Cold enough for hats to be essential...


OYT South bulletin 3rd November 2007

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

End of 2007 sailing season

The 2007 sailing season is now over – thank you to all those involved in making it such a success! The next stage is the four-month winter refit (see below), and the new sailing season will start on March 24th 2008.

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2008 bookings - URGENT, please read!

To our delighted amazement, berths on John Laing's 2008 sailing programme have been selling at an incredible rate, with many repeat bookings and a large number of new clients already filling whole voyages. This is great news for the organisation but of course we are aware that lots of you (especially individual rather than group bookings) may be used to not having to think about when you want to sail until much nearer the time. PLEASE don't leave it too late - we don't want to find that old friends and keen crew members are missing out! If you want to sail in 2008, at least take a look at the programme now and if things are getting booked up at the time of year you'd like to sail, make a reservation as soon as you can. We can also think about setting up reserve lists in case anyone drops out of booked voyages. If you want to book a berth, contact the office as soon as possible.

For additional information about voyages:

UK-based voyages
Tall Ships 2008: Liverpool - Måløy (Norway) - Bergen (Norway) - Den Helder (Netherlands)
Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential projects
Bursary funding
Small Ships race
Special funding for crew members from outside the UK

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General Manager retirement

Our General Manager, David Salmon, who has been with us since before OYT South was founded, will be retiring in November 2008. We therefore have a year in which to find a way in which to fill the enormous gap that he will leave in terms of both expertise and commitment.

The Board of OYT South is considering the possibility of appointing someone from around the start of the 2008 sailing season. This gives us the opportunity for a long handover, allowing the new person to become thoroughly familiar with the organisation before taking over as General Manager when David leaves; but also giving us a significant period with an extra member of shorebased staff at a senior level, who can undertake project work in important areas we don’t currently have the resources to cover.

If you think you might have the drive, vision and experience to take a leading role in an exciting period of change and growth for the organisation, and ultimately to take over management of OYT South’s shorebased operations, please call the chairman, Martin Skipper, on 01305 761993 for an informal chat.

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Staff skipper away until November 9th

Our staff skipper, Mark "Wolf" Todd will be away until November 9th. He has given 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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Refit 2007-8

The refit has begun! We already have a team hard at work getting all the moveable gear off the boat and moving things into the shed or the refit house – thanks to Laura, John Snowden, Julian “Dings” Watkins, Matt Bushby, Matt Bland and Phoebe.

We have a good number of people booked in to help over the next three weeks, and we are now looking for volunteers to come along to help in Hamble on dates from November 24th onwards. Keep calling Laura on 07990 518915 if you can help, or call Caz (or Wolf when he gets back) on 07771 771864.

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.

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Core refit team - long-term volunteers needed

The first of this winter’s full-time refit volunteers, Paul “Cakes” Barber, starts work on Monday. Paul sailed with us as a crew member a few years ago and has been in relevant work and training ever since, including spending the last season as a dinghy instructor. We are very much looking forward to welcoming him to the team.

We have had quite a bit of interest in the remaining core team volunteer post and will be meeting applicants or getting more information about them over the next few weeks (once the skipper is back!) – but it is not too late to put your name forward if you would like to be considered as well.

The idea is that 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 need a couple of full-time volunteers to provide a core team and some continuity: ideally to do the whole refit from the time of their appointment up to March 23rd 2008 - or at least to help full-time for several weeks or months 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.

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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Financial appeal
Enormous thanks this week to the Charles Dunstone Charitable Trust, who have made a grant of £10,000 towards this winter’s refit.

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.

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Volunteer sea staff training ashore (RYA and other courses) – please book NOW

We can now confirm that we will be arranging a full weekend of training courses on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday 2nd and 3rd February. To have two full days of training is a change from previous years, when we have had training on Saturday and the AGM on Sunday. Most courses will be held in Gosport, except for Sea Survival which will be nearer Southampton with access to a swimming pool.

Possible courses for this weekend are:

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

All of these are full-day courses.

The next step is to work out which courses to offer on the Saturday and which on the Sunday, so I need to know the level of demand - whether all courses have enough applicants to be worth running, and how to allocate dates so the maximum number of people get to do the courses they want.

