Journalists Josette and Giles working hard for their stories on the Open Days (photos: T Bates)


OYT South bulletin 11th May 2006

Latest news

Sea staff vacancy
Owing to a cancellation, one more qualified second or third mate urgently needed for 12-16 June - email me if you can help.

Past issues of this newsletter
If you've missed a previous issue of this e-newsletter and want to find it, they are available on the website at; there's a link to the newsletter in a box at the bottom of the home page. It currently goes back to December 2005 but I am gradually adding earlier editions.

New office postal address
From next Monday we have a PO Box address for the office - you can write to us at:

Ocean Youth Trust South
PO Box 203
PO12 9AZ

Weekend engineering work
The weekend voyage 19-21 May has been cancelled as it was short of bookings and we needed two clear days for some work on the engine, so this seemed like an ideal opportunity to get the job done.

Crew bookings
Current crew vacancies:

22-26 May          Poole                                         £250        5 spaces
24-29 June       Southampton                            £315    12 spaces possible (we have unconfirmed interest in this voyage but would welcome other enquiries in case it falls through)
4-8 July            Southampton to St Malo           £290    1 space*
8-22 July          St Malo to Lisbon                     £830    3 spaces*
28 Jul-9 Aug    Cadiz to La Corunna                £700    5 spaces*
9-20 Aug         La Corunna to Antwerp            £700    6 spaces*
4-8 Sept           Southampton                            £275    8 spaces
9-15 Sept         Southampton                            £390    10 spaces
9-13 Oct          Southampton                            £250    12 spaces (full boat)
14-20 Oct        Southampton                            £340    12 spaces (full boat)
30 Oct-3 Nov  Southampton                            £200    12 spaces (full boat)

Call 0870 241 2252 for bookings.

* Voyages marked with an asterisk are part of the Tall Ships Race series, for which we can take up to four crew aged 15; all others must be 16-25. Potential crew members who will be aged 15 this summer should contact the office to discuss which legs have not already filled their quota of 15 year olds.

All other voyages can take crew members aged 12-25.

Voyage news
Lots to say this week as I was sailing last week and couldn't do a bulletin. But to start with a bit of unfinished business from the previous week: congratulations to Becca Causer for passing her third mate's assessment!

Leonie's young carers: We had an eventful voyage turnaround on the Saturday afternoon. Leonie Warnick, who works professionally with young carers, has arranged for a group of them to do a voyage in September, funded by Sport Relief - and they all came to visit the boat for a couple of hours, along with representatives from Sport Relief, the BBC and the Southampton Echo. I have heard good reports from people who saw the BBC item the following week while we were at sea; and the young people were all very keen so it looks like being an excellent voyage!

Adult FAM voyage: The following trip was an adult familiarisation voyage which introduced a great bunch of new people to OYT South. We went to East Cowes on the first night, fuelled up the next morning and then headed off to Cherbourg. This followed a lengthy debate about other possible destinations, with the weather forecast seeming not quite right for any of the available options; but in the end it was a straightforward passage and we ended up on the waiting pontoon (our allocated berth having been filled by someone else) in the early hours of Tuesday morning. After breakfast we moved to a more convenient berth and then spent a whole day in Cherbourg, dividing our time between trips ashore and training sessions on board - ending up with a superb meal in a restaurant overlooking the inner harbour.

The following day saw another round of debates over our next destination, with Poole narrowly beating the Channel Islands as the latter would have given us such a long passage on the final day with no chance of pausing for sail training exercises. A windless motor back across the channel ensued, greatly enlivened at the end as crew member Tim had done a highly detailed pilotage plan for going up the harbour, only to find that the buoy numbers and light characteristics had all been changed just three days previously and nothing looked the way he expected.

Arriving at Town Quay we again found another vessel in our allocated berth; but this time there was nowhere else we could go. Wolf asked John Snowden, on the bow, to give the other yacht a shout. When our ears stopped ringing and people from Bournemouth and Weymouth stopped calling to complain about the noise, we were able to have a conversation with the skipper of the other boat, who was pleasant and helpful, happy to move out and then come back alongside us.

