Mates training weekend (photos: Eddie Harper)


OYT South bulletin 14th April 2007

In this Bulletin

Last-minute vacancy, adult voyage
Two spaces on an adult voyage starting next Tuesday, 17th April and ending Sun 22 April. Starting and finishing Southampton; itinerary depending on weather and crew. Cost £275. Open to anyone aged 16+, particularly suitable for someone interested in becoming sea staff, but anyone welcome! Call the office (0845 365 6781) to book. It’s an adult voyage so a CRB check is not required.

Back to index

Maintenance day 16 April
There is a maintenance day on board John Laing next Monday 16th April, in Southampton. Call Wolf on 07771 771864 if you could help to do a few jobs on board.

Back to index

Missing oars and boathook
Did someone take a long boathook and a pair of oars away to varnish during the refit? They never came back - please check whether you have them tucked away in a shed or garage! Call Wolf on 07771 771864 if you find them.

Back to index

Voyage news
Two voyages since the last bulletin. The Easter voyage was for a mixed group of nine people who helped to fill a voyage which became vacant at short notice (as advertised in previous issues of this newsletter). A few of them knew each other, and three had sailed with us before.

Despite light winds for most of the time, and a fair proportion of motoring, this group took on an adventurous itinerary, sailing overnight to Alderney on the first night. They stayed there for a few hours before moving on to Guernsey, where they had a quick run ashore and time for showers. Then they went on to Cherbourg where they stayed for a night before coming back across the Channel on the Monday - unfortunately in foggy conditions. The last night was spent in East Cowes before ending in Southampton on Tuesday - where all who didn't already have them were awarded RYA Start Yachting certificates. Thanks very much to the sea staff: relief skipper Steve Furniss; Laura; Graeme Cole; Alex "Leek" Evans; and special congratulations to Phil Whiffing, who completed his assessment to become the first new third mate of the 2007 season.

The current voyage comes from various Senior Section groups of Girl Guides in Shropshire, organised by third mate Dawn Marshall. This is proving an excellent crew of girls aged 15-17, all of whom had had to raise money individually for the voyage, which proves their commitment and enthusiasm.

They went down to Yarmouth on the first day and picked up a buoy outside. Up at 6am the following day, they had a cracking broad reach to Worbarrow Bay, where they anchored close to the beach and had some time ashore. The plan for the evening was to have a BBQ on the boat. However, although the boat has a BBQ, it had no fuel. Fortunately this is no problem for Girl Guides, who were able to scavenge for wood ashore.

Later that evening they moved on to Weymouth, where the berth reserved for John Laing was so small that the ensign had to be removed in order for the boat to fit! In Weymouth they met Julia Davies, an OYT South mate who is currently involved with a University Royal Navy Unit and was on board one of their vessels.

John Laing spent the morning in Weymouth and had time for shore leave and some RYA training. Then they had an excellent beat to Poole, reaching 10 knots and with lots of tacking. And today they are heading back to Ocean Village in not much wind.

Thanks to sea staff Wolf, John Parkin, Mike Makepeace, John Snowden, Dawn Marshall and Julian Jansen van Rensburg, who is currently working towards his third mate's assessment while labouring under the nickname "Slartibartfast" (a Douglas Adams reference, for those who don’t recognise the name...)

Back to index

Email responses etc.
For the last year or so, being self-employed, I have been able to spend a lot of time each week working for OYT South. However, from now until early May I am doing some intensive work for another organisation, so please bear with me if it takes longer than usual to deal with emails and queries - there's quite a backlog but I will reply as soon as I can! If you need quick answers, please contact the office.

Back to index

Passwords to members-only website section
I'm making progress with restoring password access to the members' only section of this website and will shortly be sending an email to sea staff booked to sail this year to let them know it's all working again. If you won't be on this list but would like access, just let me know. (As some of you know, password access to the members' only section of the website was lost when we had server problems last month. This means that I need to re-enter every username and password separately, and, because of my work situation, it will take some time to complete the job).

Back to index

Financial appeal and thanks
Many thanks to the Tall Ships Youth Trust International Fund for a grant of £4,614 towards bursaries - please see the section below (“Want to sail but can’t afford it?”) to find out whether you might be eligible for a bursary this year to help towards the cost of a voyage.

Current fundraising priorities are to start now on 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; and to build this year's bursary fund, in order to open more of our voyages to disadvantaged and deserving young people. See here for how to make a donation.

Back to index

Volunteer press officers wanted
Hardly any responses yet to this request - please help if you can!

We are keen to get more coverage in local papers for this sailing season, to encourage more crew bookings and donations, and I am looking for someone, or perhaps a team of people, to help with some basic media work.

