John Laing in the Kiel Canal in 2005 (but it probably looked much the same in 2007!)


OYT South bulletin 29th June 2007

In this Bulletin

Voyage vacancies, bursaries and special offers
There are places still available on a few voyages this year, including a couple of the summer's special voyages. Bursary funding may well 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.

7-20 July: Arhus to Kotka (Finland) £845 - Tall Ships race 1 (minimum age 15) - 3 places left
20-29 July: Kotka to Stockholm (Sweden) £585 - Tall Ships cruise in company (minimum age 15) - 4 places left
4-6 Sept: Southampton £140 (age 12-25 OR adults) - NEW voyage, 12 places available
10-14 Sept: Southampton £275 (age 12-25) - 12 places left
27 Sept - 1 Oct: Southampton £220 - 5 places left.
2-7 October: Southampton £325 (age 12-25) - ASTO Small Ships Race (we need to defend the trophy we won in June!) - 11 places left
8-12 Oct: Southampton £240 (age 12-25) - 11 places left
15-19 Oct: Southampton £250 (age 12-25) - 12 places left
20-24 Oct: Southampton £250 (age 12-25) - 7 places left

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

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

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New voyages available
The two-night taster voyage 4-6 September (only £140) is NEW to our sailing programme as we now have a day sail and a maintenance day in what was originally planned as a four-night voyage. This could now be a voyage for either young people or adults - contact the office a.s.a.p. if you are interested.

And the four-night voyage 27 Sept - 1 Oct (£220) was originally booked by a school group but they have so far only filled seven places and are inviting others to join them. It's a group of boys at the younger end of our age range, but anyone is welcome to sail with them.

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Already booked to sail this summer? Want to earn £££s off your voyage fee?
We really need to fill the last few empty berths on the Tall Ships voyages. If you have already booked to sail on a voyage which is not full (see here for latest vacancies), then you might be able to help us fill the gaps by asking around among friends or at your school / college / youth club / workplace. In order to encourage you to do this, OYT South is prepared to offer £75 off your own voyage fee to anyone already booked to sail, in exchange for every new, additional booking on your voyage from someone you introduce to us. This means that you can make BIG savings by introducing several friends! Call the office 0845 365 6781 if you can find someone else to sail, in order to claim your discount.

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Voyage news
This week's voyage was the one which got us in to the Baltic before the start of the Tall Ships race series. It started in Ipswich last Thursday, and they did a short passage down river to spend the first night in Harwich. Sadly that was the last they saw of the sun before getting to Kiel!

The next day they had a good sail in a decent breeze to Ijmuiden in Holland, and then went on though to Amsterdam. They spent a day there and did various tours of the city. On Sunday they had hoped to get to Enkhuizen, but the forecast wasn't good and they decided to go further and try to stay ahead of the worst of the weather. So they did a passage through the Ijsselmeer and out to the Frisian Islands, ending up in Texel, in a place called Oudeschilde. Here the fishing fleet doesn't believe in fishing on a Sunday; instead they all leave harbour between 10 and 11 pm on Sunday in order to be in position to cast their nets in the first moments of Monday. So John Laing was able to get into the harbour late on Saturday after the fleet had left, and had a hilarious party with some of the locals in the only bar still open.

On leaving Texel, the weather seemed fine until they were briefly caught in an unexpected Force 7 squall. Luckily this was soon over and they had a long downwind sail, gybing between the shipping lanes and the shore, continuing overnight until they reached Cuxhaven. Here they had planned to stay in the outer harbour, but the forecast was for such strong winds that they persuaded the harbourmaster to let them in to the yacht harbour, which normally has an upper limit of 20 tonnes (John Laing is 55 tonnes). With loads of lines out, they were snug and secure as 50-knot plus gusts came through - a good Force 10. Morning Star - another competitor making her way towards Tall Ships - followed them in and then sweetly all came to take photos as John Laing was leaving, still in very strong winds. Luckily skipper Nic Crawford managed the manoeuvre with his usual professionalism.

