John Laing's 18th birthday party!


OYT South bulletin 19th June 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Move to new storage container - volunteers needed 29/30 June
We have finally managed to rent a storage container at Riverside Boatyard, Bursledon, and now we need to move all our kit (spare ropes, sails, refit equipment and so on) from the shed in Gosport. Wolf is looking for a good team of volunteers to help with this move on 29 and 30 June – please call him on 07771 771864 if you could help on either day. He would also like to hear from anyone who could offer accommodation in the area, to encourage people to help on both days! And we need to build some shelves in the new container, in the days before we move the kit – can anyone help with that?

Back to index

* Adult sailing THIS weekend – last TWO berths!
20-22 June (8pm Friday till 5pm Sunday): Southampton, £150 (over-18s only). Anyone want to come? This should be a relaxed, fun weekend in John Laing. Ideal for anyone who just wants to go for a sail, it would also be a good option for anyone who is thinking of joining our volunteer sea staff and wants to find out more about us (though this is NOT a formal mates' training weekend). It's also open to parents of past crew members who want to sample the John Laing experience for yourselves, or any other adult who just wants to enjoy a weekend away and find out a bit more about us. Contact the office on 0845 365 6781 for bookings. Two places left.

Back to index

* Wolf’s Ocean Village swipe card
Has any member of sea staff accidentally gone home with Wolf’s Ocean Village swipe card in a pocket? It’s the only one and he needs it back! Call him on 07771 771864.

Back to index

* Advance notice – job vacancy for junior skipper / staff first mate
Because of the increased workload for our staff skipper as the New Boat Project progresses, and in order to add continuity during both the refit and the sailing season, OYT South intends to recruit a junior skipper at the end of the current season. This person will work under the direction of staff skipper Mark “Wolf” Todd, helping to manage the refit, skippering John Laing as needed but also sailing as first mate or in other roles as required, and assisting the charity in other ways – for example, pre-voyage preparation with clients.

The post might be an ideal step for someone relatively new to skippering a sail training vessel, and may be a suitable for a newly-qualified skipper or an experienced first mate who is ready to make the step up. It might also suit someone moving up from smaller boats.

For more information and an informal chat, please call Wolf on 07771 771864. A formal job advertisement will be published nearer the time.

Back to index

* Vessel tracking
There is still a temporary problem with John Laing's vessel tracking system which normally shows up on the website here. Apologies to anyone who has been trying to follow the vessel’s progress. We will try to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible.

Back to index

* 2008 berths still available
We have just heard that one person may possibly have to drop out of Race 1 of the Tall Ships series, 20 July to 3 August, Liverpool to Maloy (Norway), 14 nights, £840, age range 15-25. This is not yet definite, but if you might be interest in filling the space if it arises, please contact our office NOW!

There is also still a single space available on Race two: 11-22 August: Bergen to Den Helder, £660 plus travel. Age 15-25. This will be a fabulous voyage, with superb festivals in Norway and the Netherlands, and an exciting race in between. Don't miss your chance to join the crew!

We have just received a small donation of bursary funding, so if you are desperate to do Tall Ships but really can’t afford the full price, and can make a good case for why you deserve help with funding, please contact me.

Other 2008 vacancies:
8-13 Sept: Southampton, £315, 12 places left (whole boat booking possible).
15-19 September: Southampton, £275, up to 6 places left (tbc).

If you might be interested in a booking this year, contact the office as soon as possible.

Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential projects
Bursary funding
Special funding for crew members from outside the UK.

Back to index

* 2009 voyages filling fast
See here for details and prices for 2009 voyages.

Voyages are selling very fast, 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.

Back to index

Maintenance days 6 & 7July
The next maintenance days are 6-7 July in Gosport, when we have a huge amount to do to get ready for two months away and the Tall Ships series. We need all the help we can get - please call Wolf on 07771 771864 if you can help for either day.

Back to index

* Voyage news – and a very special 18th birthday!
One final update following last week’s voyage – many congratulations to Ben Gillett who passed his third mate’s assessment and got most of his second mate’s assessment signed off as well.

This week’s voyage has seen the return of a hugely popular client, Alfreton Park Community Special School, which caters for students with severe learning difficulties, profound and multiple learning difficulties, and severe learning difficulties with autism. Every year they bring six young people alongside six adult carers and combine a Solent-based voyage with lots of activities ashore. As John Laing was launched in 1990, it is clearly the boat’s 18th birthday this year, and the Alfreton Park crew seemed like the ideal group for a proper birthday celebration - especially as the naming ceremony and first voyage were around this time of year, 18 years ago! So on Wednesday they held John Laing’s official 18th birthday party, complete with cake (coloured icing, paper sails and jelly baby crew on board), candles, home-made paper hats, balloons (some real and some drawings of balloons because one boy is allergic to balloons), party rings, fairy cakes, jelly and choruses of “happy birthday to you”, both sung and in sign language.

