Class A vessels race start (photo: Sail Training International)


OYT South bulletin 13th July 2007

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last week marked * 

This newsletter and the website over the next few weeks
I'm going sailing next week until 9th August. Mark Boggis has kindly agreed to write a couple of editions of this newsletter to keep everyone in touch while I'm gone - email him if there's anything urgent which ought to be included. And if there's anything important which needs to be updated on the website, Andy Viney will look after that. If you reply to anything in the bulletin, you can send it to me as normal and I'll deal with it when I get back; if it's more urgent than that, contact the office.

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Voyage vacancies and bursaries
Bursary funding may well be available for these voyages, so no-one should be deterred from applying by the cost - talk to the office if you would like to apply for a grant.

 20-29 July: Kotka to Stockholm (Sweden) £585 - Tall Ships cruise in company (minimum age 15) - 2 places left
4-6 Sept: Southampton £140 (age 12-25 OR adults) - 12 places available - ideal 2-night taster voyage.
10-14 Sept: Southampton £275 (age 12-25) - 12 places left
27 Sept - 1 Oct: Southampton £220 - 5 places left.
2-7 October: Southampton £325 (age 12-25) - ASTO Small Ships Race (we need to defend the trophy we won in June!) - 10 places left
8-12 Oct: Southampton £240 (age 12-25) - 5 places left
15-19 Oct: Southampton £250 (age 12-25) - 12 places left

HURRY - if you want to book a berth, contact the office as soon as possible.

For more information about Tall Ships voyages, see here.
For UK-based voyages, see here.
Small Ships race (October 2-7), see here.
Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential projects, see here:
Bursary funding, see here.
And special funding for crew members from outside the UK.

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Voyage news
They had a good time in Arhus last weekend (special mention to our local liaison officers, who were apparently extremely helpful, though I haven't yet been given their names!). The Tall Ships race fleet left Arhus on Sunday (8th July) but then had two days to get to the race start line, which was a long way off and involved an overnight passage past the Danish islands towards the southern tip of Sweden. Craig the bosun particularly enjoyed this as the generator had broken but the problem was something he knew how to fix, and he was allowed to go to bed overnight in order to be fresh to fix it in the morning! They then went into Rodvig in order to give people a rest before the start on Tuesday.

On Wednesday skipper Wolf emailed to say that the race was dead downwind, always a frustrating point of sail, though at least it was sunny. He also said that the crew were a really good bunch.

Things obviously picked up after that as the tracking system then showed them doing nine or ten knots for much of the next couple of days - at one point they reached 14 knots. This morning they were just coming into the Gulf of Finland and moving gradually up the fleet, though our handicap is as ever holding us back in the official fleet positions.

It was all looking good for an early finish...and then the wind died. Most of the fleet seem to be barely managing one or two knots, and some people are only around six miles from the finish line but making no progress at all. John Laing has around 35 miles to go as I write, but is not expecting to finish today unless the wind picks up dramatically.

Once they cross the finish line, they don't have to be in Kotka for a few days, so there's a chance for one or more stops in the Gulf of Finland, with Tallinn in Estonia currently looking like a popular option.

The sea staff who have been working hard with the crew to keep John Laing racing as competitively as possible are Wolf, Special K, Tom Kemp, Andy Viney and Craig "Princess" Dickerson - thanks to all of them.

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Vessel tracking and race tracking
If you aren't already a regular user, you might like to look at John Laing's vessel tracking page on this website. It normally shows our sailing area in the English Channel, but for the next couple of months has been changed over to the Baltic map. You can zoom in to see more detail of where the boat is; or you can click on the image of the boat and see data on speed, heading etc.

During the Tall Ships races, you can also use Sail Training International's website to see where John Laing is in relation to the rest of the fleet. The fleet tracking page seems to work only intermittently but the position list is updated twice daily - though it just gives positions after handicap calculations. John Laing races in Class C but don't forget that even within a class the vessels differ enormously - some are much faster and others much slower. Sadly John Laing's handicap isn't as helpful as we would like - on the water we are in the first third of the fleet.

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John Laing on MySpace and Facebook
John Laing is on both MySpace and Facebook , both brilliant ways for crew members, sea staff and other friends and supporters to keep in touch, contact each other, or spread the word among other people about OYT South voyages. Have a look, and come and be one of John Laing's friends - and tell all YOUR friends about us!

For those who haven’t yet tried either site, or those who only know MySpace – my impression is that Facebook is developing into a livelier site, with lots more happening there – at least for OYT South purposes.

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2008 draft voyage programme 
A draft version of the 2008 voyage programme is now available here. It will give you an idea of what we are planning for next year, but it is not yet set in stone - if your group is hoping for a voyage on specific dates and the draft programme doesn't suit your plans, contact the office NOW on 0845 365 6781 and we'll see if it's possible to adjust the programme to create a voyage to suit you.

Many costs listed here are discounted early-booker prices, available for any bookings confirmed with the office by 31st August 2007. Some prices will increase after this date.

