John Laing in the June ASTO race - hope she'll still be in front during the Tall Ships race! (photo:www.tallshipstock.com)

Newsletter

OYT South bulletin 6th July 2007


In this Bulletin


Voyage vacancies and bursaries
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 (Denmark) 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) - 2 places left
4-6 Sept: Southampton £140 (age 12-25 OR adults) - 12 places available – ideal 2-night taster voyage.
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 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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Voyage news
John Laing has just completed a voyage up the Danish coast to get to Arhus for the first of the Tall Ships festivals. The first leg took her from Kiel to Sonderborg, which was notable for thousands of jellyfish – bosun Laura was picking bucketloads of them out of the filters. The next day’s passage, from Sonderborg to Lamborg Fjord, provided the only sunny day of the trip – Denmark, like the UK, is enduring a singularly soggy summer. Lamborg turned out to be a really attractive anchorage; and this was followed by a passage the following day to Kolby Kas, a highly picturesque little place with one bar and one shop.

Unfortunately the forecast now turned even worse, with northerly winds Force 9 and 10 predicted. The only solution was to get to Arhus as quickly as possible, which they did, giving all the crew a chance of enjoying the festival for a few days. Huge numbers of people have been visiting the fleet in harbour, and there has evidently been a lively atmosphere, including a crew party which saw everyone dancing in torrential rain.

The crew for this voyage was very mixed, with a couple of trainee watchleaders, two Latvians, two young staff members from one of our sponsors, International Paint, plus three others. All those who didn’t already have it passed their RYA Start Yachting certificates, despite the fact that their tacking practice had to be carried out in 30 knots of wind!

Thanks to the sea staff: Wolf, Laura, Martin Skipper and trainees Ewan and Keith, but above all congratulations to Matt Bland who successfully passed his first mate’s assessment. This is a real achievement as a first mate has to be able to run a voyage and take charge if anything happens to the skipper. Matt’s experience as a merchant navy officer has made him a thoroughly reliable watch leader and it is great to have another first mate on the books. At the age of 25, Matt is much the youngest of our current group of active first mates, so expect to see him around for a good long time!

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Vessel tracking and race tracking
If you aren't already a regular user, you might like to look at John Laing's vessel tracking page on this website. It normally shows our sailing area in the English Channel, but for the next couple of months has been changed 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.

During the Tall Ships races, you can also use Sail Training International’s fleet tracking system to see where John Laing is in relation to the rest of the fleet. John Laing races in Class C but don’t forget that even within a class the vessels differ enormously – some are much faster and others much slower. Sadly John Laing’s handicap isn’t as helpful as we would like; but I’m sure all our race crews will be doing their utmost!

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Southampton Mela Festival
Despite torrential rain, we had a good day last Saturday with our stand at the Asian Mela Festival in Southampton. With all sorts of Asian food and music plus a wide variety of performances and stalls it was a lively day and quite well attended. A huge shame for the organisers that the weather was so appalling; but everyone seemed to be having a good time nonetheless. We spoke to lots of people and attracted significant interest in OYT South, from other stallholders as well as visitors to the festival. One highlight was meeting two young Asian men in their 20s who remembered sailing with us nine years ago and said it was still one of the best things they had ever done!

A big welcome to all new readers who gave us their email addresses on the day and we very hope you will want to get involved and come sailing with us.

Thanks to all those who helped on the stand: Dave Salmon, Di Roberts, Steve and Cathy Lacey, Stuart Raynsford, Pete Seely and Caz.

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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!

For those who haven’t yet tried either site, or those who only know MySpace – my impression is that Facebook is developing into a livelier site, with lots more happening there – at least for OYT South purposes.

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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 on 0845 365 6781 and we'll see if it's possible to adjust the programme to create a voyage to suit you.

Many costs listed here 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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Office FREEPOST address
Following an analysis of the effectiveness of OYT South’s FREEPOST address, it has become clear that its use does not justify the cost of maintaining it. Please note therefore that it is being discontinued – all mail should now be sent to the usual office address: PO Box 203, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 9AZ.

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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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Great photos from ASTO Small Ships race
If you haven’t seen them, there are great photos of John Laing in the ASTO Small Ships race (in which we were first over the line and first in class) on the ASTO website.

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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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OYT South Annual Supper
The OYT South West Sussex support group has kindly offered once again to organise our annual supper party for OYT South supporters. It will take place on Friday 14th September at 7.30pm in Chichester Yacht Club, Birdham, at a cost of £35 per head. There will be guest speakers, a balloon raffle and an auction – please put this date in your diary and tell all your friends! Contact Chris Lane for tickets. And please also contact Chris if you can donate raffle or auction prizes.

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

30 Aug - 2 Sept: third mate possibly needed - to be confirmed
4-6 Sept - third mate needed if voyage is booked
10-14 Sept: third mate possibly needed – to be confirmed
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! 

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) already has several names on the reserve list, so it is very unlikely that there will be any more spaces.

The next mates’ training weekend will be from 25-27 April 2008. There will also be a longer adult familiarisation voyage in first half of the 2008 season – we have three possible dates for it in April, May or June but we are waiting for a few more group bookings from young people and we will settle on adult voyage dates when we know which voyage isn’t needed by a group.

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Maintenance days

The maintenance day on September 15th has been CANCELLED. There will now be a maintenance day on September 7th instead. Help needed – call Wolf on 07771 771864 a few days in advance if you can come along.

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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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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 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:
 
Cheque
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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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 the Archduke wine bar near Waterloo. 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 http://www.oytsouth.org/? 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

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