Can you let me know a.s.a.p. the course(s) you want to do, in order of priority; and whether you could come for both days or just one (in which case, Saturday or Sunday preferred?) NB we cannot guarantee to have overnight accommodation available though we will of course help where we can. It will really help if you could let me know as soon as possible.

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.

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Voyage news

Three voyages to report on this time – sorry, I’ve been sailing and couldn’t do a newsletter last week.

At the time of the last bulletin, John Laing had made an unusual excursion to the east, calling at Dover and Brighton with a crew of young people who were mainly from Hampshire. They had some good times on the return trip, with some excellent news on the staffing side too, as Geoff Eddy successfully completed his second mate’s assessment. Congratulations to him and thanks also to the other sea staff, Dave Carnson, Matt Bland, John Snowden, David d'Costa and Laura.

This was followed by a mixed voyage including a new group from Nuneaton plus some individual bookings - including some familiar faces and old friends who have sailed with us on many previous occasions. The voyage took them to Haslar, Poole and Weymouth and, judging by some extremely positive comments in the visitors’ book, was much enjoyed by many of the crew members. The other great success of the trip was that not one but two new members of sea staff passed their third mate assessments: many congratulations to Lisa Davis from Raymarine, and to Eddie Harper. Thanks also to the other sea staff: skipper Dave Carnson, plus Martin Skipper, John Snowden and relief bosun Tristan Caudrey (lent to us by Contact Marine, Tristan is worth his weight in gold at this time of year for his ability to fix the ship’s heating system….in fact, he might even be worth his boss’s weight in gold (slightly more!).

The final voyage of the season was a repeat visit from a regular client, Community Links, a charity based in Barking, east London. The group comprised a mix of young people from a special needs project and an education programme organised by the charity, with three group leaders. We went down to Cowes on the first night and then had an extremely fast sail to Poole and a chance to spend some time ashore. It was fantastic to watch how the crew members with learning difficulties really grew in confidence as the voyage went on – notably, smiling through a patch of pretty rough seas as we re-entered the Needles Channel on our way back up to Yarmouth the next day. The final port of call for the voyage was Gosport. After saying goodbye to the crew, the sea staff had a fantastic sunny sail back home to Ocean Village where the 2007 season ended on Tuesday – with news of yet another successful sea staff assessment, as Pete French was upgraded to second mate. Thanks to Pete and the rest of the sea staff: Dave Carnson, Caz, Hugh Myers, Rosie “Habit” Allen and Tristan.

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Office move

OYT South is now happily installed in new office premises in Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport, not far from the ASTO office. Contact details remain the same: PO Box 203, Gosport, Hampshire, PO12 9AZ, tel 0845 365 6781, fax 0845 365 6782, email

Huge thanks to David, Sally and Brian Eyres who worked extremely hard to make the move go as smoothly as possible.

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OYT South AGM 2008

Now that we are no longer linking the OYT South AGM to the February training weekend, I can give advance notice of the AGM date: Friday 4th April, 7 for 7.30pm, a short meeting to be followed by a glass of wine in the new office!

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People News

Well done to Matt Bland, who passed his Yachtmaster Offshore practical exam last weekend. As he failed to mention that he is an officer in the merchant navy, his examiner is probably still reeling from one of the most exhaustive displays of knowledge of the International Rules for the Prevention of Collision at Sea ever shown in an RYA exam (Matt, I really don’t think they needed you to tell them things like the prescribed dimensions and angles of a motoring cone).

Well done also to Di Roberts who has successfully completed her RYA Day Skipper practical.

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Volunteer s
ea staff training (on board John Laing)
2008 training voyages for sea staff and new potential sea staff:

25-27 April 2008 (£150) - potentially full but we are taking names for a reserve list
29 April - 4 May (£275)
19-21 Sept (£150)
6-10 October (£275).

For 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 voyages 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. 

Email me to book on any of these voyages.

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OYT South leaflet

The publicity leaflet produced for this year’s Southampton Boat Show proved so popular that we ran out by the end of the show. However, Dave “Tigger” Heffer, who produced the leaflet, has kindly allowed us to have a copy on the website, so that you can download and print it, to give out to people or stick on noticeboards etc. It is designed to be double-sided and folded, and you can get the front and back covers here and the inside spread here.

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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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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.

To help with the annual refit, or with maintenance days spread throughout the year, 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