Rogues Gallery: potential new sea staff


OYT South bulletin 13th September 2007

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last week marked *

Full list of current crew (aged 12-25) vacancies for 2007
Great news – all the remaining voyages this season have enough crew members to sail and should definitely be going ahead as planned! (2-5 Oct, which was virtually empty a week ago, is now FULL).

We only have 14 places still available for the whole of the rest of the season, and only a couple of voyages where extra crew members could still make a real difference. PLEASE help us fill the last few spaces.

Bursary funding may be available for these voyages, so no-one should be deterred from applying by the cost - talk to the office on 0845 365 6781 if you would like to apply for a grant.

27 Sept - 1 Oct: Southampton £220 - 3 places left
5-7 Oct: Cowes to Southampton £150 - 2 places left (weekend voyage)
8-12 Oct: Southampton £240 - 2 places left
12-14 Oct: Southampton £120 - 1 place left (weekend voyage)
15-19 Oct: Southampton £250 - 6 places left

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

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.
For more information about Tall Ships 2008, see here.
And special funding for crew members from outside the UK.

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2008 crew bookings
Please see here for the full 2008 programme . You will find that we already have reservations or at least initial enquiries about full-boat bookings listed against quite a number of voyages, so please don't leave it too late to book your preferred voyage.

You can find additional details about berths on Tall Ships 2008 (Liverpool - Måløy (Norway) - Bergen (Norway) - Den Helder (Netherlands)) here. .

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Sea staff training (shorebased)
We will shortly be arranging training courses to take place over next winter, and it would be helpful to get some idea of the likely demand. Please can you email me if you would be interested in any of the following courses:

First aid (regular updates required - check when your certificate goes out of date)
Sea survival
Food hygiene
Powerboat Level II

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Sea staff training (at sea) - NEW dates
We have already had a great deal of interest in the mates' training voyage, 25-27 April 2008 (£150), and we have now added a new, longer adult training voyage to the programme: Tues 29th April to Sun 4th May ­ 5 nights for just £275.

For anyone interested in training next year (both existing sea staff and new potential volunteers): if you have the option of taking time off during the week, I would strongly recommend the longer voyage if you can manage it. You'll certainly learn more, partly because each exercise or manoeuvre (such as a sail hoist or a gybe) obviously happens more often on a longer trip, which gives far more people the chance to practise and to have a go at running the exercise in the watch leader role; and partly because we can just cover far more topics on a longer voyage ­ for example, we can work on how each of you as watch leaders could best teach all the elements of the five-day RYA Competent Crew syllabus. In addition, the longer voyage potentially allows us to go somewhere more interesting: ­ weather permitting, France is usually an option. 

For anyone thinking even further ahead, the other mates' training and familiarisation voyages in 2008 will be 8-13 Sept (£315) or 19-21 Sept (£150).

Email me to book on any of these voyages.

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Refit 2007-8
It's that time of year again....we are planning John Laing's winter refit for 2007-8!

The refit will start on Wednesday 31st October, and we'll have a busy couple of weeks moving all the kit off the boat into storage or into the refit house. Lots of volunteers needed during this period - call 07771 771864 if you can help for a day or longer.

The next stage is to move the boat round from Ocean Village to Hamble - we'll be refitting in Hamble Yacht Services, as last year. We haven't finally confirmed these dates but we would hope to get the masts lifted out on 13th November, and John Laing herself lifted out of the water on 14th November. Then the boat will be closed from 15-18 November while staff attend the Sail Training International conference, and after that, there will be refit work as normal.

As we get a bit closer to the time, I'll start putting more information in these newsletters for the benefit of people who may not have been involved before. The key thing you need to know is that our refits require an inexhaustible supply of volunteer helpers, both skilled and unskilled. In 2006-7, ninety-five people contributed a total of 381 days of volunteer labour, and we need to match or beat that figure this year. November and December have previously been the period when we have been most short of volunteers, so please start thinking now about whether you can set aside a weekend or a few days to come and help. 

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Core refit team - long-term volunteers needed
As well as the usual volunteers who come to help with John Laing's refit for a weekend or a few days at a time, we are looking for at least a couple of long-term volunteers to join the core refit team: perhaps to do the whole refit from November 1st 2007 to March 23rd 2008 - or at least to help full-time for a minimum of a month or six weeks during this period.

Volunteers will receive food and accommodation, as well as experience in boat repairs and maintenance.

Ideally volunteers will be aged 18+ although we may consider applications from 17-year olds. No upper age limit.

Practical skills in any aspect of boat maintenance will be an advantage but not essential. What is vital is that core team volunteers should be hard-working, responsible and enthusiastic. The team will all be living together in a rented refit house and it is vital that volunteers are also prepared to take responsibility for a share of cooking and cleaning in the house.

