Happy crew!


OYT South bulletin 18th April 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* General Manager appointment
OYT South is delighted to announce that our next General Manager will be Chris Robinson. Chris is a highly experienced manager with a strong background in business development, client services, sales and marketing and project management. His skills and experience will help to take OYT South forward over the next few years, as we seek to grow and develop, and as we face exciting new challenges including the New Boat Project. Chris will be starting work on Monday 19th May, alongside the current General Manager, David Salmon, and the Office Administrator, Sally Croly, and will spend several months on vital project work while becoming thoroughly familiar with the charity, ready to take over when David retires in November. We are all looking forward to welcoming Chris to the team.

Many thanks to everyone else who applied for the job. We had a very strong field of candidates and it was good to see so many talented people expressing an interest in joining us.

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* Voyage news
A great improvement this week on our normal voyage news: we have an account of last week’s voyage on this website here, written by a 13-year old crew member. Skipper Wolf only wants to add a few points of his own: first, that it was great to see MDL staff on board for a tour of the boat in Hamble. Second, that he has rarely been so wet in his life - he got utterly drenched several times in the voyage and at one stage was standing in the companionway spitting out water so that he could talk! Third, all the crew members (except one who already had it) earned their RYA Start Yachting certificates; and several got some sections of the more advanced Competent Crew certificate signed off. And finally, that it was a fantastic voyage with a truly lovely bunch of young people who created a brilliant atmosphere on board which allowed them to have great times despite the terrible weather. It was a mixed crew of individuals, almost all at the younger end of our age range, so there will be many years to come when they will be eligible to sail with us again, and we would love to see any of them back. Many thanks to sea staff Wolf, John Parkin, Amanda Smith, Julian “Slartibartfast” Jansen van Rensburg, Brendan “Brenda” Stewart - and special congratulations to Rosie “Habit” Allen, who passed an assessment during the trip to be upgraded to second mate.

The general theme of lovely crew members and horrible weather has continued on the latest voyage, for another mixed group of individuals, as well as a small group of pupils from the school where second mate Rob Butler teaches. This crew also includes early signs of the next generation of sail trainers: the grand-daughter of Ocean Youth Club founder Chris Ellis; the grand-daughter of former OYT South chairman Chris Lane; and the nephew of ASTO (Association of Sea Training Organisations) head Craig Burton!

They went down to East Cowes on the first night, and on the second day hoped to get to Gosport. However, in the time it took to get out of Cowes and put some sail up, the wind rose to an easterly 39 knots (gale force 8) and they took the sensible decision to retreat back to Cowes. They spent some time exploring the town and then had an evening of games on board. This included absolutely hysterical laughter during “Hey Harry”, a word game which involves getting your face painted every time you make a mistake. Also in Cowes, they had a visit from Mrs Ellis, widow of our founder Chris Ellis, who came to see not only how her grand-daughter was getting on, but also to see how the charity continues to thrive and prosper.

Today, John Laing is tacking up and down Southampton Water. “It’s drizzling, which is a real improvement,” says the first mate cheerfully, “and so cold that we are doing 1-hour watches”. However, everyone seems to be in good spirits, and not seasick, despite the fact that we have six cheery new sunshine-yellow sick buckets on board, still entirely unused! Who will be the first to christen them….?

This voyage has another couple of days to go; but thanks to all the sea staff who are working hard to keep up morale despite the weather: Wolf, Dave Comer, Kerry “Special K” McMillan, Kat “Gizmo” Francis, Rob Butler and Brenda(n).

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Vessel tracking
John Laing's vessel tracking system is the most poular page on our website: just look here for a map showing where John Laing is sailing right now, and click on the vessel icon for extra information such as latitude, longitude and current speed.

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* Maintenance day - help needed
John Laing has a maintenance day on Monday 28th April, in Southampton - help needed, skilled and unskilled. Call Skipper Wolf on 07771 771864 if you could come and help - he needs to know numbers in advance, so he can plan jobs (as well as planning to feed you!)

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* 2008 bookings - including new vacancies
The complete vacancies list (apart from adult voyages) is now as follows:

20-22 June (weekend): Southampton, £150, 6 places left (over-18s only).
13-20 July: Falmouth to Liverpool, £420. Up to 4 places left, depending on whether provisional bookings are confirmed.
20 July to 3 August: Liverpool to Maloy (Norway), £840, 1 place left for Tall Ships Race 1, NEW VACANCY following a cancellation (age 15-25).
11-22 August: Bergen to Den Helder, £660, 1 place left for Tall Ships Race 2 (age 15-25).
8-13 Sept: Southampton, £315, 12 places left.
15-19 September: Southampton, £275, 12 places available.

That's only 36 places left for the whole year - a fantastic effort on the part of all the people who have helped to spread the word and sell our voyages, with 92% of all berths filled already. Now we just need to fill these last few places!

If you can't find what you want on this availability list, do please keep checking the voyage programme as new vacancies keep coming up as provisional reservations aren't confirmed. And also see below for information about the 2009 sailing programme.