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Chris Ellis Award
Don't forget to enter for the Chris Ellis Award - you could win up to £200 off the price of your next voyage. This competition is open to any crew members aged 12-25. All you need to do is produce a piece of work based on your last voyage: an essay, diary, logbook, picture, computer art or anything else you like - there are no restrictions as long as your entry gives an idea of what you last voyage meant to you and why you would like to sail again. The closing date for entries is 1 December 2007 but please start sending your entries sooner, while your voyage is fresh in your mind. Electronic entries (preferable) should be emailed to me; hard copies if necessary should be posted to the office: PO Box 203, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 9AZ.

Chris Ellis was one of the founders of the Ocean Youth Club, in 1960. His family is still very interested in seeing any entries.

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OYT South Annual Supper
The OYT South West Sussex support group has kindly offered once again to organise our annual supper party for OYT South supporters. It will take place on the evening of Friday 14th September in Chichester Yacht Club, Birdham, at a cost of £35 per head (or a discounted rate of £260 for a table of eight people).

Our special guest this year is Merfyn Owen, the internationally renowned yacht designer who was responsible for Ellen Macarthur's record breaking yachts. He is also an ex-Ocean Youth Club skipper,  and a skipper of one of the BT Global Challenge yachts.

Please put this date in your diary and tell all your friends! Contact Chris Lane for tickets. And please also contact Chris if you can donate raffle or auction prizes.

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Sea staff bookings
Current vacancies (all Southampton-Southampton unless otherwise stated) are:

4-6 Sept: third mate needed (if voyage is booked)
27 Sept-1 Oct: second mate needed
8-12 Oct: first and second OR third mates (tbc) needed
15-19 Oct: first and second mates needed, and room for one spare qualified mate (if voyage is booked)
20-24 Oct: first and second mates needed

Email me if you can help.

Please note that you should have paid your annual membership (£30) and annual sailing donation (£70) before you can book, and you MUST have a CRB check.

And those over 65 or with known health problems must also now have an ENG1 medical before you can sail - let me know if you need advice or information about arranging this. It does need to be an ENG1 and not any other kind of medical - please don't rush off and spend money on an ML5 or anything else. ENG1s need to be done by an MCA-approved doctor, not by your own GP.

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Training voyages for sea staff and new prospective sea staff
The mates' training weekend 7-9 September (£150) already has several names on the reserve list, so it is very unlikely that there will be any more spaces.

The next mates' training weekend will be from 25-27 April 2008. There will also be a longer adult familiarisation voyage in first half of the 2008 season - we have three possible dates for it in April, May or June but we are waiting for a few more group bookings from young people and we will settle on adult voyage dates when we know which voyage isn't needed by a group.

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Maintenance days
The maintenance day on September 15th has been CANCELLED. There will now be a maintenance day on September 7th instead. Help needed - call Wolf on 07771 771864 a few days in advance if you can come along.

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FREE women-only self defence course on offer
John Snowden is offering to run a self-defence course for women some time over the winter. Please email me if you might be interested, and if there is sufficient enthusiasm we will put together some details. This should be a really outstanding course - everyone who knows John or has sailed with him will know of his expertise in the field.

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Financial appeal
Current fundraising priorities are to start putting together a refit fund for next winter, so that we are better able to plan the jobs and don't face the usual cashflow problems at the last minute. See here for how to make a donation.

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London Support Group
A good inaugural meeting on Tuesday of the new London Support Group - David "Tigger" Heffer, John Smith, Rob Harwood, Jill Moffatt, Rob Dickinson and Caz met in a bar and had a good constructive session coming up with ideas for attracting London-based young people and youth organisations to come sailing, while raising some funds to help them do so. Rob Dickinson volunteered to be the co-ordinator for the group so anyone who would like to get involved in future meetings can email Rob.

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Dorset Support Group
Martin Skipper is planning to revive the Dorset Support Group - anyone in the area who might like to get involved can email Martin.

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Southampton Boat Show
We are still looking for volunteers to help with our stand at the Southampton Boat Show, on any day from Friday 13 September to Sunday 23 September. All welcome, including young crew members who can help enthuse others simply by describing their own experiences on board John Laing, as well as adult volunteers - some of whom will be needed as stand managers, prepared to commit to helping for a full day or longer.

We will provide a pass for entry for the period of time on the stand, so volunteers will also get a chance to look round the rest of the show - a great experience.

For more information on how you can assist us please contact David Salmon in the office or email Brian Eyres

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OYT South membership and sailing donations - changes
The Trustees of OYT South have proposed a series of changes affecting membership and sailing donations, as follows:

a) At present people can join OYT South on any date and get 12 months' membership from that date - meaning that everyone is up for renewal at different times. It would be administratively far simpler, and easier to see who is a member and who is not, if everyone's fee came due at the same time. Therefore, from 2008, all membership will be due from 1 January and will last for the calendar year. However, to ease the transition, anyone due to pay after 1 September 2007 can pay at the new rate (see below) and this will be deemed to cover their membership until the end of 2008 - i.e. up to 3 months' free!

b) The current membership donation is £30pa and the sailing donation is £70pa. These figures have remained unchanged for at least seven years. From 1 January 2008 (or 1 September 2007 for those due to pay then), the membership donation will be raised to £36pa.

