Coming out of the water


OYT South bulletin 14th November 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* 2008 season - a few facts
Now that the 2008 sailing season is over, here are a few facts you might like to know:

  • We succeeded in selling over 98% of berths this season. With a few last-minute drop outs, actual berth occupancy was a little lower, but still well over 90%. According to ASTO (the Association of Sea Training Organisations) the average berth occupancy across UK sail training is only something like 70%.
  • All crew members aged 12-25 had a basic subsidy of 50% of the true cost of running their voyage, paid for through our fundraising, with the support of generous donors.
  • 145 crew members, identified as exceptionally deserving or disadvantaged, received additional bursary funding, to a total of over £16,000, thanks to the support of a number of major donors.
  • 275 people earned recognised RYA qualifications on board this year: 239 Start Yachting certificates, and 36 Competent Crew certificates. Apart from those whose voyages were too short to complete a qualification, one of the most common reasons for people not getting a certificate was that they had already earned it on a previous voyage with us.
  • 65 people sailed as sea staff this year. Eight were paid professional staff, but 57 volunteers between them gave 811 days to sail on our voyages this year.
  • Thirteen volunteers completed sea staff assessments this year: 8 to second mate, and 5 to third mate. Several others made good progress towards assessments which should be completed next season.

    Back to index

* Refit news
Week 2 of 18.

On Monday the team moved the boat round from Ocean Village to Hamble, after an anxious wait for a break in the weather. Tuesday was much sunnier and the masts came out with no trouble. Lifting the boat herself on Wednesday produced some real drama, as a traffic accident was blocking the road into Hamble and it began to look as though skipper Wolf wouldn’t be able to reach the boat in time to drive her into the cradle – a very tricky manoeuvre in a confined space. As far as I can tell, he got to Netley and jogged the rest of the way, breaking the qualifying time for the UK cross country squad and putting himself into contention for the 2012 Olympics.

Wolf has now gone off to the Sail Training International conference, but the rest of the team has been hard at work in his absence, moving kit off the boat, dropping the anchors, and doing lots of taping and sheeting to protect the interior, as well as digging a hole ready for the rudder drop. Many thanks to everyone who has been helping this week: Wolf, Liz, Tom, Matt, Ben, Zoe, Bridget, Phoebe, James Turner, Robin Holland and John Snowden. Also thanks to the International Paint team who came down on Wednesday to see how their products had been holding up during a long hard season – they seemed very pleased with the results!

This weekend is an engineering weekend on board, when we don’t need volunteers other than those who have specifically booked to help with the rudder drop and other work.

The scaffolding should go up on Monday, with the tent some time after that. If the weather is fine, Liz hopes to have a team sanding the antifouling next week; and they will also be prepping the interior for painting and varnishing.

We are getting good numbers of volunteers, and there are already some dates when we have as many people as we can manage. Many thanks to all those who have already booked themselves in. However, we definitely still need people for the following volunteer weekends:

22-23 November
13-14 December
17-18 January
14-15 February

Please call Liz as soon as possible on 07990 518915 if you can help on any of these weekends, especially the first one.

We also need plenty of weekday volunteers – not so many in the next couple of weeks, but lots more as the refit goes on. If you are available to help on weekdays, you may be able to stay in the refit house – it is already filling up at certain times, but there are still plenty of dates when it will be possible to book yourself in. We also welcome anyone who doesn't need accommodation.

We hope to see all sea staff between now and March 20th, plus anyone new who would like to join our volunteer sea staff next year (it's the best way to meet us, and new volunteers who come to refit get priority when we allocate scarce training berths), as well as any others who want to support the charity. Skilled or unskilled - we have a huge variety of jobs.

The last working day before Christmas will be 23rd December, and the first day back will be 5th January.

If you are aged 16 or 17, especially if you have been recommended for bosun training next year, you need the skipper's permission to come to refit on a date when we have someone available to supervise you - please ask! I'm afraid that for safety and insurance reasons, we can't have under-16s working at the refit.

Please ring Liz on 07990 518915 to book yourself in or discuss dates.

We look forward to seeing you!

For background information on OYT South refits, see here. .

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

As well as major items costing hundreds 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? Skipper Wolf has already ordered the first batch of refit equipment, but call him 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!

