John Laing visting Cowes, Isle of Wight (photo:MAX)


OYT South bulletin 17th October 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Sea staff needed this season
One of the sea staff booked for 25-29 October has just warned me that it’s possible that he may have to drop out of the voyage for work reasons, so I need a reserve on standby. The place could be filled by a third mate, bosun or second mate – it’s even possible that we could do a third mate assessment. Let me know if you might be available.

We still haven’t had final confirmation of a first mate for 25 Oct to 2 November - qualified first mates please email me urgently if you could help.

Back to index

* Voyage news
A very busy maintenance day last Saturday – huge thanks to Wolf, Stuart Raynsford, John Snowden, Lisa Davis, Annie Holt, Eddie Harper, James Turner, Hugh Myers, Ben Gillett, David Barty, Tom Crockard, Zoe Ombler, Laura Lelievre, Matt Almond, Chris Wright and Caz, who got through a great deal of work between them.

On Sunday we were joined by a crew of young people who are all in care in Hampshire. They were a lively, enthusiastic and very noisy group, bursting with energy and chatter but definitely rewarding to sail with providing the staff could get a word in edgeways from time to time. They sailed to Cowes on the first night and then to Poole the next day, where football and the cardboard box game reminded several of the staff that they are not as young as they used to be. The evening ended with a guitar session which was great fun and would have been repeated on subsequent nights if we had had any spare strings on board. Wolf (a renowned guitar philistine) insists that he wasn’t responsible for the one that got broken….

A big sail on Tuesday took us south of the Isle of Wight for some fast and enjoyable sailing and surprisingly little seasickness – with the main sufferer still managing to join in and keep a smile on her face for much of the time. We ended up in Gosport, where we spent the next morning rowing the dinghy and doing RYA training.

Big winds on Wednesday gave us some exciting tacking in the Solent but then died away, leaving us motoring up Southampton Water for a late arrival. The crew left yesterday having all earned RYA Start Yachting certificates and more than keen to come back and sail again.

Many thanks to the sea staff: Wolf, Stuart Raynsford, Caz, Ben Gillett, Hugh Myers, and special congratulations to James Turner for completing his second mate’s assessment on his first full voyage with us.

Back to index

* Refit 2008-9
Substantial progress this week with refit planning. We have space booked at Hamble Yacht Services, where we have been for the last few winters. We also have a rented refit house in Hamble – a great house, rather bigger than we have had in previous years, and easy walking distance from work. We have started confirming places for full-time volunteers on the core refit team and will be announcing plans for short-term and day volunteers over the next couple of weeks – please don’t phone Wolf just yet to book yourself in for refit as we are not quite ready for that, but watch this bulletin as we’ll be starting to take bookings fairly soon. The refit starts on Monday 3 November 2008 and we have to move into the refit house and clear all the kit off the boat during the first week. The move round to the Hamble, masts out and vessel lift will take place over 10/11/12 November and then it’s the usual combination of technical jobs plus lots of sanding and painting until it all ends on Friday 20 March 2009 – with a break over Christmas and New Year.

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? 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!

Back to index

* Financial appeal
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. 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

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

* 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

Shorebased training weekend 2009 – replies needed
As in previous years, we plan to run a shore-based training weekend, probably in late January or February, offering recognised courses and qualifications required for volunteers sailing in John Laing. We’ll aim to offer as many courses as possible, depending on demand: please let me know a.s.a.p. which courses or qualifications you would most like to do, subject to dates. If you are interested in more than one course, please give me an order of preference, and I’ll aim to minimise any clashes (most courses take a full day, but we recommend the 2-day version of the sea survival course).

Options might include:

  • First aid (recommended for ALL sea staff, required for second mates and above, compulsory updates every 3 years - check when your certificate goes out of date)
  • GMDSS / VHF radio (recommended for third mates, required for second mates and above)
  • Radar (recommended for first and second mates, required for skippers)
  • Sea survival (strongly recommended for all sea staff, and required for commercial endorsements to YM and Coastal Skipper certificates. Yvonne Taylor is running this course on the weekend 7/8 February – full two-day course for £150, or the basic 1-day Sea Survival on Saturday 7th for £75).
  • Food hygiene (required for all sea staff)
  • Diesel engine (recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above).

Email me and let me know what you would like to do.

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

Chris Ellis award – win ££s towards sailing next year!
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 encourage crew members to produce 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

* 2009 bookings - crew aged 12-25
See here for details and prices for 2009 voyages.

Voyages are selling very fast, with bookings or enquiries for almost 80% of the places already. If you have reserved a voyage for 2009 and haven't already confirmed your booking in writing (and either paid your deposit or agreed with our office when it will be paid), you need to do that NOW. We really don't want to turn away other potential bookings and then find that provisional reservations aren't confirmed.

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

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

2009 familiarisation voyage for new volunteers

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

With only 12 places 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.

Back to index

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!

Back to index

Adult adventure voyages 2009 – BOOK NOW!
We have finally confirmed two very special adventure voyages for adults in 2009:

21-28 June, Ipswich to Kiel (Germany), £750 – places available
28 June to 4 July: Kiel to Gdynia (Poland), £750 – provisionally reserved

As you can see, these prices are higher than we would charge to young people for equivalent voyages. This is partly because youth voyages are subsidised by fundraising which cannot be used for adult voyages, and partly to give us a surplus on these voyages which will be used in turn to subsidise further places for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. So you can have a holiday and do some good at the same time!

The second voyage is potentially booked up already; but the first one has places available and we are taking bookings NOW. 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. Contact the office for details.

If we don’t get bookings or serious enquiries for the Ipswich to Kiel voyage fairly soon, we may re-open it to youth groups.

Back to index

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!

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 (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.

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

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!

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


“I have made a bunch of mates that I hope to keep in touch with - would love to come again" Joe, 13