Sections which have changed since last time marked *
* Christmas message from our Chair, Martin Skipper
"Christmas is coming, John Laing is out of the water and the year’s accounts are off with the auditors. It sounds like the perfect time to heave to and chill out. Luckily for the Trust and all those young people who sail with us, everyone will be nose to the grindstone again immediately after the holiday.
To all those people who graft away on the refit, raise money, sell berths or spread the word about OYT South I can only say thank you and that you are my heroes. I’ve only had the chair a few months and I am constantly being amazed at the dedication of our members and staff. We wouldn’t survive as an organisation without people being willing to work all day at their real job, then do another 4 or 5 hours for the Trust; people who work all week then get down and dirty at the refit over the weekend; sponsors who are so supportive that every member of staff knows of us and bends over backwards to help; sea staff who turn up a day early to help with the shopping and chores only to be kept short of sleep, overworked and still be prepared to smile!
I’d also like to thank all those partners and girl/boy friends who find that their loved ones are suddenly whisked away to help us or, worse still, are offered a weekend away only to find themselves sanding and painting dressed in a glamorous coverall!
Every now and then we have to say farewell to someone we have come to love and admire. Unfortunately Laura, our bosun, has decided to move on. I’ll miss finding her clothes in my bag when I get home (no chance of them ever fitting me). Laura, thanks for your dedication, good luck for the future and don’t be a stranger.
The OYT is entering a new period in its evolution. The trustees are discussing the way forward and I promise you will all be kept up to date with news through the newsletter.
To each and every reader and your families - have a very Merry Christmas, a really happy New Year. If you don’t celebrate Christmas - have a Happy Holiday."
* Christmas closing
The office will close at 12 noon on Christmas Eve, and reopens on Wednesday 2nd January. You can send emails or leave phone messages during the closed period and they will be dealt with when staff get back.
* Training weekend supper
As in previous years, we’ll be having an OYT South supper on the Saturday evening of the training weekend (2nd February). Same (affordable) venue as before, in Gosport, though this year not with quite the same extensive menu as it causes excessive complications and delays when there are so many of us. Anyone doing courses that weekend is invited, and others not doing courses are welcome to join us as long as there is space. It would greatly help us if you could start giving us some idea of how many people would like to come - email me please! (Those doing courses - please also email if you are NOT coming, as we’ll end up chasing you if we don’t hear either way).
* Refit news - help needed!
A very busy and productive week at the refit. The tent is secure at last and has a proper wooden door; and Paul Wilshaw from IMS Shrinkwrap (who build the tent) has very kindly donated a genoa and a mizzen staysail from a bigger boat, which can be cut down for us.
Inside the tent, everything has finally been properly organised for the refit, with lighting rigs up and equipment stored where it should be. The starboard water tank has been cleaned and is being finished; the forward crew cabin is clean and ready to paint; the stern platform is ready for its top coat; we have started grinding the water and fuel tank lids; the anchor chain is laid out ready to be marked up; the team is cleaning bolts, cleaning tank lid rubbers and painting the steering gear; the boot top is partially sanded; the rubbing strake is sanded; any rust below the waterline is being ground back; the bosun’s cabin is nearly ready for painting apart from a bit of work left to do in the bilge; the GPS aerial has been fixed.
Thanks to a lot of helpers this week: apart from Wolf, Laura and Paul, we have had John Snowden, Pete French, Andy Haynes, Hampus Magnusson, Lisa Davis, Dave Blogg, Cathy Lacey and team (Richard, John and Steve), John Parkin, Anthony Fawcett and Chris from Contact Marine. (And apologies to Jo Brooks, who got missed off this list last week). Thanks also to several of those on this list plus Rob Harwood for bringing various items of donated equipment.
We could definitely do with a more help this weekend and Monday; and we could manage a few more helpers Tuesday to Friday next week. Accommodation is a bit limited, but we can definitely take local help, and it’s worth calling if you do need to stay in the house, as there are some nights when we might fit you in. Otherwise, we are taking bookings for after the holidays (back on January 3rd). Normally, you can call Wolf on 07771 771864 to book yourself in, but if you want to come over the next few days, you’ll need to call Laura on 07990 518915, as Wolf is having a weekend off. Don’t forget this could be your last chance to spend time on the boat with Laura, so do come and make her last week a good one!
If you have never been to one of our refits before, you can find more information here. 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.
Refit equipment appeal
See here for a list of small, inexpensive items (gloves, binbags, white spirit etc.) which we are hoping people can donate to the refit. Do check with skipper Wolf (07771 771864) before you buy anything, though - it would be a shame if you bought the wrong size or variety, or something which has just been bought by someone else!
The refit is our current fundraising priority, as there is a great deal to do to keep John Laing in good condition. See here for how to make a donation. To see the sorts of things that a small donation (anything from £1 upwards) would buy, see here. For larger donations (up to £50,000!) see here (pdf).
* John Laing on the BBC - next Tuesday
Don’t forget to look out for next Tuesday’s BBC documentary featuring John Laing and crew member Tor Stimson. It’s a hugely inspiring story of a young person who is using a growing interest in sailing to get away from a history of self-harm.
The film is called "Cut Up Kids" and will be shown as part of the "Born Survivors" Season on BBC 3, on 18th December at 10.30pm. I understand the finished version includes quite a lot of John Laing footage. You can see a five minute version of the film here:
There's also a BBC website.