Back to index

* Shorebased training weekend 2009 - dates confirmed - more bookings needed
The 2009 OYT South training weekend will be held on the 7th and 8th February, in the Gosport Sea Cadet Unit (except for the Sea Survival course, which is at KTY Yachts in Universal Marina).

For more details on course content, see here. All courses depend on us filling enough places before we can guarantee to run them, but the provisional programme is as follows:

Saturday 7th AND Sunday 8th: ISAF two-day Sea Survival course (£150). Instructor Yvonne Taylor. This covers the basic sea survival course on the Saturday, which can be done on its own (see below) if you want to do something else on Sunday. The Sunday part of this course also includes the one-day RYA first aid course, among other things, although we are also offering this as a separate course (see below). Lots of places left.

Saturday 7th: 3 options for one-day courses.
a) One-day sea survival (£75). Instructor Yvonne Taylor. This course includes the use of flares and a practice session with a liferaft in a swimming pool. Recommended for all sea staff at all levels. Lots of places left.

b) GMDSS / VHF radio (£50 + £22 exam fee). Instructor Mark "Wolf" Todd. The updated radio licence. Recommended for third mates, required for second mates and above. 6 places left. Definitely need more people to be sure we can run this course.

c) Diesel engine (£70). Instructor Jason. Recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above. It looks as thought the Saturday course is full, but it’s being repeated on the Sunday. I’m just organising a few swaps so those who want can do diesel plus the second course of their choice on the other day.

Sunday 8th: 4 options for one-day courses.
a) Radar (£60). Instructor John. Recommended for first and second mates, required for skippers. At least 3 places left.

b) Food hygiene (£45). Instructor Madge Middleton. Required for all sea staff. 4 places left.

c) First aid (£45). Instructor Tony Salmon. Recommended for ALL sea staff, required for second mates and above, compulsory updates every 3 years - check when your certificate goes out of date. 4 places left.

d) Diesel engine (£70). Instructor Jason. Recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above. 2 places left.

Email me to book any of these courses.

As in previous years, lunches will be provided at the sea cadet unit for a small cost (those doing sea survival will have other arrangements); and we'll aim to organise a big social evening and a meal in Gosport on the Saturday.

We’ve had an offer of accommodation from a local supporter – let me know if you need somewhere to stay. If anyone else living locally could offer a bed or a sofa, please let me know.

Dave "Tigger" Heffer is also planning to run a 2-day Powerboat Level II course sometime over the winter, though not on the same weekend as the other courses - let me know if you might be interested.

All these courses are open to anyone, although if courses are over-subscribed, priority is given to active OYT South members and those planning to join our sea staff.

I'll start asking for payment only once all details are confirmed and I'm certain we have enough people to guarantee that your course will run.

Back to index

* 2009 bookings - crew aged 12-25 - NEW availability
More places now available! A few berths have now opened up on voyages in May, August and September. We also have a small number of berths still available during the Easter holidays; plenty on Tall Ships in the summer (see below); the ASTO race in October; and much more besides. See here for details of currently available voyages. Please note that many of these voyages have no more than two or three berths left.

See here for the full 2009 voyage programme.

Voyages are selling very fast, with bookings or enquiries for almost 80% of the places already. If you haven't booked, you really need to look at the programme NOW. We really are set to be fully-booked before too long, so don’t miss your chance. Contact the office if you want to reserve a place.

If you can't find what you want now, do please keep checking back on the list - additional voyages may become available if provisional reservations aren't confirmed.

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.

Back to index

* Tall Ships 2009
Places are selling well for the most adventurous voyages on our 2009 programme - the Tall Ships race series in the Baltic. These voyages see John Laing cruising with or competing against other sail training vessels crewed by young people from all over the world - from the huge square riggers down to the smallest yachts, half the size of John Laing. Every port has fantastic maritime festivals, and the whole thing is truly the experience of a lifetime. John Laing is entitled to carry up to four 15-year olds on these voyages; all other crew members must be aged 16-25.

The 2009 voyages are:

Race 1: 4-13 July, Gdynia (Poland) to St Petersburg (Russia), 9 nights, £650 plus travel.
Cruise in company: 13-25 July, St Petersburg (Russia) to Turku (Finland), 12 nights, £865 plus travel.
Race 2: 25 July - 2 August, Turku (Finland) to Klaipeda (Lithuania), 8 nights, £575 plus travel.

