Happy to be at sea!


OYT South bulletin 16th December 2006

In this Bulletin

Happy Christmas!
This is the last bulletin until the new year, so very best wishes to you all for the festive season.

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Refit 2006-7: volunteers needed

Just 11 weeks to go – we are already a third of the way through the refit time! More help needed urgently, especially if it includes a few people who are either very small, or very wriggly and agile (see “water tanks” below). Call Wolf on 07771 771864 if you can help.

Mates intending to sail next season - don't forget that we really need you to come along at some point during the refit. Those do who come and help out will get priority when we are allocating berths for next season's voyages.

Please note: the last working day for refit volunteers before Christmas is Dec 21st and the first working day back is Jan 4th (not Jan 3rd as I said last week).

Huge thanks to everyone who has helped out in the last week. Apart from Wolf and Laura, we had Rosie “Habit” Allen, Di Roberts, Jacki Tapley, Phil Whiffing, Chris Morris, John “Cuddles” Snowden, Anthony Fawcett, Chris and Tristan from Contact Marine (thanks for testing all our electrical equipment), Tim Deverson, Andrew and Ellen Godber, and the team from IMS Shrink Wrap who have been reinforcing the tent around the boat, which has had to withstand some appalling weather in recent days.

We also had a Christmas box from Dave “Tigger” Heffer containing all sorts of useful stuff such as heavy duty bin liners and lighting rigs for use around the boat – including some which Wolf thinks might be light sabres!

Di has now finished the survey, which was mainly very good and with few major surprises. The key things she found which we hadn’t anticipated are that we need to fix or replace two hatches (up to £725), and we need a new primary winch (£5,000). This is obviously a big expense but the load on the primary winch (used for the jib sheets) can be enormous in strong winds, so for obvious safety reasons we have to be quite certain that we have a winch we can rely on.

The really good news is that Di has tested the plate thickness of the steel hull – including places which are impossible to reach on the inside without ripping the boat interior apart – and found that, having started with 5mm thickness when John Laing was launched in 1990, we still have at least 4.7mm as the very minimum anywhere on the boat. This is fantastic news and a real tribute to the hard work of a large number of people over many years to keep the hull in good condition.

The hull is now completely sanded, largely thanks to Cuddles the Octopus who was seen working with a sander in each hand.

Most of the angle grinding has now been done except for the last section under the capping rail on the starboard side, so we are ready to start filling and fairing in the coming week.

The main water tank has been finished and we have just two more tanks to do. Many recent volunteer helpers have sadly been too large or not wriggly enough to do this and other awkwardly-placed jobs. If you are small, wriggly and have any free time, please call Wolf urgently on 07771 771864. (But don’t forget refit helpers should normally be over 18; sadly, we are not allowed to exploit keen 12 year olds even though they would fit right inside the tanks).

However, we have managed to paint most of the tank lids; the stern platform has had one coat of primer; and we have started sanding the anchor and rope locker, and cleaning the skipper’s bilge.

Major jobs which still need to be started are: the other two water tanks; the cockpit locker; the gas locker; and the engine room.

Wolf is also looking for anyone who can store our oilskins somewhere dry until the start of the season – call him if you can help!

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

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Office phone
The office phone numbers have changed, and we now have new numbers which will be charged at local rates – making it cheaper to call us! Please amend your records as follows:

Office telephone: 0845 365 6781
Office fax: 0845 365 6782.

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Financial appeal

Individual refit donations are still coming in - thank you very much to everyone who has sent in a contribution. This has been another very good week with some generous individual donations, for which we are extremely grateful!

We also received a donation this week of £4,500 from the Greendale Foundation.

To see how refit donations are spent, you can now see a pdf of the Appeal leaflet here. It’s already going out of date as more donations have come in since it was written, but it will certainly give you an idea of how refit funding works!

If you haven't already made a contribution, PLEASE help us if you can. It is a very expensive job to keep John Laing in good condition, as well as keeping voyage prices down at a level which our crew members can afford - especially those from deserving or disadvantaged backgrounds. As I have said before, if everyone who reads this newsletter could afford £25, we would hit our target. Realistically, some readers are as young as 12 while others are students, or otherwise on limited incomes, so we would like to ask those of you with proper jobs to dig a little deeper if you can - and we are also asking sea staff to pay your membership and sailing fees early, so that we get the money during the refit when we really need it. And also 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.

It is so easy and quick to make a donation - just call David Salmon on 0845 365 6781 with your credit card handy. Or see here for other ways of making a donation.

We also now have a PayPal account which will allow us to accept secure credit card transactions via the website – useful for donations, membership, mates fees and voyage fees.

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Shorebased training
Thanks to all those of you who have booked places on February 17th. The GMDSS course is almost certainly full, and Sea Survival course is filling fast, though people may drop out and there are still a few who haven’t finally confirmed, so keep sending in your names if you want to do either of these.

However, we still have plenty of space on the radar, food hygiene and first aid courses - book your place NOW! We need to fill as many places as possible to get down to a reasonable cost per head. Radar is particularly recommended for second mates and above, though others are welcome too. Food hygiene and first aid (which needs renewing every three years - is yours about to expire?) are recommended for anyone who plans to sail with OYT South. Email me to book.

