Some of the Leigh Park crew visit the RNLI


OYT South bulletin 6th October 2006

In this Bulletin

Staff bosun news

Many thanks and best of luck to Julian "Dinghy Boy" Watkins, who has decided that the time has come for him to leave the job and move on. He started sailing with OYT South five years ago at the age of sixteen, and had done a complete refit as a volunteer as well as qualifying as a second mate before becoming our staff bosun in autumn 2005. Dings has had a huge commitment to OYT South over a long period and we wish him all the very best in the future - he's hoping to extend his small boat experience and maybe do some yacht deliveries. But he intends to stay with us for long enough to do a proper handover for his successor, which brings me to:

Job advertisement: OYT South staff bosun

OYT South is seeking applications for the role of Staff Bosun.

The staff bosun's role involves boat maintenance under the supervision of the staff skipper. From November to March, the bosun will work on John Laing's annual refit. During the sailing season, the bosun sails on board John Laing on a working pattern of approximately four weeks on and two weeks off.

The successful applicant will be aged 18+ and will have an interest in and empathy for working with young people from a wide variety of backgrounds. The bosun will also be required to work with volunteer watch leaders and other OYT South supporters, including the marine engineer.

An enthusiasm and proven ability for making and fixing things will be essential. Applicants will ideally have some experience of boat maintenance, sail training and sailing generally, and prior experience as a bosun, volunteer bosun or refit volunteer is desirable; but the job will incorporate substantial training and can be used as an entry point to the sail training industry.

The bosun will also be required to keep maintenance records and must therefore have basic numeracy and literacy skills.

We will expect the bosun to qualify as a watch leader fairly quickly and be competent to lead a watch of young people on an occasional basis. RYA cruising qualifications (Competent Crew and above) will be an advantage but not essential.

Salary is expected to be in the range £9,300 to £11,200 depending on age and experience, plus additional benefits.

A satisfactory criminal records bureau enhanced check will be required. A clean driving licence is desirable. The successful candidate will need to pass a medical.

Energy, enthusiasm and a sense of humour will all be real advantages in a demanding and responsible role.

Apply with CV and covering letter, including contact details for at least 2 referees, covering  professional/educational and personal experience over the last 5 years to: David Salmon, OYT South General Manager, preferably by email to, or by post to PO Box 203, GOSPORT, PO12 9AZ Telephone 0870 241 2252 if further information is required. Closing date for applications 25th October 2006. Applicants should ideally be available to start work in mid-November 2006.

Boat Show - thank you!
Many thanks to all those who gave up your time to help out with our stand at the Southampton Boat Show, promoting our work and encouraging others to get involved and sail with us. Some of your efforts are already bearing fruit in terms of new volunteers and bookings.

Many people commented on the excellent new display material used on our stand this year - special thanks to third mate Dave "Tigger" Heffer for his help in designing and producing it.

2007 voyage programme

NOW 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!

Voyage News

Lots of news to catch up on as I have been away on the boat for a while.

John Laing had a rare weekend off in mid-September during the Boat Show, and this was followed by a five-day voyage part-funded by Zurich Cares, for highly deserving young people from the Leigh Park area, Hampshire. The crew were all at the younger end of our age range and included a variety of individuals with special needs. It was quite a challenging voyage but I understand from people who work with these children all year round that they were very pleased with the outcomes and thought that a great deal had been gained from undertaking the trip. Many thanks to skipper Wolf and sea staff Dan Russell, Matt Bland, Andrew Viney, Rosie "Habit" Allen and Kirsty for their efforts during a very hardworking week. Kirsty is one of the trainees currently doing the ASTO Skippership scheme (along with our own Gizmo). Special congratulations to Andrew Viney for passing his third mate's assessment on this voyage!

This was followed by a training weekend for existing and potential sea staff, where we made a number of new friends who will hopefully wish to remain involved with OYT South. It was also good to see a number of old friends again, including previous crew members and trainee sea staff, plus Colin and Richard from Raymarine, the company which provides OYT South with so much support in the form of marine electronics.