Although not strictly part of the Tall Ships series, we do have four berths available for the next voyage: 2-9 Aug, Klaipeda to Kiel, £490, crew aged 15-25 - a great chance to see the Klaipeda festival and take part in the parade of sail as the fleet leaves.

Gdynia should be a superb festival, if our experience in nearby Szczecin two years ago is anything to go by. St Petersburg is a spectacular, not-to-be-missed destination, and the cruise in company takes us through one of the most beautiful sailing areas John Laing has ever seen, with time to explore before the Turku festival. The Lithuanian city of Klaipeda is an historic Baltic trading post with a fascinating culture and history, surrounded by beautiful Baltic beaches.

John Laing spends three days in each of the host ports, enough time for both the outgoing and incoming crew to enjoy the festival, see the city and join parties and other activities with all the other vessels' crews.

For more information, see here. And contact the office to reserve a place.

Back to index

* Chris Ellis award - win ££s towards sailing next year! TWO weeks to deadline
If you have enjoyed a voyage this year, are aged under 25 and would like to sail again in 2009, don't forget the Chris Ellis award. Chris was one of the founders of the OYC in 1960 and he left a fund to be used to reward crew members for a piece of work based on any OYT voyage. This can be a logbook, a diary, a picture, a story, computer art or whatever. OYT South can award up to £200 a year (to one entrant, or split between two or three individuals) in the form of a discount for a future voyage. Entries need to be in by the end of November - either emailed to me, or by post to the office, marked "Chris Ellis award entry".

Back to index

* Financial appeal
Many thanks this week to our Isle of Wight Support Group for £300 towards equipment for the boat.

Thanks also to the Peter Dixon Charitable Trust for the first instalment of bursary funding towards the Peter Dixon Mohawk Voyage Programme 2009.

We are still some way short of the final total we need to raise in order to complete all the refit work planned 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.

We also have several groups and individuals still needing additional funding in order to be able to take part in a voyage in 2009. If you would like to help some specific young people to pay for their voyages – perhaps children with physical and learning difficulties, or homeless teenagers, or young people growing up amidst poverty and even violence, or brothers and sisters of children being cared for by a children’s hospice, please email me to discuss it. We also want to open up the most exciting voyages of 2009 - the Tall Ships series - to young people from a wide range of backgrounds, including some of those who cannot afford the full price.

See here for how to make a donation - you can contribute by cheque, phone or PayPal, but please do something if you possibly can. Don’t forget that if you complete and return a Gift Aid form (pdf) we can claim back tax on your donation.

Back to index

* Anyone know any Freemasons?
The Freemasons have a major programme of charitable giving, and I’d like to do a funding application to them, but it could help enormously to have the support of some active Freemasons. If anyone would be able to help me, please email me!

Back to index

Corporate, teambuilding or client day sails - ora great day out for any group of adults!
Do you, or does anyone you know, work for a company which does team-building, client days, staff activity away days or anything similar? Do you do golf days, go paintballing, take clients to the races? In most cases, the money your company pays for these days simply helps the organisation running the event. But if you do your corporate day with OYT South, the money goes directly towards providing voyages for disadvantaged children.

These day sails are also available for any group of adults - a club, or just a bunch of friends. However, it is up to you to put a group together - we are not looking for individual bookings for these day sails.

The next day sails are Tuesday 28 April and/or Wednesday 29 April 2009, starting and finishing in Ocean Village, Southampton. Prices depend on what sort of package you want (a glass of champagne when you arrive on board, or a cup of tea?) but as a guide price, £150 per person or £1,800 for full group of 12. If someone wants to take both days and stay on board overnight, that can also be negotiated. Email me for more information.

Back to index

Want to become a new volunteer watch leader in 2009?

If you would like to join our volunteer team for 2009, then we really want to meet you over the winter. Please do come to refit , and book yourself in for courses at our training weekend (first aid, sea survival, food hygiene and the GMDSS radio course are the ones to consider if you don’t have these certificates already).

