Fjord views


OYT South bulletin 15th August 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Missed editions of this newsletter?
Sometimes it takes a while to collect email addresses left on the boat and enter them into this mailing list. If you've missed the report on your own voyage, you can find all the back issues here.

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* Tall Ships race update
John Laing is currently sailing in Tall Ships race 2 from Bergen to Den Helder. Position updates are published twice a day by the race organisers and you can see the latest information here - select the Race 2 data at the top of the page, not the Race 1 results in the middle. As of 0600 this morning, John Laing was lying 5th in Class C.

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* Sea staff needed - urgent
We urgently need an experienced, qualified second mate for 8-13 September, a voyage starting and finishing in Southampton with an excellent crew of young people who are being home-educated - some of whom did a hugely successful voyage earlier this season. Contact me a.s.a.p. if you can help.

Any second mates wanting to do additional sailing this season should contact me now - I have one volunteer able to do all four voyages 12-16 Oct, 17-19 Oct, 20-24 Oct and 25-29 Oct, but he's happy not to do all of them if anyone else wants one. I do need to give him an answer one way or another, so this is a last call for volunteer second mates who want to do any more sailing this year!

For 12-16 Oct I also need an experienced third mate as reserve (provisional 3M booking won't be sure of her availability till after the start of the autumn university term).

We also have two definite and two possible slots for relief bosuns towards the end of the season. We definitely need people for 12-16 October, and 17-19 October; but staff bosun Liz hopes to do a course after that, which is only possible if we can cover two voyages for her: 20-24 Oct, and 25-29 Oct.

Please email me as soon as possible if you can help with any of this.

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* Having a gap year? Not working over the winter?
OYT South is looking for two or more volunteers to work on our vessel refit for periods lasting from a month to four months between November 2008 and March 2009. Food and accommodation will be provided, and volunteers will gain skills and experience in boat maintenance. Many of our previous volunteers have gone on to careers in sail training or related industries.

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

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* People news
Huge congratulations to two of our relief skippers, Helen Acton and Dougie Walker, who have recently announced their engagement!

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* Southampton Boat Show - volunteers needed in September
Getting close now! The 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 are 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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* Maintenance day
There is a maintenance day on board John Laing on Thursday 4th September, in Ocean Village, Southampton - lots of help needed, both skilled and unskilled. If you can come and lend a hand, please leave a message for skipper Wolf on 07771 771864 (he's on leave at the moment so you may not get an instant reply, but he does need to know who is coming, so he can plan jobs and buy enough lunch for you).

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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! Our website analysis system does show me how many people look at any page on our website over a particular period so I am well aware that a lot of people have not yet got around to looking at this!

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* Voyage news
As you will know if you read the last newsletter, John Laing suffered a gearbox problem in Liverpool which very sadly meant that she was unable to take part in Tall Ships race 1. However, the problem was fixed in time for her to take a short cut through the Caledonian canal and rejoin the fleet at the end of the race in time for the festival in Maloy, Norway, and despite the disappointment of not competing, they managed to make this a really successful and original voyage. They had to motor as far as the Isle of Man, but after that the wind filled in and they had a great sail - including a beautiful passage past Islay as the sun set. They sailed all the way to the start of the canal before going up through a series of locks known as the Neptune staircase and spending a night in Corpach, overlooking Ben Nevis. Second mate Tee Hee entertained all the lock keepers with cartwheels; first mate Special K, who has done the canal before, acted as pilot, and we all owe big thanks to British Waterways for lots of help and advice.

Another sunny day and lots of locks took them to Fort Augustus the next night and the start of Loch Ness, where they had a BBQ the night before a 6am start across the utterly still loch accompanied by Wolf's "Dark Side of the 80s" CD.

Sadly they were not destined for an entirely straightforward passage, emerging from the canal to adverse winds and seven hours of fog. But they made it safely across the North Sea, enjoyed a night approach to Maloy thanks to excellent Norwegian sector lights, and were in plenty of time to enjoy a great festival. Thanks to sea staff Wolf, Kerry "Special K" McMillan, Ben Martin, Tristan Caudrey, Sarah "Tee Hee" Tredinnick, and special congratulations to Andy Viney for completing his second mate's assessment.