It was still extremely windy as they made their way up the Elbe and held station by the Brunsbuttel lock, but once locked in to the Kiel Canal it was all fine until Ben's watch were due on deck, when it started raining, as it did virtually every time Ben ventured outside. And don't forget he started the voyage with a day loading food on to the boat in the rain...

They got halfway along the canal and then had a night in Rendsburg, which they enjoyed. Yesterday they finished the canal passage, locked out into Kieler Forde and put the sails up for a last brief sail after two days of motoring, before ending up on a very good berth outside the Kiel Yacht Club hotel. Last night they visited a local Kiel microbrewery, before finishing the voyage this morning. Two people - Sam and Niall - who had sailed in John Laing before got their RYA Competent Crew certificates, and several others got Start Yachting (including Keith who has done a lot of sailing and has higher certificates but wanted a Start Yachting to add to his collection).

Many thanks to sea staff Nic Crawford, Laura, Vikki Maxwell, Mark Boggis, Ben Martin, and big congratulations to Tom de la Haye who passed his second mate's assessment.

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Vessel tracking
If you aren't already a regular user, you might like to look at John Laing's vessel tracking webpage. It normally shows our sailing area in the English Channel, but this week we sailed off the edge of the known world, and we had to change over to the Baltic map. You can zoom in to see more detail of where the boat is; or you can click on the image of the boat and see data on speed, heading etc.

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OYT South membership and sailing donations - changes
The Trustees of OYT South have proposed a series of changes affecting membership and sailing donations, as follows:

a) At present people can join OYT South on any date and get 12 months' membership from that date - meaning that everyone is up for renewal at different times. It would be administratively far simpler, and make it easier to see who is a member and who is not, if everyone's fee came due at the same time. Therefore, from 2008, all membership will be due from 1 January and will last for the calendar year. However, to ease the transition, anyone due to pay after 1 September 2007 can pay at the new rate (see below) and this will be deemed to cover their membership until the end of 2008 - i.e. up to 3 months' free!

b) The current membership donation is £30pa and the sailing donation is £70pa. These figures have remained unchanged for at least seven years. From 1 January 2008 (or 1 September 2007 for those due to pay then), the membership donation will be raised to £36pa.

At the same time, the sailing donation will now have a recommended rate of £100pa and a minimum rate (before concessions - see below) which remains at the present level of £70 per year. It will be entirely up to sailing members which they pay (and they can pay somewhere between the two). The Trust would like to encourage everyone who can afford it to pay at the recommended rate, but where this would be a financial struggle, or for individuals who sail so little that they don't feel they get value for money, the minimum rate remains an option. The choice is entirely your own.

c) Anyone paying for a mate's training or familiarisation voyage can have their membership and sailing donation taken out of the voyage fee. This should attract new members but also encourage existing sea staff to undertake training voyages. NEW members who do training voyages in September and do not have the opportunity for further voyages that season (because of limited availability for assessment berths) will be regarded as paid-up members until the end of the following calendar year.

d) Crew members aged 12-25 will be regarded as paid-up members in the calendar year in which they sail.

e) Paid sea staff will be regarded as paid-up members in the year in which they sail. Unpaid relief skippers may also be regarded as paid-up members, although they will not be discouraged from paying if they choose!

f) Volunteer first mates are expected to pay membership and sailing donations, subject to concessions (below).

g) Membership donation - concessions: youth members (aged under 25) should pay a reduced membership donation of £18 instead of £36.

h) Sailing donation - concessions: OYT South policy states: "OYT South seeks to encourage suitable individuals from a wide range of backgrounds to train, qualify and sail as volunteer sea staff. No-one should be excluded on grounds of cost."