If you have already been recommended to become a new member of John Laing's volunteer watch leading team (i.e. if you have had a recommendation from an adult voyage, or you are a crew member aged 18+ who sailed this year and was invited to train as sea staff), it would be helpful if you could confirm with me if you would definitely like to be considered for assessment in 2009, and if possible give me some idea of your likely availability. This doesn't need to be in detail, but it's good to know the difference between those who are potentially available at any time, versus those who are restricted to college holidays, for example. I won't allocate places for a while (those who come and help at refit take priority) but it is helpful to have an idea of the level of demand. We generally have more people recommended to join the sea staff than there are places, so the people who stay in touch, email me, attend events etc., will generally be ahead of those who wait for us to chase you!

16 and 17 year olds who have been recommended as future relief bosuns should certainly think about coming to refit for a few days.

The next training voyage for new prospective volunteers is 19-24 April 2009 (£300, including your annual membership and sailing donation). There are only 12 places available, and 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. You can provisionally put your name on the list for this voyage now, 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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

Everyclick – please sign up!
The easiest way to fundraise - if only on a small scale! Everyclick is a search engine which you use just like Google, but which gives half its advertising revenue to charities chosen by users. Every time you do an internet search you can watch the total funds raised creeping up. Just go to; click on "search the web"; then click on "start fundraising". You will have to register, and set "Ocean Youth Trust South" as your chosen charity.

Back to index

Raise money while shopping online
There is a new website,, which links to over 1,000 retailers (including most of the big High Street names) - if you shop online here, the retailers pay a commission, which is split 50:50 between funditfrog and the good cause of your choice. Ocean Youth Trust South is now on the searchable list of good causes. I haven't tried it yet so I'm not officially endorsing it, but a lot of big-name charities are on the list. If you want to try it out, do let me know how it goes. Thanks to Neil Fairbrother for drawing my attention to it.

Back to index

Funding source for registered charities booking groups to sail with us
Registered charities who are organising groups of young people to sail with us next year, or who would be interested in doing so, might like to know that the Four Acre Trust have said that they are happy for us to recommend them as a possible source of funding for your voyage. Registered charities only – see the Four Acre Trust website for details of how you can apply.

Back to index

Local support groups
Local 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.

Back to index

Keep in touch with other John Laing people - or make new friends
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.

Back to index

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. We do try to keep the website as accurate as possible, so if you spot any out-of-date information, or anything that doesn’t work, do please tell us. And if you have trouble navigating round the website and can’t find something you want, please email me.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

Survey - tell us what you think
Always looking for more responses to the web-based survey - please have a look!

Back to index

 New readers' welcome and introduction
If you have recently registered your interest in OYT South, welcome to our e-newsletter, which is sent out almost every week, normally on a Friday. It includes a wide range of news from the boat and from the charity, including details of voyages available for young people; adult voyages; opportunities for adult volunteers both ashore and afloat, and much more. We find that while some people read the bulletin almost every week, many others dip in and out, and read it when it's convenient - which is why some items are repeated. The new items are marked with an asterisk * so that if you did read it last week, you can see which sections you can safely skip.

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 need an introduction to the work of OYT South, you should find a lot of useful information on our website. But essentially, we are a registered charity (no. 1079959) which exists to offer adventure under sail as a personal development opportunity for young people aged 12-25, from the widest possible range of backgrounds. A high proportion of our young crew members are disadvantaged or deserving in some way: many of these sail in groups organised by other charities, youth clubs, special schools and so on, and will fill the bulk of our term-time voyages. But those from more fortunate backgrounds are also welcome to sail, either in groups or by coming as individuals on a mixed voyage. Every year we run a variety of shorter local voyages plus longer adventure trips – including Tall Ships races during the summer holidays. If you are aged 12-25 and hoping to sail as a crew member, take a look here - and this section is also useful for adults who are thinking of organising a voyage for a young person. Adults planning to organise a full group voyage should also see here. Adults who want to sail themselves should see here.

We have a professional staff skipper and bosun, but our watch leaders are normally all volunteers, who combine sailing skills with an interest in working with young people. You can find more information here - how the system works, how to join, and profiles of existing staff and volunteers.  

To volunteer for OYT South ashore, please see here. To help with the vessel's annual refit, or with maintenance days spread throughout the year, see here.

It is a very expensive business maintaining a boat, running an office and employing staff. If you want to help us, please become a member of OYT South. Or see here for information on making a donation.

If you have any questions, please do email - or contact the office.

Back to index



“To be honest I never wanted to come, but I'm glad I did because I have learnt and seen so much!" Charlotte