Website and members-only section
The problems of recent weeks with the website have almost all been solved - many thanks to Andy Miles! The one remaining glitch is that I need to re-enter the usernames and passwords for everyone who had access to the members-only section of the site, and it will take me a little while to do that. I'll let you know when it's all fully restored.
Crew aged 12-25 needed urgently
A client originally booked the whole boat for 6-10 April but can now only fill a small proportion of the berths so we have several still available. We don't want to cancel the voyage - not least because there are sea staff booked, including an assessment - so PLEASE help us fill the places. It's during the Easter holidays so there must be a few people who would love to come sailing. The voyage was originally advertised at £250 per person but we are now offering it for just £160. Please tell all your friends and do your best to make sure this voyage goes ahead. Contact the office to book.
Sea staff needed urgently
I still need an experienced third mate for 30 April to 3 May; and I might well need a third mate for 4-7 May (this one is a Bank Holiday weekend so might suit someone who has struggled to get time off work for sailing) - email me if you can help (second mates obviously welcome as an alternative). Neither of these voyages is suitable for an assessment so these places are only open to qualified, assessed OYT South watch leaders.
See below for other sea staff vacancies which are not quite so soon or so urgent!
Refit 2006-7: The End!
It may be hard to believe after months of looking like a building site, but John Laing is sailing again! We had an incredibly busy time after the launch, getting yet more gear back on board, touching up the paint, cleaning and tidying everywhere, servicing winches and dealing with all sorts of jobs from the heating system to the heads. Huge thanks to Wolf, Laura, Chris from Contact Marine, Andy Royse, John Snowden, Cathy Lacey, Eddie Harper, Anthony Fawcett, Bob Trimble, Mark Boggis, Rob Harwood, Caz, Phoebe, Phil Runchman, Stuart "ace woodworker" Raynsford, Andrew Viney and Di Roberts.
On Wednesday last week we did the compass swing - including a detailed explanation from an expert of anything you ever wanted to know about the earth's magnetism. Finally on Thursday we were ready for the coding inspection, without which we cannot operate as a sail training vessel. To get to this point we worked some incredibly long hours and were extremely grateful that Bursledon has a 24-hour Tesco as we were twice in there buying our dinner after midnight. It all seemed worthwhile as the coding inspector was happy with everything, remarking that we had had no defects in our inspection for three years in a row, which is rare in his experience.
According to these newsletters, it looks as though we may have had over 90 volunteers working on the refit this winter, which would be a record. Many thanks to everyone involved - you should all feel extremely proud to have achieved so much and got the boat in good condition to face the 2007 season.
Ideally at this point we would all have gone away and collapsed for a week, but instead we had to move everything out of the refit house and clean it from top to bottom, a full day's work for the core team plus Andrew and Di. By the time that was all over we probably needed to collapse for two weeks, but instead joined the boat that evening for a shakedown voyage.
A good team of people got through a great deal of work during the shakedown: Wolf, Laura, Chris, John Parkin, Mark Boggis, Andrew Viney, Caz, Trevor Hewson, Tim Deverson, Nic Crawford, Emma and Clara, Rob Harwood, Tom de la Haye and Di Roberts. Tim and Nic tuned the rig and everyone else did assorted jobs. As a shakedown voyage we certainly got properly shaken, with Force 9 winds providing a thorough test of everything on deck. But we got to Cowes for a convivial St Patrick's evening, and then back to Ocean Village on Sunday.
A small team stayed on to do a few more jobs on Monday, but after that everyone took a few days off apart from Rob Harwood, who valiantly offered to stay on and keep working while the others had a break.
The first proper voyage of the season starts this weekend with crew from Devon and Cornwall Foyer, a charity for homeless young people.
A lot of refit bills are due in the next few weeks, so if you haven't already made a contribution to the refit appeal, it's not too late - we really need your support now! See here for how to make a donation.
Volunteer press officers wanted
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 couple of 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.
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!
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!
Voyages still available
We really need people to fill some of the following voyages:
Early season and Easter holidays:
24-29 March: Southampton £310
2-5 April: Southampton £190 – just one place left
6-10 April: Southampton £160 – special offer price!
It is possible that there may be bursaries available to part-fund places on any of these voyages, so if you would like to come but can't afford the full price, contact the office for details.
Other standard UK voyages with spaces:
21-25 May: Southampton to Torquay £250
2-7 June: Guernsey to Poole £290
12 - 18 June: Southampton to Ipswich £350
10-14 Sept: Southampton £275
8-12 Oct: Southampton £240
15-19 Oct: Southampton £250
20-24 Oct: Southampton £250
See here for more information about UK and south coast voyages.
And for information on special event voyages - lots of places left on some really exciting voyages:
Small Ships races (summer half term, or October).
"Baltic and back" voyages (July/July, or August).
Tall Ships races (July / August).
For Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential projects, see here.
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.
We have been offered a donation of £250 towards a voyage for someone from the Suffolk area who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford to sail. If this could be you, or someone you know, please email me as soon as possible - I need to know a bit about the applicant's background and why they might be a deserving case for this funding, plus contact details for a teacher, youth worker or other responsible adult who would be prepared to support the application.
I understand that the applications deadline has passed for the Lewis Winstock Trust, which I have been recommending as a possible source of grants towards sailing fees; but another 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.
After that, vacancies for qualified sea staff include:
JL07-15, 18-20 May. First mate needed to sail with St Gabriel's School group.
JL07-16, 21-25 May. Second mate needed.
JL07-18, 27 May - 1 June. Third mate possibly needed for ASTO Small Ships Race, Torquay to Guernsey
JL07-20, 8-11 June. Second or third mate needed to sail with Teenage Cancer Trust.
JL07-21, 12-18 June. Second mate needed for Southampton to Ipswich voyage.
JL07-23, 21-29 June. Third mate needed for Ipswich to Kiel voyage.
There are still some spaces later in the season, but I want to get the early ones 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.
Training voyages for sea staff and new prospective sea staff
We filled the one space advertised in the last bulletin for the March mates' training weekend (30 March 8pm to 1 April 4pm, £150) but since then, someone else has dropped out, so we still have a place left – open to anyone over 16 who is a member of our sea staff or interested in getting involved. Phone me (07986 354697) or the office (0845 365 6781) to book – I may not see emails in time.
There are one or two spaces on the adult training voyage 17-22 April (£275) - email me 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.
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 www.oytsouth.org? And let me know so that we can link back to you!
Oysterband Big Session Festival
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.
Survey - tell us what you think
Still looking for more responses to the web-based survey - please have a look!
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.