Training sessions continued the following day, with guided tours of the engine provided by Chris from Contact Marine. We also spent some time with everyone running mizzen hoists and drops and practising putting in and taking out reefs. This is always difficult with a crew of experienced sailors, since most of them will do things properly before the "watchleader" has had a chance to explain it as they would to a novice crew. So this time we briefed a few team members to unleash their inner 12-year old and spend the session making deliberate mistakes to see if the watchleader spotted them. Crew member Andrew Viney was almost frighteningly good at this, slipping naturally into an attention span of around three seconds, able to put the wrong rope the wrong way round the wrong winch with his hands the wrong way round. By the end of this, most of the team were fully equipped to lead a mizzen hoist with virtually any watch they might ever encounter if they sail with OYT South for years!

An afternoon departure in light winds gave us time for some training at sea, including a man overboard recovery exercise with Dawn Marshall taking the bosun's role, looking very fetching as she dangled over the side in an orange suit. Back in the cockpit, the demonstration of how to lift someone in two helicopter strops involved Wolf playing the casualty.

It was dark by the time we reached the Needles and Andrew gave a demonstration of hyperactive Jack-in-the-box navigation as we made our way up the Solent for yet another early-hours arrival in Ocean Village.

It really was a great bunch of people with lots of potential as future volunteers. One of them, Rob Dickinson, was signed off as a second mate on the spot, having previously had that role in Gordonstoun School's sail training vessel, and several others who will be offered assessments as soon as we have any dates available. The trip also saw the welcome return to OYT of Dinghy Boy's sister Vicky, who did a trip as a crew member several years ago and had not sailed since. Thanks to sea staff Wolf, John, Leek, Dings and Caz - and also to the Contact Marine team, Chris and Tristan, who were sailing on the voyage and did invaluable work on the engine during the week.

Open days: This was followed by a couple of marketing days, which enabled us to introduce a number of people to the work of OYT South, as well as showing our appreciation to several of our key sponsors. So the two day sails on Saturday and Sunday included staff from MDL and Raymarine; journalists from the Portsmouth News, the Hampshire Chronicle (see their account of the day here) and a new radio station aimed at the sailing community; and a number of people who might put forward young crew members in future. There was a bit of rain on the Saturday, and not much wind on either day, but everyone seemed to have a good time and left the boat thoroughly enthused about our work. You can see some pictures taken on the Sunday by Tony Bates from Southampton Council at Sea staff for the weekend were Wolf, Mark Boggis, Leek, Phoebe, Dings and Caz.

Alfreton Park voyage: This week's voyage, which doesn't finish until tomorrow, is the trip which has now become an annual event, with pupils from Alfreton Park special school. The group includes six young people with a variety of learning difficulties, Down's syndrome or deafness, plus six adult carers. Two of the young people had sailed with us before. The sea staff have all been learning a little sign language, and the group as a whole has been making up a few original signs...

The voyage has been made up of short sails plus lots of social time, with the crew getting involved in sail hoists and steering, but also lots of chatting, playing cards, singing songs and generally having a good time. So far they have visited Cowes, an anchorage in Osborne Bay, Royal Clarence (Gosport), Cowes again, and Yarmouth - where they had a big BBQ and played football on the beach. Tonight they plan to head back to Southampton for fish and chips, and the skipper says that they only problem they've had is trying not to spill too much sun lotion on the deck! As ever, this is a really excellent group and the Alfreton Park trip is always much enjoyed by all involved.

Many thanks to sea staff Hels, Graeme, Dings, Mike Makepeace and Di Roberts, plus all the carers, for making this voyage such a success.
Sea staff training
We are now taking bookings for the autumn mates training weekend 22-24 September (£150) and adult familiarisation voyage 25-30 September (£275). Please email me for places on either trip.

Dates for your diaries
5 June: maintenance day, Poole - volunteers needed.

3 and 4 July: Southampton - maintenance and preparation for Tall Ships races - help 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 ( and a proportion of any money you spend will be donated to us - at no extra cost to you!

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