Any individual who would be deterred or prevented from sailing by the cost of even the minimum sailing donation (£70) can apply to the Trust for their sailing donation to be covered in full or in part by bursary funding. It should be possible for any member of sea staff recommended by the staff skipper to have their minimum sailing donation covered if they cannot afford it. No-one should be deterred from applying and there will not be a complex approval procedure.

i) Sea staff aged over 65 or with known medical conditions are already expected to have an ENG1 medical, which costs at least £80 every two years (prices can vary). If required, OYT South can deduct this cost from the sailing donation (e.g. £40 off per year over 2 years for an £80 medical).

j) Non sailing members should continue to pay their membership donation but not the sailing donation.

k) All taxpayers should complete a Gift Aid form regardless of how you pay, as the Government will give OYT South 23p for every £ you donate. A Gift Aid form can be downloaded here.
It is easy to make a payment using any of the following ways:
By credit card over the phone (0845 365 6781)
OYT South website using credit card / PayPal (this is 24/7)
Banker's Order
Even cash (but not sent by post!)

If anyone has questions or concerns about any of the above, please contact me before 1 September so we can look at amending anything which might cause problems.

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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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2008 draft voyage programme 
A draft version of the 2008 voyage programme is now available here. It will give you an idea of what we are planning for next year, but it is not yet set in stone - if your group is hoping for a voyage on specific dates and the draft programme doesn't suit your plans, contact the office NOW and we'll see if it's possible to adjust the programme to create a voyage to suit you.

As of today, the draft programme now includes prices. Many of these are discounted early-booker prices, available for any bookings confirmed with the office by 31st August 2007. Some prices will increase after this date.

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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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Southampton Boat Show
We are still looking for volunteers to help with our stand at the Southampton Boat Show, on any day from Friday 13 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 email Brian Eyres

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Sea staff bookings
Current vacancies (all Southampton-Southampton unless otherwise stated) are:

23-29 Aug, Ipswich to Southampton - possibly need a second mate through I am waiting for confirmation.
30 Aug - 2 Sept: third mate possibly needed - to be confirmed
3 Sept - female second and third mates needed - this a NEW day sail designed as a confidence-building trip for Asian women so we really need mainly female staff.
4-6 Sept - third mate needed
10-14 Sept: second and third mates needed (one of whom must be female)
27 Sept-1 Oct: second mate needed
8-12 Oct: first mate needed
15-19 Oct: first and second mates needed
20-24 Oct: first and second mates needed

Email me if you can help.

Please note that you should have paid your annual membership (£30) and annual sailing donation (£70) before you can book, and you MUST have a CRB check.

And those over 65 or with known health problems 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.

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Training voyages for sea staff and new prospective sea staff
The planned adult training voyage from 3-7 September has been CANCELLED. This is partly because there were very few confirmed bookings, although that probably would have improved over the summer; but also because we were increasingly conscious that these familiarisation voyages are introducing keen new volunteers at such a rate that there was real congestion and long delays in finding assessment berths for them, while newly-qualified third mates often haven't been able to sail as much as they wished because so many 3M berths were being filled with new assessments - which didn't give anyone much chance of getting to 2M level and freeing up space for new people behind them. Therefore we have decided to give ourselves a breather and not look for quite so many new people in September. This will certainly leave better opportunities for new volunteers doing the mates training weekend! There will be a new adult familiarisation voyage early in 2008 (dates tbc).

Instead of the adult voyage, 3-7 September now has a day sail booked on 3 Sept, and a maintenance day on 7 Sept. This leaves the possibility of a 2-night voyage from 4-6 Sept (just £140) which could be taken by either young people or adults - first come first served! Contact the office for details.

The mates' training weekend 7-9 September (£150) has had a large number of provisional enquiries, and I am waiting for places to be confirmed before I know if there are any spare berths left. If you are interested in this voyage, let me know and I will put you on the reserve list.

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Maintenance days - NEW changes
The maintenance day on September 15th has been CANCELLED. There will now be a maintenance day on September 7th instead. Help needed.

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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
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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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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London Support Group
The first meeting of the new OYT South London Support Group will be held on 10th July in a pub or bar somewhere near Waterloo (tbc). Email me if you might be interested in coming along. The aim is to forge links with London-based organisations which might send young people to sail, and try to raise a bit of money to help them do so.

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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
Still 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.

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.

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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