John Laing enjoying some of this fine summer weather!


OYT South bulletin 11th July 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

Thanks to volunteers
Two major projects since the last bulletin which could not have been achieved without a lot of hard work – many thanks to everyone who came along. We successfully moved all our spare gear out of the Gosport Sea Cadet building (many thanks to them for the use of this storage space over many years) and into the new container at the Riverside Boatyard, thanks to Wolf, Caz, Mattie, Annie Holt, Di Roberts and Martin Skipper.

Later we had two days in Gosport to prepare for the Tall Ships series, as we’ll be away from our home base for almost two months. We cleaned the whole boat, loaded huge amounts of non-perishable stores, and did a lot of essential maintenance. Many thanks to Wolf, Liz, Chris and Tristan from Contact Marine, Chris Robinson, Caz, Ben Gillett, Kerrin Koetsier, Lucy Jack, Colin Robertson, Heidi Frith, Emma Burrows, Mark Boggis, Annie Holt and Jordan Saunders.

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* MOB Dacon recovery – essential reading for all sea staff
John Laing now has a Dacon recovery system as one of the options available for the skipper to use to recover a man overboard. A document describing how to rig and use the Dacon, with photographs showing an exercise on board John Laing, is in the members-only section of this website. This is essential reading for all sea staff as you need to know how this system works before the next time you sail. If you have forgotten your password to the members-only section, please email me now!

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* 2008 berths – book now or miss out till next year!
Amazingly, we have now either sold or had firm enquiries for virtually every single place available on board John Laing for the rest of this year. We had 492 berths to fill at the start of the year, and as things stand the only berths not confirmed are one place for 8-13 September (£315) and four places for 15-19 September (£275) – and we have had enquiries for all these places, so if you want to sail this year you need to ring the office NOW on 0845 365 6781. Once those places are gone, we can keep a reserve list in case anyone drops out – email me if you are available at short notice, and make sure we have all your contact details. Sometimes we have only an hour or two to fill a spare space if a crew member falls ill on the day they were due to join, and if you are easy to contact you might get that place.

Otherwise, it’s time to start thinking about 2009 bookings!

It’s worth pointing out the current level of bookings is way beyond anything we might have dreamed of a few years ago. It used to be common in July for us to have almost half the autumn programme still to sell. Nowadays our bookings are underpinned by a very strong level of repeat bookings from highly satisfied clients, plus a regular stream of new bookings – many of them based on personal recommendations. It is a real tribute to everyone involved with OYT South that our voyages are proving so popular – thank you to everyone involved! Now it only remains to do it all over again for 2009.

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* 2009 bookings
See here for details and prices for 2009 voyages.

Voyages are selling very fast, with around a third of places gone already, and if you want to sail in school holidays (outside the Baltic Tall Ships period in the summer) or at weekends, you really need to look at the programme NOW! There are still hundreds of term time places and plenty of Baltic places available - do talk to us about your requirements. Contact the office.

See here for details of Tall Ships 2009 (Poland, Russia, Finland and Lithuania in July and August), or one of the fantastic Baltic Adventure voyages before and after the festivals.
Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential projects
Bursary funding
Special funding for crew members from outside the UK.

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* Voyage news
The last bulletin ended with the third of four voyages from Toynbee Hall, Tower Hamlets. This was immediately followed by their fourth and last group of the year. They sailed down to Yarmouth on the first day, where they took shelter from strong winds. Next day, conditions were better and they made an early start in order to head to Weymouth, where they had time ashore and a great evening of football and other games on the beach. Next day they went to an anchorage for lunch before a cracking sail up to Poole. On the last full day they sailed to Cowes, where all the crew completed their RYA Start Yachting qualifications, before the run up to Ocean Village on the final morning. Everyone said this was a great crew with a fantastic atmosphere on board, and it was really good to end the sequence of Toynbee Hall voyages on such a high note. Many thanks to the sea staff: skipper Craig Burton, plus Liz, John Parkin, John Snowden, Lisa Davis, Ben Gillett, and Anna Chesterman who took a spare crew berth but is working her way up to a third mate’s assessment.

The next trip was designed to take us to meet Lively Lady, the boat in which Sir Alec Rose completed his single-handed circumnavigation forty years ago. She has been doing a second voyage round the world, this time with a crew of two adults and two young people for each leg, and John Laing was asked to take some of the young crew from previous legs to welcome her home. It had been hoped that the two vessels could meet in Alderney and sail back together, but with strong south westerly winds, we had no chance of getting to Alderney before it would be time to turn round and come back. So the crew opted for a night in Cowes followed by a 6am start in the hope of picking her up somewhere in the Channel. Sadly, once out of phone range, we were unable to make contact with Lively Lady on the VHF, so although we had a great sail we never managed to track her down, and our first sight of her was on a mooring on the south east of the Isle of Wight. John Laing went back for another night in Cowes and then joined the flotilla escorting Lively Lady into Portsmouth on Saturday morning, with cheering crowds waiting for us in Gunwharf. The highlight of the trip for us was meeting the young ex-Lively Lady crew members, a fantastic bunch of highly-motivated young people who were great to sail with and who would all be welcome back on board John Laing at any time. Thanks to sea staff Wolf, Liz, Caz, Mark Boggis, Ben Gillett, and Steve from the Lively Lady project.

