John Laing


OYT South bulletin 12th September 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Sailing opportunity NEXT WEEK
Owing to last-minute cancellations, we now have three places available on next week’s voyage, 15-19 September, starting and finishing in Southampton, age range 12-25. The full price is £275 but if you cannot afford this, please call the office anyway on 0845 365 6781 as it may be possible to arrange a discount for a short-notice booking.

These could be the last places available this year. Anyone else wanting to sail in 2008 will have to go on the short-notice reserve list - well worth doing as it could lead to some cut-price sailing if someone else drops out of a voyage! Contact the office to put your name on this list.

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* David Salmon retirement
As most readers will know, David Salmon is retiring this autumn, having been General Manager of OYT South since March 2000, and previously assistant Fleet Manager of the Ocean Youth Club. His last day in the office will be at the end of September; but we will be arranging an opportunity for people to say thank you, goodbye and best wishes to David around the end of the current sailing season. However, if you would like to contribute to David’s leaving present, please send cheques payable to Ocean Youth Trust South c/o Martin Skipper, 44 Chamberlain Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 9EY.

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* Office emails
There was a problem with the office email system over the last week, which seems now to have been put right. But if you sent anything to the office and haven’t had a reply, it may well be that your email never arrived. Please do send it again, and we apologise for any inconvenience.

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* Refit 2008-9
Plans are now developing for the 2008-9 refit which starts on Monday 3 November 2008 and ends on Friday 20 March 2009.

For background information on OYT South refits, see here.

For specific plans for the 2008-9 refit, including the budget, see here.

As well as major items costing hundred or even thousands of pounds, we also need huge numbers of small refit items, many costing as little as £2 – paintbrushes, tape, gloves, sandpaper and so on. See here for a complete list. Can you donate any of the items on this list? Please think about it NOW – skipper Wolf needs to put in an order before the refit gets underway. Call Wolf on 07771 771864 if you can buy an item from the list; or call the office on 0845 365 6781 with your credit card to make a contribution. If everyone reading this bulletin gives just £5, we can buy the whole list. Please also tell us if you know of any sources for discounted items on the list!

We shall be needing the usual volunteers to help at refit – details will be announced nearer the time for those who want to come for days, weekends or short periods; but if you might be available for a longer period of a few weeks or even months, see here for details on the core refit team, and email me now if you might be interested. We have had some excellent applicants already so don’t leave it too late if you want to be considered.

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* Financial appeal
As you will see from the refit project document, we do need substantial funding this winter. Please help if you possibly can: so many people get such a huge amount out of sailing in John Laing, but it really is a tremendously expensive business keeping her going. If you care about keeping John Laing in good condition to go sailing, please make a donation, however large or small. See here for how to make a donation - you can contribute by cheque, phone or PayPal, but please do something if you possibly can.

Huge thanks this week to Ellen and Andrew Godber for an extremely generous donation.

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* Fundraising sub-committee
We are setting up a small sub-committee to look at ways of raising our fundraising game. If you think you might like to get involved, or just want to know more, please email me now!

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* Sea staff needed this season
A few more sea staff gaps now as people’s plans have changed.

We now urgently need a second or third mate for 27 Sept – 1 Oct.

I am still waiting for a final decision from one person for 12-16 October, which has an impact on other people’s bookings for that and for 17-19 October, but I think I have reserves to ensure these are covered either way; but it is possible that juggling people for these gaps may still leave me with a vacancy for a bosun or a mate for 20-24 Oct.

We definitely need a first mate for 25 Oct to 2 November.

And we definitely need a third or second mate for 30 Oct to 2 November.

Email me if you can help.

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* Trustee(s) needed aged under 25
In recent years, Ocean Youth Trust South has always tried to ensure that at least one member of our Board of Trustees is under 25, in the same age range as the young people who sail on our voyages. The present under-25 Trustee, Phoebe Swatton, now has a job which makes it almost impossible for her to attend meetings, so she has offered to resign and we are now looking for a replacement. (I should also add here: big congratulations to Phoebe for passing her Yachtmaster practical exam this week).

