Chichester Girls XL group


OYT South bulletin 28th September 2007

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last week marked *

Boat Show – and welcome to new readers
Huge numbers of new readers this week who signed up at the Southampton Boat Show – welcome to you all (and thank you very much to the Boat Show volunteers who did such a good job of enthusing new people).

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.

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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Staff skipper away until November 9th

Our staff skipper, Mark “Wolf” Todd will be away from this weekend until November 9th. He will be giving custody of his work phone 07771 771864 to Caz White, so please feel free to call, especially if it is about something useful like volunteering to help with the refit!

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Full list of current crew (aged 12-25) vacancies for 2007
Last few chances to sail this year!

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.

5-7 Oct: Cowes to Southampton £150 - 1 place left (weekend voyage)
12-14 Oct: Southampton £120 - 1 place left (weekend voyage)
15-19 Oct: Southampton £250 – at least 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 5-7), 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.

It might be worth clarifying the way voyages are listed on this programme. Voyages may show the number of berths left – 12 if the whole boat is still available, or a smaller number if some but not all places have already been taken. Where a voyage is marked “reserved”, it means someone has made a firm commitment to book the whole boat, and we are no longer advertising places on that voyage. But a trip marked “enquiry” means that someone is considering the possibility of booking the whole boat, but has yet to make a firm commitment. If you want that particular voyage, feel free to ask about it: we’ll then go back to the original enquirer and ask them to make a firm decision or else to free up the voyage for you.

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 (RYA and other courses) - NEW date
We are in the process of 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 (dates to be confirmed unless otherwise stated):

First aid (regular updates required - check when your certificate goes out of date)
Sea survival – date now confirmed: Saturday 2nd February
Food hygiene
Powerboat Level II

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Sea staff training (on board John Laing)
We have already had a full boat’s worth of twelve enquiries for places on the mates’ training weekend voyage, 25-27 April 2008 (£150), but I will put additional names on the waiting list for the weekend as it’s unlikely all twelve people will definitely confirm their bookings.

There are still plenty of places on the longer adult training voyage: 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! 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. 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.

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 (great news – it looks as though we have secured the same refit house as last year). 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.

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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.

Previous core team volunteers who have used our refit as a stepping stone to work in sailing 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 annual supper – thanks and congratulations
Many thanks to all those who attended the OYT South annual supper at Chichester Yacht Club, and special thanks to the West Sussex support group for organising the event, and thanks also to Merfyn Owen and to staff skipper Wolf, the guest speakers. The final total raised was £3,638.71 – a fantastic effort all round.

For those of you who missed the dinner, Merf Owen’s involvement comes about as we start looking at the long-term future for Ocean Youth Trust South. Merf is an internationally-renowned yacht designer (see here) and a former Ocean Youth Club skipper, and he is working with us as we start to think about options for the long-term replacement of John Laing.

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Financial appeal
Huge thanks to a number of donors this week: Mike Heffer, brother of watch leader Dave “Tigger” Heffer, organised an event for us which raised £1,130. The TMI/Curatus Trust has given £5,000 to be divided between the core costs of the dinner, a number of bursaries, and the refit fund. John Trembath gave £500; and Bob Trimble notified us of a donation on the way from his company.

The current fundraising priority is to build the refit fund for this winter, as there is a great deal to do to keep John Laing in good condition. See here for how to make a donation.

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Voyage news
An eventful time since the last newsletter, starting with two day sails. The first was a day in memory of our watch leader, Trustee and friend Trevor Hewson, who sadly died earlier this year. For this day sail, we took a number of Trevor’s family and friends out for a calm, sunny day in the Solent so they could see at first hand the boat which meant so much to Trevor. The day brought back lots of good memories of sailing with him over the years, and it all felt like a fitting tribute to one of OYT South’s most loyal supporters.

The second day sail was a marketing day for a selection of new prospective clients and supporters. We enjoyed the company of people from a number of local businesses plus a selection of people who might send young people to sail with us next year. This included a couple of families whose children are being home-educated – young people who might have a great deal to gain from sailing with us, and perhaps might help fill a few hard-to-sell term-time berths! Another likely future client is the Portsmouth music service, with whom we are working on a really exciting new project for next year. We hope that they will provide twelve young people who will be trained to sing sea shanties by Pat Sheridan, the shanty singer we met at the Tall Ships festival in Poland; they will then complete a voyage in John Laing, and perform their shanties at a festival at the end of their voyage. Also on this day sail were Annette and Mike Dymond (who does our annual coding inspection which allows us to operate as a sail training vessel), and Merf Owen, who spent the day making copious notes about John Laing’s good and bad points.

Thanks to sea staff who helped with these day sails: Wolf, Caz, Andy Viney, Rosie “Habit” Allen, Sarah “Tee Hee” Tredinnick, Chris from Contact Marine, and Nic Crawford.

After that came another voyage for Drinda’s group of girls from Chichester XL Club. Around half of them had sailed with us before, and they were all very keen to get sailing. At their own request, we started the voyage with a long and challenging overnight passage from Southampton to an anchorage in Portland, which proved quite testing as it was windy and cold. In Portland we met up with Queen Galadriel, now skippered by our old friend and occasional relief skipper Dougie Walker. We arranged to go into Weymouth together, a popular move amongst our crew as QG had boys on board!

After a night in Weymouth we had an excellent sail round to Poole next day: it was definitely breezy and the seas were quite big, but many of the crew were beginning to get used to things and found it much more enjoyable and exhilarating than the earlier night passage.

Sadly the wind and seas kept rising and it soon became clear that a passage back to Southampton could only be unpleasant and uncomfortable for everyone. Fortunately everyone was happy with the idea of moving the next crew changeover from Southampton to Poole. This gave Drinda’s group a spare day in Poole, which we filled with a series of very entertaining games – including a walk through the town centre with everyone harnessed together; and a blindfold tour of the boat with everyone clipped to a line wound round, under and through obstacles on board. In the evening, the Crème Caramel game and the chocolate game also proved popular. All in all, we ended the voyage on a high note, with all the girls who had sailed before achieving their RYA Start Yachting certificates.

Sea staff on the voyage were Wolf, Caz, John Snowden, a guest appearance from relief bosun Liz Key (maker of exceptional strawberry cheesecake) and special congratulations to Penny Sykes, who did a great third mate’s assessment and will be an excellent addition to the team when she can be spared from her job flying helicopters!

The next crew, who kindly agreed to join the boat in Poole rather than Southampton, was another group of siblings from CHASE children’s hospice, one of our regular clients and always an excellent voyage with a highly deserving bunch of young people. They had a difficult trip with unfriendly weather, but managed to make the most of it. They started by sailing from Poole to East Cowes, and then did a day sail down to Yarmouth, picking up a buoy and making trips ashore, before returning to West Cowes for a windy, bouncy night alongside. Back in East Cowes, they met Queen Galadriel again, and teams from both boats took their respective dinghies to explore up the river Medina before returning for another round of games. Next day they sailed out to the forts off Portsmouth, gybing all the way and tacking all the way back, enjoying some big squalls in which the boat heeled over and everyone got rather wet – luckily, everyone found this exciting! The voyage ended on Wednesday in Ocean Village. Another really nice group of young people with very good group leaders.

Thanks very much to sea staff Wolf, John Parkin, Rob Dickinson, Dave Blogg and Laura.

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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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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:

London: Rob Dickinson.
Dorset: Martin Skipper.
West Sussex: Chris Lane.
Isle of Wight: Marion Heming.

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.

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