A quick move to Royal Clarence that night (and a very welcoming marina it is too, with dockmaster James and his partner doing all they could to help us before eventually joining us for dinner), and then the two days’ preparation for Tall Ships discussed above.

This week has seen an epic voyage to Falmouth with a crew of young carers from Hertfordshire plus a few individual bookings. Months ago, when booking a voyage in July, everyone will have imagined sunny sailing, beach BBQs, icecreams and suncream. The reality was rather different: constant strong winds from exactly the wrong direction, plus a lot of rain. Huge credit should be given to this crew for battling through and coping with conditions that most adults would have found challenging. They even managed to keep their morale up, though I don’t know that everyone would agree that singing along and dancing to AC/DC is an ideal morale-boost! At one stage this voyage was scheduled to end in Penzance, but given the conditions, we reverted to Plan A and made it Falmouth instead. They got in at lunchtime today, with 24 hours to go till the end of the voyage – time for showers, sleep, trips ashore and hopefully a really good fun last evening together. Thanks to sea staff Wolf, Mattie, Liz, Colin Robertson, Emma Burrows and Di Roberts.

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* People news
Huge congratulations to Phoebe for achieving a first in her archaeology degree! Congratulations / commiserations / best wishes (delete as appropriate) to anyone else who has just received exam results, or is waiting for them at the moment….

Congratulations also to Ben Martin, who has just returned from Canada having had a fantastic time through the ASTO (Association of Sea Training Organisations) exchange scheme, for which he was nominated by OYT South. He says he’s had some great sailing and loved the experience on a totally different type of boat. He also sailed with Stephanie Murphy, one of the Canadians who came to sail in John Laing a couple of years ago. Ben has promised to write an account of his trip for our website as soon as he has a chance, but he has to sail at Cork Week and then do Tall Ships Race 1 first….

Finally, congratulations to second mate Sarah “Tee Hee” Tredinnick, in her first year as a qualified teacher, who has just been promoted to lead learner for Key Stage 3 – i.e. a management role making decisions and setting priorities for years 7, 8 and 9. Her head teacher says this is the first time she has ever promoted anyone after only 8 months in the job. Tee Hee is bringing a group from the school to sail in John Laing at the end of this summer, and two more groups next year.

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* Wolf’s Ocean Village swipe card
Next time skipper Wolf asks me to put anguished appeals in a series of bulletins for the return of his Ocean Village swipe card which he thinks some member of sea staff has walked off with, I shall get him to check the pockets in his other trousers first.

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* Volunteer watch leader vacancies – please help!
Sea staff vacancies (qualified sea staff only) are as follows:

8-13 September, Southampton - second mate.
15-19 September, Southampton - first mate.
22-26 September, Southampton - first mate.
27 Sept - 1 Oct, Southampton - first mate.
12-16 Oct - first and second mate (tbc) needed, and experienced third mate as reserve (provisional 3M booking won't be sure of her availability till after the start of the autumn university term).
17-19 Oct - second (tbc) and third mates.
20-24 Oct - second mate (tbc).
25-29 Oct - second mate (tbc).
30 Oct-2 Nov - second mate (tbc).

Places marked tbc are where provisional bookings have yet to be confirmed, and also where we need to keep options open, to get the right balance of sea staff for different voyages or crews with special needs, and to make sure there is a balance of male and female sea staff for mixed crews – or to make sure that a range of sea staff get a chance to sail rather than allocating all the voyages to one person with extensive availability, so I can't always confirm bookings straight away; but I would like to know a.s.a.p. who might be available. Let me know if you want to sail and could help fill any of the listed vacancies if needed.

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Advance notice – job vacancy for junior skipper / staff first mate
Because of the increased workload for our staff skipper as the New Boat Project progresses, and in order to add continuity during both the refit and the sailing season, OYT South intends to recruit a junior skipper at the end of the current season. This person will work under the direction of staff skipper Mark “Wolf” Todd, helping to manage the refit, skippering John Laing as needed but also sailing as first mate or in other roles as required, and assisting the charity in other ways – for example, pre-voyage preparation with clients.