Long-term core-team volunteers are a vital part of the refit effort as they provide continuity against the background of short-term volunteers coming and going. They have time to become familiar with a variety of refit tasks, becoming capable and competent enough to work with minimal supervision, allowing the professional staff to get on with other work.

Core refit volunteers often go on to become bosuns or watch leaders during the sailing season. If they were already members of sea staff, their refit experience can help them make progress and move on to more senior roles.

Last winter's core team included Rob Harwood, who is doing further maintenance on board John Laing even as I write; and Matt Bland, who has gone back to his work in the merchant navy. Previous core team volunteers have included Craig "Princess" Dickerson, who went on to do several seasons as staff bosun; Kerry "Special K" McMillan, now a first mate with Trinity Sailing; Kathryn "Gizmo" Francis, now mate of Blue Box, one of the fastest boats in the Solent; Julian "Dinghy Boy" Watkins, who also went on to become our staff bosun for a year; and Phoebe (also not her real name), who has just spent part of the summer skippering a 55-foot yacht in the Caribbean, and is also now a member of the Board of Trustees. So the experience gained as part of the refit core team can definitely lead to greater things!

If you are having a gap year or are not working for other reasons, please think about whether you would like to be part of the core team, and email me to express an interest and for more information. 

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OYT South office move!
Since OYT South was founded, David Salmon has very kindly provided office space for us in his own home. However, we have finally found our own office premises in Gosport, and we'll be moving in early October. Details to follow but phone and fax numbers and the PO Box address will all stay the same. 

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OYT South Annual Supper - tomorrow (Friday 14th September)!

Last chance to book a ticket for the OYT South supper tomorrow, Friday 14th September, in Chichester Yacht Club. £35 per person (£20 unwaged). Guest speaker 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. There will also be a speech from our own skipper, Wolf.

Contact Chris Lane 07951 621598 urgently for a last-minute ticket!

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Southampton Boat Show - starts this week!
We are still looking for volunteers to help with our stand at the Southampton Boat Show, on any day from Friday 14 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 contact Brian Eyres. If you think you have volunteered for the Boat Show but haven't been told where and when to turn up, please email Brian urgently. 

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Voyage news
Last Friday we had lots of support for the maintenance day on board John Laing and managed to get through a good list of jobs including a very thorough clean and food inventory, sorting out all the charts and chart corrections, the regular safety and equipment checks, and lots of bits of touching up (the paintwork, not each other) all over the boat. Thanks to Rob Harwood, Rosie "Habit" Allen, Lisa Davis, Pete Seely, Emma Burrows, Wolf, Caz, and Gizmo for all the tea-making.

After that came a hugely enjoyable if slightly windless mates' training weekend. We had an excellent bunch of new volunteers and a great atmosphere on board all weekend.

We headed down the western Solent on Saturday, and as soon as we were clear of the massed ranks of racing yachts, we started doing sail training exercises. The light winds made it all fairly straightforward, and we worked up to a stage where everyone could organise a watch to put in a reef or shake one out of both main and mizzen. This ended with an inter-watch mainsail reefing competition, with points for getting it all right and doing it safely and well; however, the teams swiftly worked out that Wolf, the judge, was easily bribed, and that extra points would be awarded for bringing him cups of tea.

We had booked a berth in Swanage for the night and were looking forward to this as there was a folk festival taking place. Sadly, however, when we arrived it turned out the berthing master didn't have a spare key to the gate at the landward end of the pier, which meant we couldn't go ashore for the evening as there would be no way of getting back! As grannies everywhere always say, "We had to make our own entertainment."

Sunday saw more exercises - headsail changes, tacking and gybing - as we sailed back to Southampton, with an impressive level of competence all round. By the end of the weekend, we had a really strong group of new sea staff lined up for assessments next season - including a couple who should come in at second mate level. One person who doesn't need an assessment is Jo Brooks, a qualified third mate who used to sail with OYT Scotland but has recently moved to Chichester. She belongs to us now and Scotland are not having her back. Anyone wanting a handbag should check out Jo's website. (This bulletin will shortly carry a mention for another website belonging to a crew member from the weekend, but they have kindly agreed to set up a link to OYT South, so I'll tell you about it when that's done).

Sea staff trying to set a good example for the weekend were Wolf, Caz, Tom Kemp, Rosie "Habit" Allen and a guest starring appearance from Chris the engineer from Contact Marine, as bosun.

Since then, John Laing has been at the yachting equivalent of a health farm for a few days, receiving TLC and maintenance - many thanks to Rob Harwood for his efforts.

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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!

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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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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
Many thanks to the Peter Harrison Foundation for the second of two installments of extremely generous support, and to the N Smith Charitable Settlement for a contribution of £550 which arrived this week.

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
Anyone in the London area interested in getting involved with our London Support Group should email Rob Dickinson. It's mainly about getting more young people from London to sail on the boat, and raising a bit of money to help them do so.

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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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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.

We still need help at maintenance days spread throughout the year, and there will be another winter 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