At the same time, the sailing donation will now have a recommended rate of £100pa and a minimum rate (before concessions - see below) which remains at the present level of £70 per year. It will be entirely up to sailing members which they pay (and they can pay somewhere between the two). The Trust would like to encourage everyone who can afford it to pay at the recommended rate, but where this would be a financial struggle, or for individuals who sail so little that they don't feel they get value for money, the minimum rate remains an option. The choice is entirely your own.

c) Anyone paying for a mate's training or familiarisation voyage can have their membership and sailing donation taken out of the voyage fee. This should attract new members but also encourage existing sea staff to undertake training voyages. NEW members who do training voyages in September and do not have the opportunity for further voyages that season (because of limited availability for assessment berths) will be regarded as paid-up members until the end of the following calendar year.

d) Crew members aged 12-25 will be regarded as paid-up members in the calendar year in which they sail.

e) Paid sea staff will be regarded as paid-up members in the year in which they sail. Unpaid relief skippers may also be regarded as paid-up members, although they will not be discouraged from paying if they choose!

f) Volunteer first mates are expected to pay membership and sailing donations, subject to concessions (below).

g) Membership donation - concessions: youth members (aged under 25) should pay a reduced membership donation of £18 instead of £36.

h) Sailing donation - concessions: OYT South policy states: "OYT South seeks to encourage suitable individuals from a wide range of backgrounds to train, qualify and sail as volunteer sea staff. No-one should be excluded on grounds of cost."

Any individual who would be deterred or prevented from sailing by the cost of even the minimum sailing donation (£70) can apply to the Trust for their sailing donation to be covered in full or in part by bursary funding. It should be possible for any member of sea staff recommended by the staff skipper to have their minimum sailing donation covered if they cannot afford it. No-one should be deterred from applying and there will not be a complex approval procedure.

i) Sea staff aged over 65 or with known medical conditions are already expected to have an ENG1 medical, which costs at least £80 every two years (prices can vary). If required, OYT South can deduct this cost from the sailing donation (e.g. £40 off per year over 2 years for an £80 medical).

j) Non sailing members should continue to pay their membership donation but not the sailing donation.

k) All taxpayers should complete a Gift Aid form regardless of how you pay, as the Government will give OYT South 23p for every £ you donate. A Gift Aid form can be downloaded here.
It is easy to make a payment using any of the following ways:
By credit card over the phone (0845 365 6781)
OYT South website using credit card / PayPal (this is 24/7)
Banker's Order
Even cash (but not sent by post!)

If anyone has questions or concerns about any of the above, please contact me before 1 September so we can look at amending anything which might cause problems.

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Office FREEPOST address
Following an analysis of the effectiveness of OYT South's FREEPOST address, it has become clear that its use does not justify the cost of maintaining it. Please note therefore that it is being discontinued - all mail should now be sent to the usual office address: PO Box 203, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 9AZ.

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Volunteer press officer news
Don't forget to contact Lizzie Fiddaman, our volunteer press officer, if you think your voyage should be covered in the local press, or if you have any other good story to tell about OYT South: you can email Lizzie. You can also contact her if you want to get involved in getting positive press coverage for us in your local area - the more help she has, the more coverage we might get! Local press coverage will help more people to hear about OYT South - which can mean more crew members and even more donations - so it's well worth helping Lizzie to get us mentioned.

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Voyage posters
Available to download from the website and print out: two posters / flyers which you could hand out to people or put on a school, college or club notice board, to encourage young people to come sailing with us.

One is mainly pictures and is primarily designed to get people looking at our website; the other poster has a bit more text. Both can be printed on ordinary A4 paper so I hope you will find it easy to spread them around!

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Passwords to members-only website section
Most sea staff who are sailing this year should now have working passwords to the members-only section of the website. Anyone who hasn't received a password and would still like one should email me and I can add you quite easily.

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Website - links needed
With so much work having been done on OYT South's website over recent months, it would be really great if we could increase the numbers of people visiting it. If you have any access to another website - anything from a marine site to a MySpace page - could you include a link to And let me know so that we can link back to you!

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Photos needed
Please keep sending photos from John Laing voyages, and I'll use the best on the website.

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Survey - tell us what you think
Always looking for more responses to the web-based survey - please have a look!

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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 long-standing 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.

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.

The winter refit 2006-7 is now over, but we need still need help at maintenance days spread throughout the year, and there will be another refit starting in November - see here.

And if you have any questions, please do email me - or contact the office.

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“I have made a bunch of mates that I hope to keep in touch with - would love to come again" Joe, 13