The idea is that for each voyage, we identify the local paper for the crew's home area, for a group voyage, or pick one or two crew members if it was an individual voyage. I can provide an outline press release with spaces to fill in specific details each week. The volunteers' job will be to get permission from parents/group leaders as needed; fill in the gaps in the outline press release with details of the voyage and quotes from the participants; get a copy of a photo which should have been taken during the voyage; email the text and photo to the relevant newsdesk; and collect a copy of any resulting article for our records. Ideally any press release should go out within a few days of the end of the voyage.

A small team of volunteers would be ideal so that someone takes responsibility for each separate voyage. Good written English essential. Email me if you are interested.

Back to index

Voyages available for people aged 12-25 (*15 to 25 on some restricted voyages)
We really need people to fill a number of voyages this year:

21-25 May: Southampton to Torquay £250
27 May - 1 June: Torquay to Guernsey £350 (ASTO Small Ships race) - halft term!
2-7 June: Guernsey to Poole £290
12-18 June: Southampton to Ipswich £350
21-29 June: Ipswich to Kiel (Germany) £480 (Baltic Challenge)
30 June - 7 July: Kiel to Arhus (Denmark) £420* (Baltic Challenge)
7-20 July: Arhus to Kotka (Finland) £845* (Tall Ships race)
20-29 July: Kotka to Stockholm (Sweden) £585* (Tall Ships cruise in company)
9-16 Aug: Szczecin (Poland) to Kiel £505 (Baltic Challenge)
10-14 Sept: Southampton £275
2-7 Oct: Southampton £325 (ASTO Small Ships race)
8-12 Oct: Southampton £240
15-19 Oct: Southampton £250
20-24 Oct: Southampton £250

See here for more information:
UK and south coast voyages
Small Ships races (summer half term, or October)
Baltic challenge voyages (July/July, or August)
Tall Ships races (July / August) 
Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential projects

Please book now, or send the links to your friends!

For the full voyage programme, including latest figures on the number of berths available, see here.

We really need some help in filling the empty voyages - please use all your contacts and think whether you know anyone, groups or individuals, who might like to sail.If we get no bookings from young people (aged 12-25) for any particular voyage, we may offer it adult groups; but please note that our published voyage prices are subsidised for young people. Adult voyage prices can be negotiated with the office but are likely to be higher. 

Anyone interested in any voyage, please contact the office.

Back to index

Want to sail but can't afford it?
We now have a reasonable amount of bursary funding available to help individuals or groups who would like to sail but cannot afford the full prices.

Applications for bursary funding can be emailed to me and should include the following information:

  • Name, age and full contact details for applicant(s)
  • Details of availability for any of the vacant voyages listed above (there may be more chance of getting a bursary if you are available for a choice of voyages, rather than applying for just one)
  • How much money you are applying for, and how you plan to raise the rest of the funds, including travel costs to and from the boat (the majority of bursaries awarded are likely to be for 50% or less of the voyage fee; a smaller number may be for more than that, but only in very exceptional circumstances will OYT South award a full bursary).
  • A short statement about why you want to sail, what you want to achieve by doing a voyage, and why you would like to be considered for bursary funding.
  • Contact details for an adult (not a family member) who will support your application (e.g. a teacher, youth worker etc.)

We have a variety of general bursaries available for a broad range of people aged 12-25, but specific funding priorities include:

* Young people from disadvantaged and deserving backgrounds
* Young people who genuinely cannot afford to sail
* Young people who can only afford short local voyages but with financial support would be able to take part in longer, more adventurous voyages
* People who have been recommended as future sea staff (bosuns and watchleaders) who need to sail again in order to gain experience
* People who have sailed with us before and demonstrated that they are enthusiastic, hard-working individuals who will have a positive impact on any voyage
* Non-UK citizens: we some bursary funding restricted to people from outside the UK. We are particularly keen this year to include people from Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Poland and Germany on Tall Ships and Baltic Challenge voyages, though people of other nationalities are also welcome to apply.

If you are unsure whether you might qualify for a bursary, please ask!

If you need further help to raise your voyage fees, one option might be the Malcolm Chick Charity. You will see that anyone applying will need a supporting letter from OYT South - just email me a copy of the rest of your application, or send me a brief explanation of why you want to sail, why you are applying for a grant, and which voyage you hope to do, and I'll do the supporting letter if appropriate. Don't leave it to the last minute, in case I'm away sailing just when you need your letter!

Another option might be the Battisborough Charitable Trust. Applications can be made by individuals (not groups) from Devon and Cornwall only, to: Sonia Donovan, 57 Green Park Road, Plymstock, PL9 9HU. You will need to write a letter explaining a bit about yourself, why you want to sail and why you need help with funding. The Trust looks most favourably on people who have succeeded in raising some of the funds themselves, so you should write about what else you are doing towards paying the voyage fee - they will not normally cover 100% of your costs. And you should enclose a stamped, addressed envelope so they can reply to you.