John Laing's 18th birthday party John Laing's 18th birthday party

John Laing's 18th birthday cake John Laing's 18th birthday cake

John Laing's 18th birthday party

Despite all the sweet things, the young people all got off to bed OK but there are reports of some sugar-induced hyperactivity among the sea staff!

This year’s Alfreton Park pupils were rather more physically able than some previous crews from this school, and apart from the parties they have managed to do some good sailing. They went to Cowes on the first night, and got a walk and some shopping ashore on the next morning. Then they sailed to Yarmouth, where they had a BBQ, played Frisbee, and walked on the beach. The next day they had a really good sail all the way to Gosport in bright sunshine, with a Force 5 wind behind them and lots of gybes. Yesterday it was windier, up to Force 7, but most of the crew loved the sail back to Cowes, with four of the them on the foredeck helping with a sail change, and loving the excitement and getting wet. They also got thoroughly involved in steering the boat.

Tonight they are going to Hamble for a traditional last night fish and chip supper, and the voyage ends tomorrow. Many thanks to sea staff Helen Acton, Liz, Kerry “Special K” McMillan, Geoff Eddy and Jon Seddon, who is making great progress with his third mate’s assessment and has also acquired the nickname “Pinks” after spending the whole voyage sitting with a group of girls who were all wearing pink.

Back to index

* Volunteer watch leader vacancies – please help!
Sea staff vacancies (qualified sea staff only) are as follows:

8-13 September, Southampton - second mate.
15-19 September, Southampton - first mate.
22-26 September, Southampton - first mate.
27 Sept - 1 Oct, Southampton - first mate.
12-16 Oct - first and second mate (tbc) needed, and experienced third mate as reserve (provisional 3M booking won't be sure of her availability till after the start of the autumn university term).
17-19 Oct - second (tbc) and third mates.
20-24 Oct - second mate (tbc).
25-29 Oct - second mate (tbc).
30 Oct-2 Nov - second mate (tbc).

Places marked tbc are where provisional bookings have yet to be confirmed, and also where we need to keep options open, to get the right balance of sea staff for different voyages or crews with special needs, and to make sure there is a balance of male and female sea staff for mixed crews – or to make sure that a range of sea staff get a chance to sail rather than allocating all the voyages to one person with extensive availability, so I can't always confirm bookings straight away; but I would like to know a.s.a.p. who might be available. Let me know if you want to sail and could help fill any of the listed vacancies if needed.

Back to index

* Southampton Boat Show - volunteers needed in September
The 2008 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 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.

Back to index

* Mates training 2009
As recently announced, we are changing the way we use mates' training weekends in 2009, in order to offer more training to current sea staff. Voyages in 2009 will be as follows:

24-26 April 2009 (£150): third mates, less experienced second mates, and bosuns’ weekend – 6 places left.
18-20 September 2009 (£150): first mates and more experienced second mates’ weekend – 10 places left.

Email me to reserve a place on the appropriate weekend.

The September 2008 mates training weekend (19-21 September) will not be affected by these changes and will go ahead exactly as planned. It is potentially fully-booked but I am still taking names for a reserve list in case anyone drops out.

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 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.

Back to index

2009 Tall Ships

There is a new page on this website with details of what looks like a very exciting Tall Ships series in 2009, when we shall be visiting Poland, Russia, Finland and Lithuania. Have a look at some of the voyages that are available, both for the Tall Ships events themselves, and fantastic Baltic Adventure voyages before and after the festivals.

Back to index

Adult adventure voyage 2009
Normally we only have the chance to offer occasional local voyages to adults, but in 2009 we plan to offer one very special adventure voyage to adults:

28 June to 4 July: Kiel to Gdynia (Poland) - a beautiful Baltic cruise, ending at the fantastic Gdynia Tall Ships festival.

Open to anyone aged over 18, this will be a truly special voyage and a rare chance for adults to take John Laing further afield and experience the excitement of a Tall Ships festival port, before handing over to a young race crew.

Please contact the office a.s.a.p. if you might be interested.

Back to index

* Financial appeal
Enormous thanks this week to the Sydney Black Trust for a contribution towards bursary funding for deserving or disadvantaged young people who could not otherwise afford to sail.

We have three current fundraising priorities: 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.

Back to index

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.

Back to index

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.

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.

Back to index

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.  

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.

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 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.

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