If we can’t fill enough places we may not be able to run all the courses. Please feel free to recommend these courses to non-OYT friends. OYT South people will get first preference but we are happy to include others where there is space.

Apart from the Sea Survival course (which needs a swimming pool), the others will be held at the Sea Cadet Unit in Gosport. They are all full-day courses so you can only choose one!

As for those wanting Powerboat Level 2: I’ve heard from Tony Salmon, who runs these courses. He’s been waiting for repairs to his boat, but says “hopefully mid Feb onwards we should have a few boats back on the water so we can start running courses”. I’ll let you know as soon as I can when I have some dates for these 2-day courses.

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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 but please put the date in your diary!

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Trustee vacancies

We've had a little bit of interest from people thinking of standing for election to the Board of Trustees at the AGM, but we are still keen to hear from anyone else who thinks they might have something to offer and would be interested in helping to run the charity. Contact the office for more information. We are keen to attract people 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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London Boat Show 2007
Wolf and others will be at the London Boat Show on Monday 8th January (wishing they had the money for lots of lovely new gadgets…or perhaps just a lovely new low-maintenance boat!). If anyone would like to meet up at the show, Wolf suggests 2pm at the Guinness Stand. See you there!

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Photos needed
Thanks to everyone who has sent me photos from voyages this year – I’m always happy to get more, and will use the best ones on the website. Special thanks this week to Adele from TS Swiftsure, who has sent some really excellent photos from the final voyage of the season. 

I’m still short of a few photos for the sea staff profiles page – if you can supply a picture of any of the following people, I’d be very grateful:

 Andrew Viney
Ben Martin
Yvonne Taylor
Phil Runchman
Dave Blogg
Vikki Maxwell
Martin Skipper
John Parkin

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People news

Congratulations to ex-John Laing skipper Rob Purkiss who has just got engaged to Kirstin!

Second mate Alice Poyner, currently living and working in New Zealand, has been in touch to say that she is currently sailing in their sail training vessel, Spirit of New Zealand, where she has to swim round the boat every morning whatever the weather, and wear uniform while entering and leaving harbour.

And one of our Official Favourite Canadians, Murphy, who sailed with us from St Malo to Lisbon last year, has sent Wolf a card and says hello to everyone who knows her.

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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, so don't leave it too long or your chosen dates may be fully-booked by others!

At the moment we are particularly looking to sell the first two voyages of the season, which are still empty:

19-23 March, Southampton, £230
24-29 March, Southampton, £310

Anyone interested, please contact the office.

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Tall Ships 2007
We are really getting excited about the 2007 Tall Ships Race series in the Baltic, which has some beautiful sailing areas. We have spaces still available on three voyages which are official Tall Ships trips:

 7-20 July: Race 1, Arhus, Denmark, to Kotka, Finland (£845)
20-29 July: Cruise in company, Kotka, Finland, to Stockholm, Sweden (£585)
29 July - 7 Aug: Race 2, Stockholm, Sweden, to Szczecin, Poland (£585)

You can find more information about the host ports here.

For Tall Ships voyages, we can take up to four crew members aged 15, and the rest must be aged 16-25.

We also have some exciting voyages to get us to Denmark at the start, and back from Poland at the end (a few of which are open to younger crew members) - please look at the voyage programme for details.

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Small Ships 2007
ASTO (Association of Sea Training Organisations) Small Ships races are for sailing vessels up to 120 feet in length and with at least half the crew being aged 15-25. John Laing will be taking part in two Small Ships races in 2007:

27 May - 1 June: Torquay to Guernsey, £350
2-7 October: Solent race (voyage starting and finishing in Southampton), £325

The Torquay to Guernsey race has the same age restrictions as Tall Ships (four 15-year olds, all the rest 16-24), but the Solent race is open to anyone aged 12-25. The Solent race itself takes place on Saturday 6th October, but the full voyage allows time to get everyone familiar with the boat and do some race training. Contact the office if you want to take part in either race.

OYT South is also keen to secure sponsorship so that places on both Tall Ships and Small Ships races can be offered to deserving young people who would never normally be able to take part in these special events. If you would like to help fund a berth for one of these races, please email me.

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Voyages for sea staff and new 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) - 1 place left
17-22 April (£275) - 4 places
7-9 Sept (£150) - 12 places
10-14 Sept (£275) - 12 places

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 practise 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 more information, or download an application form here.

Existing sea staff - please keep emailing me with dates when you would like to sail next season. If possible, give me some options so I can try and fit you all in around each other so that everyone gets some sailing!

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Survey - tell us what you think

Thanks to those of you who have filled in the new survey here - we are getting some interesting answers already but it would be good to get a lot more responses - from young crew members, sea staff, parents, group leaders or anyone who has sailed with the Ocean Youth Club or Ocean Youth Trust in any capacity since 1960. It's a very easy and quick survey to complete so please give it a go!

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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 at the rest of this website, particularly:
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.

Don't forget the OYT South link to Amazon - click here and a proportion of any money you spend will be donated to us - at no extra cost to you! Make this your Amazon link on your favourites list - otherwise it’s too easy to forget to use it.

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