The post might be an ideal step for someone relatively new to skippering a sail training vessel, and may be a suitable for a newly-qualified skipper or an experienced first mate who is ready to make the step up. It might also suit someone moving up from smaller boats.

For more information and an informal chat, please call Wolf on 07771 771864. A formal job advertisement will be published nearer the time.

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Southampton Boat Show - volunteers needed in September
The 2008 Southampton Boat Show runs from 12-21 September, and OYT South will once again have a stand – which means we need lots of volunteers to staff it! We want a good team of people every day to help enthuse potential clients, crew, parents, volunteers and sponsors. Young people welcome as well as adult volunteers. You’ll get time to look round the rest of the show and dream about the yacht you’ll buy when you win the lottery….

Please contact the office and let them know the date(s) you might be available to help.

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Mates training 2009
As recently announced, we are changing the way we use mates' training weekends in 2009, in order to offer more training to current sea staff. Voyages in 2009 will be as follows:

24-26 April 2009 (£150): third mates, less experienced second mates, and bosuns’ weekend – 6 places left.
18-20 September 2009 (£150): first mates and more experienced second mates’ weekend – 10 places left.

Email me to reserve a place on the appropriate weekend.

The September 2008 mates training weekend (19-21 September) will not be affected by these changes and will go ahead exactly as planned. It is potentially fully-booked but I am still taking names for a reserve list in case anyone drops out.

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2009 familiarisation voyage for new volunteers

19-24 April 2009 (£300): five day voyage for new prospective volunteers.

With only 12 places now available for new people, we will offer berths to those who seem to have the most potential to contribute to OYT South's work - good youth work skills or other relevant experience, as well as sailing skills, and / or a willingness to be involved in vessel maintenance or other activities, and enough free time to be effective volunteers. We would still like to encourage anyone interested to apply for this voyage, but we won't make firm bookings until early next year - which gives interested volunteers a chance to meet us, come to refit etc., before we allocate places.

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Adult adventure voyage 2009
Normally we only have the chance to offer occasional local voyages to adults, but in 2009 we plan to offer one very special adventure voyage to adults:

28 June to 4 July: Kiel to Gdynia (Poland) - a beautiful Baltic cruise, ending at the fantastic Gdynia Tall Ships festival.

Open to anyone aged over 18, this will be a truly special voyage and a rare chance for adults to take John Laing further afield and experience the excitement of a Tall Ships festival port, before handing over to a young race crew.

If there is sufficient demand from adults, we would also consider offering the previous voyage to adults (21-28 June, Ipswich to Kiel).

Please contact the office a.s.a.p. if you might be interested.

While our priority is always to offer sailing to young people aged 12-25, both these voyages fall during school term time and would generally be hard to sell to school-age crews; but a confirmed booking from a young group, if available, would take priority. Crew members of college or university age would of course be eligible to sail whether these become youth or adult voyages (and would be eligible for the Standard Crew price which applies to anyone aged 25 or under. The subsidy involved in this is not available to over-25s, who will be asked to pay rather more – please contact the office for details).

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Financial appeal
We have three current fundraising priorities: bursary funding to help young people who could not otherwise afford to sail; the New Boat Project; and we'll need to start fundraising for refit 2008-9! See here  for how to make a donation.

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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: Dave “Tigger” Heffer – just moving to Dorset and swiftly “volunteered” to take over the group!
West Sussex: Chris Lane.
Isle of Wight: Marion Heming.

Andy Brown and David Shannon are making progress with plans for a Plymouth / SW support group: between them they have significant experience, but both work away from home quite a bit and are now looking for someone else, who may be around a bit more, to help them pull things together. If others in the area would like to get involved, email Andy
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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Core refit team - long-term volunteers needed
One of the key factors in the 2007-8 refit was the presence of volunteers who were able to give us several weeks or months - in one case, almost the whole refit - providing vital continuity and developing experience on board. We shall be recruiting at least two full-time volunteers for the next refit, November 2008 to March 2009, so if you are considering a gap year or career break, why not think about joining the team next year?

See here for details. Email me to express an interest and for more information.

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Keep in touch with other John Laing people - or make new friends
See here for online opportunities to meet other John Laing enthusiasts.

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OYT South leaflet

There is a pdf copy of the very popular Southampton Boat Show leaflet on the website, so that you can download and print it, to give out to people or stick on noticeboards, etc. You can get the front and back covers here and the inside spread here.  

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Website updates
There is an Updates page on this website, so you can see at a glance everything that has recently changed on the site.

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Passwords to members-only website section

Anyone who hasn't received a password to the members-only section of this website and would like one should email me and I can give access to anyone eligible.

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Website - links needed
It’s always good to increase the numbers of people visiting our website – do you have any web page where you could add a link to And let me know so that we can link back to you!

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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