If you want to book a berth, contact the office as soon as possible.

For additional information about voyages:

UK-based voyages
Tall Ships 2008: Liverpool - Måløy (Norway) - Bergen (Norway) - Den Helder (Netherlands)
Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential projects
Bursary funding
Special funding for crew members from outside the UK.

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* 2009 sailing programme - NEW
A draft outline 2009 programme has now been published - please do have a look. It is very much NOT set in stone, so if your group was hoping for a voyage with slightly different dates or of a different duration, do please ask (contact the office) and if it is possible to adjust things, we will do our best to help you.

The programme includes a very exciting Tall Ships race series in the Baltic, plus some excellent voyages to get us to the start in Poland and back from the finish in Lithuania. It is possible that we may sell one or more of the outward legs (Ipswich to Kiel, or Kiel to Gdynia, in late June / early July) as an adult voyage, so it is worth talking to us if you might like to take part.

The draft programme does not yet include prices but these will be added as soon as possible.

Large parts of the 2008 programme sold very quickly, mainly due to repeat bookings, so if you want to bring a group in 2009, please do think about it early, while you still have a wide choice of dates, and while we still have some flexibility to adjust the programme to meet your needs!

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* Volunteer watchleaders needed
Sea staff vacancies are as follows:

12-17 May, Southampton to Poole - additional qualified mate possibly needed (tbc)
18-22 May, Poole to Poole - possible space for a trainee mate (tbc)
23-26 May, Poole to Poole - possible space for a trainee mate (tbc)
9-14 June, Southampton to Southampton - second mate needed.
28 June to 2 July, Southampton to Southampton - first mate needed, and possible space for third mate or trainee mate (tbc)
8-12 July, Gosport to Falmouth - second mate needed
13-20 July, Falmouth to Liverpool - bosun needed
5-7 September, Southampton - second and/or third mate needed
8-13 September, Southampton - second mate needed
15-19 September, Southampton - first and second mates
22-26 September, Southampton - first mate needed, and second mate (tbc)
27 Sept - 1 Oct, Southampton - first mate needed, and second mate (tbc)
2-5 Oct - additional second mate or experienced third mate needed
6-10 Oct - first mate possibly needed (tbc)
12-16 Oct - first, second and third or trainee mate needed
17-19 Oct - second and third mates needed
20-24 Oct - first, second and third or trainee mate needed (all tbc)
25-29 Oct - first, second and third or trainee mate needed (all tbc)
30 Oct-2 Nov - first, second and third or trainee mate needed (all tbc)

Note on "trainee mates": if you are not yet a qualified OYT South watch leader, but would like to become one, this is the place for you. You do need a recommendation from one of our skippers (contact me if you are not sure if you have a recommendation, or how to get one), and you must also have a Criminal Records Bureau background check, which we will help you to organise.

There are a lot of places marked tbc, where provisional bookings have yet to be confirmed, and also where we need to keep options open until we have a clearer idea of the likely demand for training and assessments this season.

Let me know a.s.a.p. if you want to sail and could help fill any of the listed vacancies if needed.

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Financial appeal
Once the refit bills are paid, three fundraising priorities remain: 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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* Office equipment needed
Is anyone able to donate a good quality office desk, for our new General Manager? And we would also like a four-drawer filing cabinet, if anyone has one to spare. Contact the office if you might be able to help.

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* Volunteer sea staff training (on board John Laing)
We now have one space available on the adult training voyage, 29 April to 4 May (Southampton to Poole, £275) following an unavoidable cancellation - please email me if you would like to come.

The mates' training weekend, 25-27 April, is almost certainly full, with only one booking unconfirmed but one name still on the reserve list.

We only have 2 spaces left for the September staff training voyage: 19-21 Sept (£150). Email me for bookings.

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* Sea survival course
Yvonne Taylor has places left on a Sea Survival / ISAF course, 26 and 27 April, £70 - call her on 07785 335189 if you want to go.

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* Adult small boat cruise
Former OYT South chairman Chris Lane is planning a North Brittany cruise in his own boat, and looking for (adult) crew. This might be an ideal opportunity for OYT South sea staff or potential sea staff who need a bit more sailing experience. Especially useful if you are working towards your next RYA qualification and need to practise some of the things which are hard to do in a boat as big as John Laing.

Chris has 3 berths available for May 31-June 7, starting and finishing in St Malo (easy to get there by Ryanair, Flybe or ferry). No berth fee, just share the feeding and watering costs. The boat is a 33ft Westerly. The aim will be to explore in a relaxed fashion some of the rivers and islands along the North Brittany coast. Anyone interested should e-mail Chris.lane@oytsouth.org with your contact number asap.

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Storage urgently needed

It is becoming increasingly urgent for OYT South to find some new storage space for equipment used during the refit, and spares for the sailing season. We really need a 20-foot container, or similar, and somewhere to put it, preferably in the Hamble or Southampton area if at all possible - can anyone help?

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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: Martin Skipper.
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 http://www.oytsouth.org/? 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