Maloy is a very small town but it certainly wasn't a small festival. The boats were berthed in beautiful surroundings, there was an exceptional programme of activities, and one of the best Tall Ships firework displays ever seen. And the locals really went out of their way to be hospitable - at one stage we received a present of so much salmon that we had to give half of it away to other boats, and were still left with 36 fresh salmon steaks and three sides of smoked or cured salmon.

The next leg of the voyage was the cruise in company from Maloy to Bergen. The organisers arrange a selection of host ports on the way, but vessels are free to choose any of them or not, as they like. As last year, John Laing chose to spend a few nights away from the main centres, and explore some of the remote islands and tiny fjords in company with just one other vessel, our friends in Black Diamond of Durham. So after the parade of sail - the fleet's formal thank-you for Maloy's exceptional hospitality - the two boats set off for some intricate navigation through the islands to look at possible anchorages. The first option proved so tiny that we moved on to the second and spent a peaceful night before sending most of the crew ashore to explore in the morning.

That day we were keen to explore a fjord, and after most of the day spent threading our way between rocks and islands, we turned into Dalsfjord, between high cliffs and mountains, with spectacular waterfalls, and made our way to the town of Bygstad at the eastern end. Some other Tall Ships vessels were there for the night and we had a sociable evening ashore.

The next day we set off with Black Diamond for the tiny Skifjord, with the village of Myklebust at its head. This turned out to be an idyllic little fjord surrounded by green fields; we anchored at the head and the crew enjoyed fishing and rowing the dinghy as the sun went down below the hills on a perfectly still evening.

After a run ashore in the morning, we set off south again through some of the most spectacular scenery of the voyage, narrow channels between immense cliffs. After many discussions of the plan for the day, we agreed to join a number of other vessels in the island of Fedje; but by the time we got there, the port had already filled with other vessels and even if we could have squeezed in, increasingly strong winds made for an unappealing and potentially dangerous entrance. The alternative shelter in those winds was Strusshamn, five hours away - initially a bit of a blow, but in practice a very fast downwind sail with just the no. 3 headsail up and lots of Oysterband playing, followed by some interesting navigation as it grew dark and the crew were able to join in spotting the sector lights (which change colour depending on whether you are on the safe course through the rocks, or whether you are a little off course to one side or the other).

Strusshamn proved another very welcoming little port, with plenty of other boats there and lots of activity. Apart from a brief expedition to buy fuel, we spent the next day there, and celebrated skipper Wolf's birthday, before going on to the Bergen festival the following morning.

Bergen laid on another exceptionally lively festival, with lots of live music, plenty of crew activities, dozens of stalls, and a superb fish market where so many stall holders offer free samples of smoked and cured salmon that it is quite possible to eat an entire meal just by going from stall to stall. Lots of parties later, a weary crew flew home on Monday, with all those new to John Laing having earned RYA Start Yachting certificates, and a couple of old hands finishing their Competent Crew qualifications. Thanks to sea staff Wolf, Steve and Cathy Lacey, Rosie Lovett, Caz, Will Ramsay (who signed on as crew but ended up sailing as bosun, in order that staff bosun Liz could take a watch) and special congratulations to Liz, who completed her second mate's assessment.

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* 2008 berths - book now or miss out till next year!
If you want to sail this year you need to ring the office NOW on 0845 365 6781 – there are only one or two places left on a couple of voyages. 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!

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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 up to half 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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* 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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* Financial appeal
Thank you this week to the Patrick Frost Foundation for a very generous donation towards new equipment for John Laing.

The Trust is entering a very expensive period, with a new gearbox and prop shaft required this winter after the problems we faced in Liverpool (£3,200); a new mainsail needed as one of ours - an old and worn sail - has torn beyond repair; a new mainsheet needed (£550) as well as new headsail sheets and reefing lines; a new Navtex set (£708.50) and probably at least one headsail - on top of all our normal winter costs and refit expenses. So please help if you can!

See here for how to make a donation.

Do you live near a branch of Waitrose? (NB there are branches in Havant, Chichester, Southsea and Southampton). Waitrose has just announced that each branch will be given £1,000 a month to distribute among three local community projects. A one-third share - £330 - would pay for a child who couldn't otherwise afford to sail, or for some essential equipment such as new lifejackets. Customers can put forward the names of organisations they would like their local branch to support by filling out a leaflet in store, so please go and nominate OYT South in your local branch!

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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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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