At sea


OYT South bulletin 10th November 2006

In this Bulletin

New bosun

OYT South is delighted to announce that following a series of interviews earlier this week, we have appointed a new bosun to succeed Julian “Dinghy Boy” Watkins, who is leaving us at the beginning of December.

Laura Aldrich-Blake will start working with us on 4th December. Aged 23, she has extensive volunteer experience with Trinity Sailing Foundation, working on board their three traditional Brixham sailing vessels (Leader, Provident and Golden Vanity) as bosun or second mate. She also recently did a weekend voyage with us in John Laing. She says she’s very excited about working for us, and looking forward to starting her first permanent job since graduating last summer with a history degree from Cardiff.  You can see a photo of Laura here.

Laura was selected from a very strong field - we had a number of other excellent applicants for this post. We hope to keep in touch with some of the other people who applied and it will be great if some of them choose to get involved with OYT South in future as volunteers.

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Refit 2006-7: volunteers needed (accommodation available)
John Laing's winter refit 2006-7 has started and will continue until 15th March 2007.

We have rented a house in Hamble, within walking distance of the boatyard, to accommodate staff and volunteers. We will be needing lots of volunteer help from now on. The plan is to work through the weekends and take Wednesdays and Thursdays off instead, so we need people on any day from Friday to Tuesday each week.

One exception is that the boat will be closed from 17-19 November inclusive, while the staff attend the Sail Training International Conference. We’ll also announce the dates for the Christmas holiday refit closure shortly – yes, we do let the staff go home for Christmas….

Please start thinking NOW about when you might be able to come and help, and call Wolf on 07771 771864 to book your dates. NB there are restrictions on how many people can stay in the house at any one time!

Over the next couple of weeks, we mainly need help with decommissioning – getting gear off the boat and taking things apart. The boat is in Ocean Village through till next Monday 13th November. On Tuesday she is being moved round to the Hamble (we probably already have enough helpers for the move). The masts will come out on Wednesday 15th November and the boat will be lifted out of the water on Thursday 16th November.

Thanks to this week’s refit team: Wolf, Dings and Geoff Eddy, who wins the award for being the first volunteer of year!

For more information on how the refit works, who can come and what volunteers can do, see here.

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Financial appeal

Don't forget OYT South is a charity - we need to raise a considerable sum of money each year to keep John Laing going and offer affordable voyages to young people from a very broad range of backgrounds, including many who are disadvantaged and highly deserving. We particularly need your help over the winter, when we don't have income from voyage fees but expenses for the refit are high. Please consider making a donation to help us this year - or persuading someone else to help!

Sea staff who will be paying their £100 fee to sail next year (£30 membership, £70 annual sailing fee): could you pay early, to help us through the winter, rather than paying during the season? And don't forget that our mates fees have not been increased for many years; if you can afford more, please think about increasing your contribution. Any sea staff who plan to sail for more than a weekend next year are getting an incredibly cheap deal from their sailing fees, so please pay more if you can.

Please see here for information on making a donation to OYT South.

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NEW survey – tell us what you think

We have just launched a new web-based survey here, so that people can tell us what they think of our voyages. This will help us to keep improving what we do, and will also help with our fundraising, by providing more information about what people get out of sailing with us. We are interested in your views, whether you sailed with us this year or whether you sailed with the Ocean Youth Club as far back as 1960. We want to hear from crew members, sea staff, parents and group leaders. There are two slightly different survey forms - one for those who have actually sailed on an OYT / OYC voyage, and another for parents / guardians and group organisers who have sent young people to sail with us.

You can complete and submit the form online, so please have a go – it won’t take long and we really do want to hear your views!

We are also looking for comments on the survey as this is the first time we have tried to do it in this way, so please let us know if you don’t find it easy to use, or if you think we should have included different options or a different choice of answers, and we can improve the survey over time.

