch they sailed off the berth and raced to put up all four sails for a fantastic sail back along the eastern Solent. Sailing up to the anchor in Osbourne Bay was amazing - Osbourne House framed by the most sumptuous sunset. After dinner (cooked by the skipper) and a game or two they set back off for Southampton. Despite a strong wind warning, the wind had died away to nothing so it was hot chocolate and marshmallows as they motored back up Southampton Water.  

The original forecast for the week was quite hideous with gales in the south. In the end we had four incredible day sails with lots of sun and sparkly wakes with the added bonus of sailing on and off things. A great end to the season.

Sea staff were skipper Steve Furniss plus John Parkin, Special K, Dave Blogg and Gizmo. Congratulations to Dave who passed his third mate’s assessment. We’ve had more successful sea staff assessments this season than I can ever remember – with assessments running on virtually every voyage where it was possible to do so.

Following the end of this last voyage, the refit began almost immediately as the team started decommissioning the boat. Many thanks to Craig, Dings, Gizmo and Special K for being the first refit helpers of 2005-6 – the first of very many, I hope. Wolf has also been working on the refit this week but in an intellectual rather than a physical capacity, sitting in his nice warm flat out of the rain thinking about costs and supplies and timetables and logistics.

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. There is a mates training weekend 21-23 April (£150) and a 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.

Crew bookings

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.

15th November: masts out

16th November: John Laing out of the water

18-21 November: Boat closed for ISTA 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.

 Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

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