Wanted: 3,000 tonne vessel
Following several weeks of extremely hard work (and barely any Christmas break), skipper Wolf today passed his Officer of the Watch (Yacht) exam, which allows him to be a mate on yachts up to 3,000 gross tonnes. For comparison, this is the same tonnage as fifty-four John Laings (55 tonnes each). This may give him even worse delusions of grandeur than normal during next season – look out for him calling for a pilot every time he enters the Solent. But if anyone has a spare 3,000 tonne yacht which you are not using, and would like to donate it to OYT South….Seriously, though, huge congratulations to Wolf from everyone in OYT South. It really has been a immense effort, and it is great for us as an organisation to have a staff skipper who has proved his skill at this level.
Refit closure 14th January – London Boat Show
The refit team is going to the London Boat Show tomorrow, Saturday 14th January, and the refit will be closed for a day. The team will be back at work on Sunday. If you are planning to be at the Boat Show tomorrow, come and meet the team at the Guinness Stand at 3pm.
Shorebased training 18th February
If you haven’t already booked to do one of the training courses on offer, please do think about it – these qualifications are useful for anyone sailing in John Laing, but are also relevant to people sailing in other boats – and, in the case of the first aid certificate, potentially enormously valuable in everyday life too. These courses are all being offered at highly competitive rates to OYT South supporters. If you are new to OYT South, the day is also a great opportunity for you to get to know lots of other people!
There are just two more places left on the radar course so book quickly to avoid missing out.
We have been offered a second instructor for the first aid course, so we can now manage a much larger group – meaning there are plenty of spaces still available. If you don’t have the RYA one day first aid certificate, please sign up for this course. If you do have this certificate, don’t forget to check when it expires – they only last for three years.
The chartwork course can also run if there is any demand for it. The GMDSS radio course is full but please keep letting me know if you want this qualification, as I’ll keep a reserve list in case anyone drops out, or Wolf can look at running a second course on another date if there are enough people.
Email me to put your name down for any of these courses – remember you can only do one on 18th February, though if you need two or more of the qualifications, let me know anyway and we can advise you.
There will also be a group session on Sunday 19th before the AGM which sea staff and other supporters should find useful and interesting, so please plan to be with us for the whole weekend if possible!
A few people have commented that I now appear to be using two email addresses. This is because when I sent last week’s bulletin (the first one from my new email address), the whole thing bounced back. An afternoon ringing various email providers revealed that pretty much everyone regards messages sent to several hundred people as spam, and would not only bounce it but probably close my account as well if I persisted. This produced a few nervous moments when I actually wondered if this would mean the end of the bulletin, and how on earth would we keep people informed without it?
Of course, there did turn out to be another way, which was to send it as a newsletter via the people who host our website, and to do this I had to set up a new address. In practice both come to the same inbox but email@example.com is my preferred address. (Don’t forget that my old BBC email address doesn’t reach me at all any more).
A side effect of using this system is that they provide statistics for how many people have read the bulletin (not who has read them, though!) and what time of day they did so. I am amazed by how many of you read the bulletin in the middle of the night. It’s not just Alice Poyner in New Zealand – there really are several people reading this at 4am.
Mention of the website (http://www.oytsouth.org/) reminds me that we should apologise for the fact that it is currently extremely out of date. We are working hard on a whole new version, so please bear with us till we get that up and running – it really will be a huge improvement.
John Laing’s refit tent continues to look like a building site; but we are steadily getting through the jobs. Sam Davis-Bickerstaff spent three days in the centre water tank and got the whole job done. The forepeak is finished. The gas locker just needs one more coat of paint. Lots of people have spent days lying in the scuppers, often in pairs (notably Tom Hughes and Gizmo) as a result of which everything has been scraped, sanded, treated and given two coats of primer. Special K and Dings have been working on the hull below the waterline. Wolf’s cabin is an ongoing job. Other refit helpers this week were Mark Boggis, Joe Parker, Caz and Wolf. Chris and Tristan from Contact Marine paid a flying visit to the refit house for dinner on the way to the Boat Show. And highlight of the week was probably all the homemade flapjacks….
If you haven’t yet been to the refit, or even if you’ve been before but could spare another day or two, please ring Wolf on 07771 771864.
Thanks to all those who have contributed to the cost of this year’s refit – but we still don’t have all the funds we need so it’s not too late to help! 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 ).
Sea staff bookings
Thanks to everyone who has sent details of dates when they would like to sail as sea staff in 2006. There are some trips which are clearly over-subscribed but we’ll be making decisions about that shortly (remember those who help at refit and in other ways get priority). I’m also juggling a lot of demands for assessments. But I hope to be confirming quite a few berths shortly. There are still plenty of spaces, though, so do carry on sending in your preferences. The sailing programme is available at http://www.oytsouth.org/ - there’s a link one the second line of the main section of the home page.
It should be possible to fit in some more assessments so I’m still keen to hear from new volunteers who are interested in qualifying as watchleaders this year. But whether you are new to John Laing or just looking for extra experience, please sign up for one of the trips set aside for staff and potential staff (anyone is welcome to do either or both):
· Mates training weekend 21-23 April (£150) – only TWO spaces left
· Adult familiarisation voyage 30 April to 5 May (£275) – 10 spaces left
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. The familiarisation voyage is also open to people who may not want to be sea staff or sail with young people, but would still like an opportunity to sail in John Laing and find out more about how we work.
Crew bookings are going really well, with lots of the best groups from last year booking new voyages, and plenty of enthusiastic individuals coming back for another trip. If you haven’t yet booked for 2006, we’d love to hear from you. Unfortunately while we are caught up in designing the new website, the berth availability on the old site has got a little out of date. You can still see voyage dates and prices at http://www.oytsouth.org/ (look at the top of the home page where is says CLICK HERE for the Official 2006 Sailing Programme) but you will need to call 0870 241 2252 for latest information on where there are still spaces.
Don’t forget the Tall Ships race series. The first race is selling well but there are plenty of spaces on the second race, from La Corunna to Antwerp. Or you can do one of the cruises in company, from Lisbon to Cadiz and from Cadiz to La Coruna. Unlike the two race legs, the cruises in company allow us to stop at various places en route and meet up with crews from other sail training vessels. The local ports always lay on great hospitality and there will be lots of parties as well as some fun sailing. Tall Ships rules allow us to take a maximum of four 15-year olds on each leg; all other crew members must be aged 16-25.
As ever, most of our other voyages are open to people aged 12-25.
For bookings, call the office on 0870 241 2252 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marketing day sails
We will be running two more 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 the boat in action.
Dates for your diaries
14 January: Refit closed so the team can go to the London Boat Show – meet at the Guinness Stand at 3pm if you want to join us.
18-19 February: Training weekend and OYT South AGM
17 March: shakedown weekend – make sure you have done your stint at the refit before this date!
20 March: first proper voyage begins.
Don’t forget the OYT South link to Amazon – click on the Amazon logo at the bottom of the OYT South home page (www.oytsouth.org) and a proportion of any money you spend will be donated to us – at no extra cost to you!