If you are aged under 25, with a track record of involvement with OYT South, would you be interested in helping to run the charity? You will need to be able to attend evening meetings in the Southampton area. Full Board meetings take place four times a year, but there are also management meetings roughly every six weeks, and you would need to be able to attend a reasonable number of these. Email me for more information.

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* Voyage news
Quite a bit to write about as I was on the boat last week and didn’t do a bulletin, so the news starts at the end of August with a school group from Doncaster organised by Sarah “Tee Hee” Tredinnick. Tee Hee started sailing with OYT as a crew member, gradually rose to become a second mate while completing university and a teacher training qualification, and is now in her first job and already organising school groups to come sailing.

They joined John Laing in Lowestoft and started with a big overnight hit across the Thames Estuary and on across the Channel, in light winds with lots of motoring. They went ashore to explore Boulogne and then had a nice sunny sail along the coast to Dieppe and more time ashore there. The next leg took them to Fecamp, where their stay was cut short by an ever-changing weather forecast which eventually prompted them into an early departure before conditions deteriorated. They had a fast and windy sail back across the Channel, with some especially big gusts south of the Isle of Wight, before a late arrival into Haslar marina in Gosport and the final leg home to Ocean Village the next day. All in all it was a very happy and lively voyage, with lots of games played, lots of RYA Start Yachting and Competent Crew certificates earned and everyone keen to come again. They were also hugely looking forward to their school assembly where they could tell everyone else about what they had done. And Tee Hee’s cool quotient has gone through the roof – she’s now probably the most popular teacher at the school. Many thanks to her and to the other sea staff – Nic Crawford, Kerry “Special K” McMillan, Andy Royse and Liz.

All this was followed by a busy and successful maintenance day, despite the rain which severely hampered any outdoor jobs. The engineering team of Chris and Tristan from Contact Marine did great work in the engine room, including replacing one of the engine mounts. Thanks also to everyone else who worked hard on the day: Wolf, Liz, Andy Royse, Ben Winnett, Kai Weeks, Sash Love, Miranda Camping, Special K, James Turner and Caz. It was great to see so many new faces at a maintenance day. We also had a visit from John Chapman of International Paint who came to make a video of our bottom (don’t blame me, that’s how Wolf phrased it) and pronounced himself very pleased with it!

International Paint also provided the crew for the weekend, as some of their Newcastle team came down, arriving a little early in one of the worst rainstorms ever seen in Ocean Village at just the point when the engineers were hard at work, the floorboards had been lifted, and there was nowhere for anyone to sit on board. Fortunately they were very enthusiastic about being offered the option of waiting in the pub until the boat could be made more comfortable for them!

The bad weather continued next day but the sea staff decided to be nice to the crew by putting up a relatively small sail area and ensuring that the sailing was reasonably comfortable. This later turned out perhaps to have been a slightly unnecessary precaution as several of the crew said that the fast sailing in the gusts had been the best bits of the weekend! We went into Shepard’s Wharf in Cowes that night, and had a lively evening ashore, even if the football fans among the crew felt that England really should have scored more than two….

The next day, conditions were considerably better, and the crew were able to show how much they had learned the previous day, with some really effective rope work, sail hoists and steering going on with minimal intervention by the watch leaders. We tacked down the western Solent and then had a good downwind run back up to Southampton Water before motoring the last stretch home.

International Paint are great sponsors of OYT South who are never less than 100% enthusiastic, and we really enjoyed meeting some new people from the company and showing them how much their support means to us. Thanks also to sea staff Wolf, Mattie, Special K, Caz, Amanda Smith and Miranda.

This was followed by a return visit from the home education group who sailed with us in April – some but not all of the same individuals sailing this time. They have been quite unlucky with the weather but have managed to achieve a great deal in spite of the wind and the rain. They went to Cowes on the first night, and then on to Yarmouth the next day. They had hoped to follow this with a sail right round the Isle of Wight, but it was far too windy, so instead they came back through the Solent to Gosport, doing nine knots under just a no. 3 headsail. They spent the next morning in Royal Clarence doing RYA training, rowing the dinghy, and teamwork exercises. A short sail in the afternoon saw them back in Haslar for the night, and they are currently making their way back towards Southampton in the rain.