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Shorebased training

We can now announce that a key date for training courses this winter will be Saturday 17th February 2007, when we hope to run the following courses if we have enough takers:

* RYA Sea Survival (recommended for all - this is the course on which you can practice setting off flares, and try using a liferaft in a swimming pool)
* GMDSS / VHF radio (recommended for all; compulsory for second mates and above)
* First aid (recommended for all; compulsory for second mates and above. NB certificates only valid for three years - will yours expire in the next year?)
* Radar (recommended for 2M and above)
* Food hygiene (recommended for all)

Apart from the Sea Survival course, the others should be held at the Sea Cadet Unit in Gosport. They are all full-day courses so you can only choose one! I’ve already got a list of people wanting to do courses – it would be helpful if you could all confirm whether or not you can do that date. None of the courses is full yet so please contact me now if you haven’t already done so.

If 17th February is no good for you, please let me know which course(s) you would like and I’ll look for alternative dates if there is sufficient interest.

Powerboat level 2, which is a 2-day course, will not be run over the same weekend, but I hope to be able to offer a choice of other dates for this course fairly soon.

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2007 AGM

OYT South’s 2007 AGM will take place on Sunday 18th February (the day after the training courses), also in the Sea Cadet Unit, Gosport. Details to follow soon but please put the date in your diary!

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Trustee vacancies

At the AGM in February it will be possible for our members to consider electing some additional Trustees to the Board of OYT South. If you think you might have something to offer and would be interested to get involved in the running of the charity, please start thinking now about whether you might stand for election, and contact the office for more information. We are keen to attract new trustees with skills or experience which may be useful in developing the charity and improving our work. In addition, we would like to consider having at least one youth member (aged under 25) standing for election to the Board.

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2007 voyage programme

Available here. Hundreds of exciting sailing opportunities, from local trips to adventures overseas, including the 2007 Tall Ships race series in the Baltic. Weekends up to 2-week trips; voyages for young people (12-25) or adults (16+); training voyages for prospective volunteer sea staff; opportunities for individuals and groups. Some voyages have already been sold - bookings are being taken NOW so please start making your bookings for next year - don't leave it too long or your chosen dates may be fully-booked by others!

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Voyage News

Two short voyages since the last bulletin. We did a three-day trip for a mixed group including a number of young people who have been in care. Many of the young people got a great deal out of the trip. Highlights included porpoises seen alongside John Laing as they were leaving Poole, and a fantastic fast sail from Poole back to Southampton – over 11 knots at times! Many thanks to sea staff Wolf, John Smith, Hugh Myers, Matt Bland, Joe Parker, Ceri “Bridget” Adams and a special guest starring appearance from a previous staff bosun, Craig Dickerson. Second mate Matt spent the trip having a go at the first mate’s role, and despite finding it slightly stressful, he did extremely well and we may be persuading him to try it again next season. Matt is a merchant navy officer and it has been great having him around in John Laing so much in recent weeks while he was between ships. He will be joining his new ship shortly – we wish him all the best and look forward to seeing him again when he comes home on leave.

The final voyage of the season was a weekend for the Nautical Training Corps group from TS Swiftsure – the same group who sailed with us in May, with addition of a new group leader, Adele, plus a new crew member, Zoe, who had missed out on the May trip because she was just short of her 12th birthday at the time! They were the ideal group for the last voyage of the year – a really lively, entertaining, good-humoured bunch who tackled everything with real enthusiasm and teamwork and showed a genuine interest in learning new skills. Sadly there wasn’t enough wind to make it the perfect weekend, but we went down to Freshwater Bay on the south side of the Isle of Wight, where we anchored for lunch in the sunshine, before going back to Cowes for the night. Those who had been before had already got their Start Yachting certificates, and this time made good progress towards Competent Crew, though they couldn’t finish it all in two days (despite intensive knots practice before the voyage). Adele and Zoe did all that could be completed of their Start Yachting qualifications without wind. Sea staff were Wolf, Caz, Trevor Hewson, Becca Causer, Dings and Laura.