Back to index

Voyage posters
Now 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!

Back to index

Sea staff bookings
Vacancies for qualified sea staff currently include:

JL07-15, 18-20 May. First mate needed to sail with St Gabriel's School group - please help - it's only a weekend voyage; surely someone can do it!
JL07-16, 21-25 May. Second mate needed.
JL07-20, 8-11 June. Second or third mate possibly needed (tbc) to sail with Teenage Cancer Trust.
JL07-21, 12-18 June. Second mate possibly needed for Southampton to Ipswich voyage.
JL07-23, 21-29 June. Third mate needed for Ipswich to Kiel voyage (depending on whether or not we can use this voyage for an assessment).

There are still some spaces later in the season, but I want to get these filled as soon as I can. Email me if you can help!

Please note that you should have paid your annual membership (£30) and annual sailing fee (£70) before you can book.

And those over 65 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.

Back to index

Training voyages for sea staff and new prospective sea staff
There are one or two spaces on the adult training voyage 17-22 April (£275) - contact the office to book. This is the ideal trip for people new to OYT South who want to see how we run our voyages and get used to the boat before committing to training as a watch leader.

After that, there are two adult training voyages in September:

3-7 Sept (£275) - 12 places
7-9 Sept (£150) - 7 places

Prices INCLUDE your £30 annual membership and £70 mates sailing fee - which means that any other voyages you do in 2007 would be free! Email me to book.

Please note that as these voyages are for adults only, you cannot do your watch leader assessment on them - to be assessed, we have to see how you deal with leading and teaching young people. The adult training voyages are designed to give you a chance to get used to things before you take on the responsibility of trying to teach others.

New sea staff and those doing assessments this year MUST have completed an application form and a Criminal Records Bureau background check before you can sail with young people (adult voyages are fine) - details here. But please note that filling in your application form and getting your CRB check done just puts you on the list of people eligible for voyages - you MUST contact me about dates if you want to sail this year.

Back to index

Food hygiene course results
I’ve just heard from the instructor that all those who did the Food Hygiene course at our training day in February have passed (the papers had to be sent off to be marked and this takes several weeks) You will be receiving your certificates shortly - congratulations!

Back to index

Ocean Theory course
Yvonne Taylor has space on an RYA Ocean Theory course from 23-27 April at KTY Yachts. Cost £150. Call Yvonne if you are interested - 07785 335189. If you ever wanted to know how to find your position at sea from the sun or plan an ocean passage, this is a fascinating course which I can strongly recommend.

Back to index

Official Favourite Canadians update
Anyone who met our Canadian crew members in 2005 may well remember their theme song about their home country. At last we have a version of Rocks and Trees available for you to listen to. Enjoy! (2009 update - apologies, this has now been deleted)

Back to index

Small boat sailing
OYT South mate Dave Blogg has emailed to ask if anyone can help save a sailing trip in the Channel Islands which has been put in jeopardy by two people pulling out after a yacht had been booked, deposits paid and transport booked by the remaining crew members. Two berths available on a 44 ft yacht from Friday 29th June to Friday 6th July inclusive, joining the yacht in St Peter Port and cruising the Channel Islands before returning to St Peter Port. Cost £300 (excluding food, marina fees, diesel and travel to Guernsey). If you are interested please contact David Blogg before April 30th on 01453 544862 or email N. B. At least one person must have an RYA Coastal Skipper practical qualification. Small boat sailing experience is always important for OYT South sea staff who want to make progress and build qualifications so I hope someone will be able to help Dave!

Back to index

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!

Back to index

Oysterband Big Session Festival - and new album!
Last year, an OYT South group had a great time at this music festival, and several people are planning to go again this year - it's held in Leicester on June 15-17. Details here

Otherwise, anyone who has enjoyed hearing Oysterband music on board might like to know that the new album "Meet You There" is out on April 23rd. I’ve heard it and can strongly recommend it.

Back to index

Photos needed
Please keep sending photos from John Laing voyages or the refit, and I'll use the best on the website. Thanks to Eddie Harper for some good pics of the mates' training weekend.

Back to index

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

Back to index

Can you help track down this person?
Some time within the last year or two, second mate Trevor Hewson spoke to someone on board John Laing - possibly the father of another member of sea staff? - who worked for some time for an air products manufacturing company from Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire. Trevor is very keen to track this person down again - please email me if you know who he is! We’ve had one or two contacts from the area but haven’t yet found the right person.

Back to index

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 around 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.

Back to index

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