The next trip was a longer adult familiarisation voyage, again including a good mix of old John Laing hands plus new faces, with another pair from Raymarine. We did Southampton - Cherbourg - Alderney - Poole - Southampton in five days. Highlights included crew member Sam's 20th birthday night out in Poole, with Sam (male) wearing Dawn Marshall's jeans as he wasn't allowed into the bar in any of his own clothes; and a fantastic 11 knot-plus sail round the south of the Isle of Wight and into the eastern Solent.

The crew were all extremely eager to improve their skills, with the less experienced sailors all earning RYA Competent Crew or Start Yachting certificates, while most of those with a few more miles of ocean in their wake eagerly embraced new challenges, from learning how they might run a sail hoist with a watch of 12 year-old novices, to testing out rusty navigation skills - Geoff and Stuart’s pilotage into Poole was a particularly enjoyable exercise.

All in all this was an excellent familiarisation voyage, during which the crew's enthusiasm and eagerness to learn really motivated the staff, and promises some great new volunteer support for the future. Sea staff for the two adult voyages were Wolf, Caz, Phoebe and Matt Bland, with Habit as bosun for the weekend and Dings for the week.

Next came a maintenance day, which sadly took place in very bad weather which forced the cancellation of nearly all outdoor jobs. Apologies and thanks to all those eager volunteers who had to be phoned and told not to come because there isn't space for everyone to work inside the boat; but many thanks to Wolf, Dings, Fraser Old, Hugh Myers, Phoebe, Caz, Hamish Lochhead and Tracey Tyerman, who all found useful jobs to do. We also had a number of welcome visitors during the day, including Gizmo, plus relief skippers Nick Crawford and Steve Furniss, and Nick Fleming from OYT Scotland.

This was followed by the annual voyage for Parkside School, where Hamish Lochhead teaches - a group of boys, again at the youngest end of our age range. They started with a short sail to Cowes, followed the next day by a testing beat to windward to get them to Weymouth, and an easier downwind run back on the last full day. The crew all got on extremely well together and though the conditions were quite hard for them, they remained cheerful and vocal, though some displayed more enthusiasm for sailing than others! Hamish, as their teacher as well as third mate for the voyage, did a tremendous job and worked extremely hard - as did the other sea staff, Nick Crawford, John Parkin, Matt Bland and Dings.

Voyage Opportunities

One last chance to sail this season on the only remaining voyage with vacancies. This trip will only run if we can sell a minimum of eight places - please call the office on 0870 241 2252 or email

30 Oct-3 Nov              Southampton                £140   


Since it was launched, the new OYT South website has included profiles of our two permanent sea staff, Wolf and Dings; but of course our crew members sail with a much broader range of volunteer and relief sea staff. So we have just launched a new website section with space for pictures and short profiles of as many sea staff as possible. Regular readers of this bulletin who want to put a face to a name can look here, recent crew members can find their own watchleader, and those of you who have been involved for years can check out who else is still around. Not all sea staff are included at the moment, but that's simply because I don't have pictures of everyone, so please send photos to fill any gaps (or better photos if you can't bear the one I have used of you).

I'm also looking for a few lines of text to go with each photo, so here's the competition: One or two sentences, informative, descriptive, or witty, about any members of sea staff you know, to go alongside their photo. Best ones will be used on the website if printable and not defamatory or liable to make the sea staff in question resign from OYT South. All suggestions by email to me.

Sea staff and prospective sea staff

No more sea staff vacancies this season, unless anyone has to drop out at the last minute. I'll start thinking about bookings for next season once the refit gets under way - as most of you know, those who help at refit get first priority with bookings on the most popular trips. We've got a very strong list of people who want assessments next year and I'll be trying to fit in as many as possible.

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!

All these training voyages are also open to 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.

Shorebased training for sea staff

We are starting to think about training courses to be run over the winter - either on the AGM weekend in February, or at other times. Before we arrange specific courses, it would be useful to have some idea of the likely level of demand. Please email me if you would be interested in any of the following:

RYA Powerboat level 2 (two day course, required for driving John Laing's dinghy, especially useful for relief bosuns but valuable for all sea staff)
RYA Sea Survival (recommended for all)
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)

Please also let me know if there are other relevant courses you would like, and I’ll look into organising anything else if there is sufficient interest.

For those who are particularly keen to do the Sea Survival course, Yvonne Taylor has places left for 7th November - call her on 07785 335189 for more information.

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!

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