We actually had a day off after the last voyage was over, and a group of us went for a walk in the New Forest. In a fit of relief at not actually being at sea, we all relaxed so much that no-one remembered to navigate, and we ended up wandering through foggy woods as darkness fell, with everyone disagreeing about which paths might take us back. Luckily several members of the team have an unerring instinct for where the pub is, which proved to be just as effective as GPS and radar at sea, so the adventure ended happily.

One more piece of good news for the week – many of you will know that Kathryn “Gizmo” Francis, a regular refit helper and young bosun and watchleader in recent years, has been involved in an intensive sail training scheme this year, run by ASTO (The Association of Sea Training Organisations). She has just reached the end of the course in style by passing her Yachtmaster exam – many congratulations!

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Website - volunteer and relief sea staff

Profiles are now available on the website here. If yours isn’t there or you don’t like what other people have written about you, please send improved versions as soon as possible! I’m also still lacking a few pictures.

All contributions by email to me.

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Voyages for sea staff and prospective sea staff

For those of you who are new to the organisation, or who have only recently been recommended for sea staff, dates for adult training voyages next season are:

30 Mar-1 April (£150)
17-22 April (£275)
7-9 Sept (£150)
10-14 Sept (£275)

Prices include £30 annual membership and £70 mates sailing fee - which means that any other voyages you do in 2007 would be free! Anyone new to the organisation who wants to get to know the boat, see how we work and find out whether you would enjoy being a member of volunteer sea staff should book on one of these trips - email me to book.

All these training voyages are also open to current qualified sea staff who are looking to make progress, brush up on a few skills or practice something they don't often get a chance to do - as well as helping us introduce the new people to John Laing and OYT South. Email me to reserve a place.

Prospective sea staff who are hoping to sail next season: please note that to sail with young people, you must complete an OYT South application form, providing references, and have clearance from the Criminal Records Bureau. If you aren't familiar with this system, it is perfectly straightforward but it can take weeks or even a few months for the CRB to deal with your form, so it's well worth starting the process before the end of this year to ensure that you are ready to take up any opportunities to sail from the start of next season. Email Brian Eyres for application forms.

I'll start taking sea staff bookings for voyages with young people next season once the refit is well under way.

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Funding idea for young people - Youth Opportunity Fund

Don’t forget that groups of young people looking for ways of funding their voyage for next year might like to investigate the Youth Opportunity Fund. This is designed to help projects where young people get together to organise activities for people aged 13-19 in their local area. You can find a factsheet here.

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Adult voyages

We are interested in receiving enquiries from anyone interested in adults-only voyages other than the mates training and familiarisation voyages for prospective sea staff. Please contact the office if you (and a group of friends or family, a club, or a workplace teambuilding group) would like to do a fun, adventurous trip in 2007. We will also consider applications for group voyages from disadvantaged or deserving adults.

Adult voyages will only take place at times of year when we have no bookings from young people, and cannot take place during school holidays. Please note that our published voyage prices are subsidised for young people aged 12-25. Adult voyage prices can be negotiated with the office but are likely to be higher.

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New readers’ section
If you are reading the OYT South newsletter for the first time, I hope you will find it useful and interesting, and filled with opportunities for things you will want to get involved in. Please feel free to join in any OYT South activities - nothing here is restricted to longstanding members or people who already know one another. New people are always very welcome!

If you feel that you don't yet know much about OYT South, you will learn more by keeping a regular eye on these newsletters; but for a lot of background information, take a look around the rest of this website.
If you are aged 12-25 and hoping to sail as a crew member, take a look here.

Adults interested in joining our volunteer sea staff can check here.

To volunteer for OYT South ashore, please look here.

To help with the winter refit, see here.

And if you have any questions, please email me  - or contact the office on 0870 241 2252.

Don't forget the OYT South link to Amazon - click on the Amazon logo here and a proportion of any money you spend will be donated to us - at no extra cost to you!

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“I had a very good time and I learned a lot – nice to meet you all!” Hollie, aged 15