* Bosun update
Staff bosun Laura is leaving us next Saturday - just a week to go! We are collecting for her leaving present. If you would like to contribute something in recognition of all Laura's hard work, the easiest way is to call the office on 0845 365 6781 with a credit card handy; otherwise please send cheques to the office at PO Box 203, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 9AZ.
There is now a new Updates page on this website, so you can see at a glance everything that has recently changed on the site.
Possible Easter holiday vacancies: at least four berths available 11-15 April 2008, and two left for 16-20 April (both £255). There aren't many voyages left for people who can't sail in term time and don't want to do Tall Ships races in the summer, so please look at these dates before it's too late and they all get booked by someone else!
Other good options for those who can manage the dates are both weekend and longer voyages still available in September and October. If you can't find what you want, do please keep checking the voyage programme as new vacancies keep coming up as we adjust the programme to meet clients' needs, or because provisional reservations aren't confirmed.
If you want to book a berth, contact the office as soon as possible.
For additional information about voyages:
Tall Ships 2008: Liverpool - Måløy (Norway) - Bergen (Norway) - Den Helder (Netherlands)
Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential projects
Small Ships race
Special funding for crew members from outside the UK
* Sea staff bookings and assessments 2008
Qualified sea staff: please start emailing me any dates when you would like to sail in 2008 (though I may not confirm bookings for the most popular voyages just yet as those who do most at refit get priority).
If you are hoping to do an assessment (including new potential sea staff who have got a skipper’s recommendation to become a third mate), I would definitely like to get your voyage availability pencilled in early.
* Shorebased training (RYA and other courses) - please book now!
Various courses available on the weekend of 2nd and 3rd February. We have plenty of spaces left for first aid, as well as for food hygiene and sea survival; but the diesel course is already full (I am starting a second list of reserves or in case we get sufficient demand to run the course again on another date) and the GMDSS and Radar courses are down to the last couple of places.
If you haven't already booked your course(s), let me know your preferences a.s.a.p. If you want to change your preference or you no longer wish to do the course I've got you down for, let me know so I can free up your place for someone else.
NB we cannot guarantee to have overnight accommodation available though we will of course help where we can. Priority for staying in the refit house will go to people working on the boat rather than doing courses that weekend. If anyone in the area has a spare bed or sofa and would be willing to offer accommodation to people on training courses, please let me know.
I do have a list of people wanting to do Powerboat Level II, which is a 2-day course, and I'll get back to you all with dates for this as soon as I possibly can. I also have a number of takers for John Snowden's women-only self-defence course and we hope to have a date for this very soon.
25-27 April 2008 (£150) - I have asked the first twelve people who booked to let me know a.s.a.p. whether or not they want to confirm their place, so I can give the people on the reserve list a better idea of where they stand. If you were on this list and haven't replied, please do so as soon as you can!
Otherwise, we have plenty of spaces left for the other two staff training voyages:
29 April - 4 May (£275)
19-21 Sept (£150)
Email me to book on any of these voyages.
Job advertisement: OYT South General Manager
We are now aiming for January to publish the formal advertisement for a General Manager to replace David Salmon when he retires (but possibly to join us several months earlier to undertake specialist project work while becoming thoroughly familiar with the charity).
See here to find out more about plans for this job, and how to make enquiries or an initial expression of interest.
Core refit team - long-term volunteers needed
If you are not working over the winter and might be interested in a full-time role on the refit and the opportunity to learn more about boat maintenance while doing something of real value for the charity, see here for details. Email me to express an interest and for more information.
* Keep in touch with other John Laing people - or make new friends
See here for online opportunities to meet other John Laing enthusiasts. I’m amazed by the variety of people wanting to keep in touch - Facebook, the liveliest of our sites, has brought friends from as far afield as Sweden, Norway, Turkey and New Zealand. And we are finding old friends as well as new ones: this week, Jo Mattock posted photos of sailing in John Laing from Australia to Mauritius in 1996.
* Photos needed
Please keep sending photos from John Laing voyages and the refit, and I'll use the best on this website. This week's web bulletin is illustrated with Will Ramsay's refit photos (you can find more on his Facebook page).
OYT South leaflet
There is a pdf copy of the very popular Southampton Boat Show leaflet on the website, so that you can download and print it, to give out to people or stick on noticeboards, etc. You can get the front and back covers here and the inside spread here.
Local support groups
If you live in any of the following areas and would like to help find local young people to come sailing, and raise a bit of money to help them do so, please get involved with one of our local support groups:
If you live in any other area and would be interested in helping to set up a local support group, please email me and I’ll try to put you in touch with other people in your area.
Passwords to members-only website section
Anyone who hasn't received a password to the members-only section of this website and would like one should email me and I can give access to anyone eligible.
Website - links needed
It’s always good to increase the numbers of people visiting our website – do you have any web page where you could add a link to http://www.oytsouth.org/? And let me know so that we can link back to you!
Survey - tell us what you think
Always looking for more responses to the web-based survey - please have a look!
New readers’ welcome and introduction
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. The newsletter is sent out virtually every week and contains all you need to know about voyages for young people or adults, becoming a volunteer, OYT South events, etc. 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.