Thanks to the Isle of Wight Support Group….
…Who have just contributed £500 to the refit appeal.
The season is nearly on us and we have a few early voyages which still need extra crew members, so please do anything you can to encourage bookings on the following trips:
JL06-03 1-6 April £320 5 spaces
JL06-04 7-12 April £320 5 spaces
JL06-05 13-19 April £375 4 spaces (Easter)
JL06-11 13-19 May £375 12 spaces (full boat)
JL06-12 19-21 May £150 11 spaces (age 16-25)
JL06-14 22-26 May £250 4 spaces
JL06-21 24-29 June £315 10 spaces
Call 0870 241 2252 for bookings.
Another incredibly busy week with lots of people working hard over some very long hours.
The deck is painted, as is the cockpit. The crew quarters have been finished. The workshop is back together, as is the hardware locker (much less full than it was). The refit equipment in the oilskin locker and on the saloon table is starting to go back to where it belongs. The first coat of antifoul has been done and the second is underway today. This year John Laing will mostly be wearing stripes: as a test boat for International Paints, she has a wide strip of their previous product round the middle, with the rest of the boat painted in a new version. This means when she comes out of the water in November they will be able to compare how the two products performed. In exchange for this we get an extremely cheap deal on antifouling paint.
The other major job of the week was removing the tent so that the scaffolding could be taken down. This was an epic job, particularly as it was carried out under cover of darkness as we'd wanted to retain the tent until the last possible minute. For those of you who haven't seen the tent (you know who you are if haven't been to refit!), it was a complex structure of plastic pipes, all joined together with thousands of cable ties and a great deal of extra strong tape, attached to the boat and to the scaffolding and holding up a strong plastic cover. So step one was to remove the cover. Those of you who sailed in John Laing a couple of years ago and enjoyed readings from an excellent book called "Little Wolf's Book of Badness" may recall that camping was Little Wolf's Worst Thing: well, if Skipper Wolf's experience of tents is anything to go by, he may have a point. The first problem was that it had snowed and settled during the afternoon, turning the tent into an igloo. This meant that we needed a team of helpers moving the plastic as it was cut off, in order to avoid dumping snow on the deck. Instead we created a series of small avalanches down the sides, where it invariably landed on the heads of those working at ground level to pull the plastic off.
The second problem was that the whole structure was rather stronger than anticipated. We now understand why this tent withstood Force 11 winds. For a long period it also seemed capable of withstanding the entire OYT South demolition team. Luckily the day was saved by Dings, who has spent much of the refit being ridiculed for his collection of knives, which appeared to have been amassed in preparation for an alternative career as a circus knife-thrower. Once he had armed the entire refit team, we got on much better. As frenzies of tent destruction carried out in freezing darkness by a bunch of exhausted people who couldn't feel their fingers or feet and were constantly on the lookout for poles bent under tension springing back in their faces when their cable ties were cut go, it was almost entertaining…….
Possibly the volunteer who got the most out of the experience was Matt Bland, who, when he is not being a second mate with us, works in the Merchant Navy. Matt has just got a new job for which this experience of ice will be invaluable, as he's about to fly out to the Falklands for a job in fisheries protection, logistics support and penguin spotting in the South Atlantic. We'd all like to wish him luck in this new role. And we'd also especially like to wish the penguins luck…..
Anyway, the tent and scaffolding are now all gone and John Laing is beginning to look more like a boat and less like a building site.
Refit helpers this week were Wolf, Dings, Laura, Matt, Caz, Phil Runchman, Helen Paskins, Gordon Prest, Vic Stephens, Philippe Chandless, Jan Stiff, Julian Jansen van Rensburg, Giles Nicklin and Chris, Joe and Tristan from Contact Marine. Dave Blogg's parents also came and finished installing their new box which replaces the broken one in the cockpit (for sail ties etc) - an immaculate job. And Fraser Old returned the rest of the floorboards which he'd been working on, and all the bottle screws which he tested for us. Thanks also to Rob Butler who was inexplicably left off last week's thank you list.
Key refit dates coming up shortly:
7th March - John Laing back in the water
8th March - masts back in
9th March - move boat back to Ocean Village
14th March - compass swing
15th March - coding inspection 0930 (this is a key date - everything MUST be ready for the inspection as we have to pass in order to sail)
16th and 17th March - move out of refit house (what would be fantastic here is to have a few volunteers to help clean the house, freeing up others to work on the boat and helping to ensure we get our deposit back).
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
For early season voyages we still need:
6-7 May - second and mate (possible marketing day sails)
22-26 May - second mate
6-11 June - second mate
12-16 June - first mate
17-23 June - second mate
30 June-2 July - first mate
Lots of other vacancies after that - apart from Tall Ships voyages, there are spaces on most trips.
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.
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.
Anyone looking for something a bit more adventurous over the summer should consider one of the legs of the Tall Ships Race series:
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.
For crew bookings, call the office on 0870 241 2252 or email email@example.com .
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!