Anyone available to help next Friday 17th March?
That's the day the team move out of the refit house, and it has to be left clean and in condition for us to get the deposit back - all of £1,000, so well worth the effort. Of course the refit team could clean it themselves but they also have 1,001 things to do on the boat (like servicing the engine) so it would be fantastic if we could have a task force to wield mops and dusters, and check the inventory. Call Wolf 07771 771864 if you could help.
A few early-season voyages which still need extra crew members, so please do anything you can to encourage bookings on the following trips - tell your friends, and encourage other organisations to book:
JL06-03 1-6 April £320 5 spaces
JL06-04 7-12 April £320 5 spaces
JL06-05 13-19 April £375 3 spaces (Easter)
JL06-11 13-19 May £375 12 spaces (full boat)
JL06-12 19-21 May £150 11 spaces (age 16-25)
JL06-21 24-29 June £315 10 spaces
Call 0870 241 2252 for bookings.
This week, the refit team's reply to my standard Friday question about what they'd been up to was a forlorn: "We've been making ourselves very tired."
Stage 1 entailed frantic preparations for the launch. John Laing went back into the water on Tuesday ("she floated - but it was raining so hard that we might as well have been underwater"). In order to move her towards the water, the yard did a sterling job shifting nine other boats out of the way.
On Wednesday the wind blew so hard that there were worries about being able to get the masts back into the boat, but this was finally achieved, much to the relief of ace rigger Tim Deverson who had made all the new standing rigging and was engaged in his regular panic about whether he had got everything the right length. This obviously required a wind-up phone call complaining that one of the stays was too short; but of course he had really done an excellent job. Anyway, for the team this became another 15 ½ hour day due to complications of tides and wind.
Thursday saw the boat moved back round from the Hamble to our berth in Ocean Village. Again, terrible weather meant that the trip was accomplished heeling hard over despite having no sails up. At least that's what they tell me; but I wonder if Dinghy Boy's determination to throw away all the unwanted heavy stuff from the hardware locker mightn't have induced a permanent list the other way? Maybe all that junk was there for a reason....
The project now is to keep putting gear back on the boat, doing some more interior painting, and lots of tidying and cleaning. The coding inspection has been brought forward a day to Tuesday 14th March so we have 24 hours less in which to get everything done, and there are going to be a few more very long hard days to come.
Refit heroes this week were Wolf, Dinghy Boy, Dinghy Mum, Dinghy Dad, Laura (who earned multiple points by turning up at the boat unprompted on a rare day off with bacon sandwiches for everyone), Matt Bland (who nearly missed his flight to the Falklands to start his new job because Wolf wouldn't let him leave), Flavier Zamboni, David d'Costa, Graeme Cole, Nick Crawford, Dave Carnson, Lorna Deas, Tim Deverson, and Chris and Joe from Contact Marine.
Following the launch of John Laing it's almost time to start looking forward to OYT South's next launch - the new website! I know it's been frustrating that our website has got so out of date while we're working on the new one, but I can promise you the new site will be a huge improvement; a lot of work is currently underway and real progress is being made. However, the development stage has had its moments. The designer is someone who doesn't know many OYT South personnel, and this has caused some amusement over early drafts. There will be a link on the home page to the Purplefinder vessel tracking service, so that everyone can find out where John Laing is. The link reads: Vessel Tracking - Where is John Laing sailing now? But the picture initially chosen to illustrate this was....Skipper Wolf! All I can say is that if he doesn't know where he is, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Sea staff bookings
For early season voyages we still need:
22-26 May - second mate
31 May - 4 June - second mate
17-23 June - second mate
30 June-2 July - first mate
The mates training weekend 21-23 April is full and we are starting to take bookings for the next one: 22-24 September (£150).
We still have two spaces on the longer adult voyage 30 April to 5 May (£275) - suitable for training, new prospective sea staff, group leaders, parents or anyone else who wants a first hand look at how we work at sea.
The prices for these adult voyages include £30 annual membership and £70 annual mates sailing fee, so once sea staff and prospective sea staff have paid this you can sail as often as you can manage in 2006 at no further cost.
Please email me to make sea staff bookings or reserve places on adult voyages.
Some minor changes to Tall Ships start and finish dates, to fit in better with travel arrangements:
Tall Ships rules allow us to take a maximum of four 15-year olds on each leg for these five voyages; all other crew members must be aged 16-25. As ever, most of our other voyages are open to people aged 12-25.
See above for early-season vacancies for young people aged 12-25.
Call 0870 241 2252 for up-to-date availability and to make a booking - you can pay your deposit by credit card over the phone to secure your place.
Marketing day sails
We are still seeking bookings for marketing day sails, on Sat 6th and Sun 7th May this year. If you know anyone who would like to see the boat in action, with a view to booking a new group for a voyage, donating some money, or supporting us in other ways, please spread the word and make sure any new contacts know they would be welcome on one of those days (and either keep me or David Salmon informed). These days are also open to existing OYT South supporters who prefer not to come on full voyages but would like a short taste of life at sea in John Laing.
Dates for your diaries
17 March: shakedown weekend
20 March: first proper voyage begins.
20 April: maintenance day, Southampton - volunteers needed.
5 June: maintenance day, Poole - volunteers needed.
15 September: OYT South Annual Dinner
Don't forget the OYT South link to Amazon - click on the Amazon logo at the bottom of the OYT South home page (http://www.oytsouth.org/) and a proportion of any money you spend will be donated to us - at no extra cost to you!