Despite the weather, they have achieved a tremendous amount this week, with lots of reefing drills and tacking practice and every chance of a number of RYA certificates being earned before the voyage ends tomorrow. And morale has been greatly boosted by the fact that this crew brought with them more cake than has ever been seen on board John Laing before! Many thanks to the cake-filled sea staff: Wolf, Special K, Graeme Cole, Brigid Stoney, Jo Brooks and Miranda.

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* Southampton Boat Show - thanks for offers of help
Thank you to all those people who have volunteered to help on our stand. We now have a good rota of volunteers and we hope you will all have an interesting and enjoyable time at the show. If you had offered to help and haven’t yet heard back from the office, please do drop them a quick email just to make sure your offer of help hasn't slipped through the net.

The Southampton Boat Show runs from 12-21 September – well worth a visit for anyone interested in boats, and a good family day out. If you are visiting the show, do please make sure you go and say hello to the team on the OYT South stand!

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Trinity House Career Development Bursaries for sail training
100% funding available for courses and qualifications ranging from Coastal Skipper to Master 3000tns. You need to be committed to Sail Training and have sailed with an ASTO member organisation (such as OYT South). Interviews to be held on 13th October, in Southampton. Visit ASTO's website or call 02392 503222 for more information.

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Essential information for sea staff - fog navigation and MOB recovery
Skipper Wolf has asked that all sea staff take a look at a recent document produced by the MCA about fog navigation - a really good summary and reminder. You can download a PDF here, or read the same document on the MCA website here.

Also, if you haven't already seen this, 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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2009 bookings - crew aged 12-25
See here for details and prices for 2009 voyages.

Voyages are selling very fast, with OVER HALF of the 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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Adult adventure voyages 2009
As you may have seen, we have been advertising some possibilities for very special adventure voyages for adults in 2009. We have now had a firm reservation for one of these voyages from a full group booking: 28 June to 4 July: Kiel to Gdynia (Poland), so unless any of this group drops out, this voyage is no longer available. However, we had received a number of enquiries from individuals interested in an adult voyage, who were waiting to hear if this group was going to confirm or not. Now that this voyage is full, we are looking at offering the previous voyage to adults as an alternative.

If there is sufficient interest, then 21-28 June, Ipswich to Kiel, will be offered to over-18s - please let us know if you would like to join this voyage. Weather permitting, this could be an excellent trip, with the Dutch inland waterways, or the Dutch and German islands - "Riddle of the Sands" country - all possible destinations along the way, plus a gentle cruise through the Kiel Canal.

While our priority is always to offer sailing to young people aged 12-25, this voyage falls 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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Mates' training 2009
Training voyages for existing sea staff in 2009 will be as follows:

24-26 April 2009 (£150): third mates, less experienced second mates, and bosuns' weekend - 5 places left.
18-20 September 2009 (£150): first mates and more experienced second mates' weekend - 9 places left.

Email me to reserve a place on the appropriate weekend.

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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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Local support groups – new officers needed for Southampton group
The Southampton Support Group has been dormant for a number of years, though it does still have a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer with a bank account. The individuals involved still support OYT South in their own ways and will continue to do so; but it has been decided that new officers should take over the group and any OYT South member interested (and they do not need to live in Southampton) should contact Peter Hughes (chairman) on 023 80842165 or If there is interest in people taking over the group by mid-September, it is proposed an AGM is called in October to formalise the transfers. If there is no interest the group will be formally closed, with the remaining funds transferred to OYT South.
Other OYT South support groups – always looking for new members – are:

London: Rob Dickinson.
Dorset: Dave “Tigger” Heffer
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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Keep in touch with other John Laing people - or make new friends (and talk to plants)
See here for online opportunities to meet other John Laing enthusiasts. Facebook users please note that John Laing’s plant, Wilt, now has a profile in his own right, under the name Wilt Hangs. Add him as a friend if you like talking to plants.

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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