Could you join Tall Ships 2009 to Russia?


OYT South bulletin 23rd May 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Storage URGENTLY needed
We’ve had this appeal in the bulletin for a few weeks, but the best offer so far will cost us £1,500 a year – a big burden for a small charity! Before we have to commit to this, PLEASE think hard about whether you have any space where we could store a 20-foot container, or if you know of an empty garage or similar space that we could have for less than £1,500 (preferably free) in the Hamble or Southampton area, to store equipment used during the refit, and spares for the sailing season. Contact the office a.s.a.p. with any offers or ideas!

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* June 9-14 - second mate needed - URGENT
We are still short of a second mate for 9-14 June - please contact me a.s.a.p. if you could help.

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Maintenance day June 8th
There will be a maintenance day on Sunday 8th June in Southampton. Help needed, both skilled and unskilled. Please call Wolf on 07771 771864 and book yourself in.

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* June adult sailing weekend – places still available
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. It’s not entirely clear how many spaces we have as we have had a number of enquiries and some unconfirmed provisional bookings; but there are certainly a couple of berths still available.

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* Port change July – Falmouth voyages switched to Penzance
Unfortunately, for reasons beyond our control we are having to alter two voyages in July that were scheduled to end or start in Falmouth, and we will be using Penzance instead. Everyone affected has been sent a letter from the office. Dates and times remain unchanged, but voyages are now as follows:

8-12 July – Gosport to Penzance
13-20 July – Penzance to Liverpool

We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused, but hopefully the change won’t cause significant problems. The Penzance port is close to the railway station and easy to get to.

If you do have any problems or queries, please do contact the office.

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* Two voyages still available in September 2008
There are just two standard local voyages for crew members aged 12-25 still available this year - one available as a whole-boat booking if required, the other with six places empty:

8-13 Sept: Southampton, £315, 12 places left.
15-19 September: Southampton, £275, 6 places left.

If your group might be interested in booking either voyage, contact the office as soon as possible.

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

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Tall Ships 2008 – just ONE last place left
Race one and the cruise in company are now fully-booked, but we do have just one 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! See here for more information.

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* 2009 bookings – school holidays filling VERY fast
As predicted, parts of the 2009 sailing programme are selling very fast, and the majority of school holiday voyages outside the Tall Ships period have been provisionally sold already. If you are still hoping for a 2009 school holiday voyage, please look at the voyage programme and contact the office NOW.

There are plenty of spaces left for groups and individuals who can sail in term time, as well as space on the Baltic voyages in the summer holidays.

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* Mates training 2009
We are going to try changing the way we use mates’ training weekends and familiarisation voyages in 2009. The present system of opening them all up to new potential volunteers isn’t always very effective as a weekend isn’t really long enough to judge people’s potential, or to train those who are entirely new to the boat; and the system is also producing more new volunteers than we can possibly fit on our voyages. This is really difficult as people who do a training weekend are understandably disappointed if we can’t go on to offer them more sailing. It’s a lovely problem to have more volunteers than we can use, but we need to be fair to people.

In addition, we need to get better at moving second mates up to first mate, and third mates up to second mate, as we always have more vacancies at the higher levels – and this would leave more room for new 3Ms.

So the plan for 2009 is to use mates’ training weekends to train existing mates: as refreshers, to raise standards, and to get more people ready for assessment to the next level, as follows:

24-26 April 2009: third mates, less experienced second mates, and bosuns
18-20 September 2009: first mates and more experienced second mates

Both voyages start at 8pm Friday and end at 5pm on Sunday; both start and finish in Ocean Village. Price tbc; but you can email me to reserve a place.

With the weekend voyages no longer open to new volunteers, we now have only the five-night familiarisation voyage, 19-24 April 2009, for new people, which means only 12 places. We will therefore have to be selective about who books on this voyage, and go for the best potential volunteers, including those with 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.

The September 2008 mates training weekend (19-21 September) will not be affected by these changes and will go ahead exactly as planned.

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* Yachtmaster / Day Skipper theory courses
Southern Sailing have some short-notice places for shorebased RYA Yachtmaster or Day Skipper courses: 2-6 June, £200. Please contact them direct if you are interested.

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* Voyage news
The first of four voyages this year for East London charity Toynbee Hall. They joined the boat in Poole on Sunday, and had a short sail to Weymouth and brief experience of night sailing, arriving at midnight. The plan was to aim for Guernsey on Monday, with a late start to catch the tide, so they spent the morning exploring Weymouth, and went out to do tacking and drills after lunch. However, some of the crew were finding the new experience quite hard going, and there was a certain amount of seasickness, so it was decided not to try for a long passage, and instead they made their way into the Solent, picking up a buoy in Yarmouth around midnight.

Next day they had a superb Solent sail, with everyone on board feeling much better and the crew really getting the hang of things, with everyone joining in. They got as far east as the forts, tacking all the way, hove-to for lunch, and then gybed all the way back to Cowes. They had time ashore, followed by Extreme Washing-Up and the chocolate game.

On Wednesday they had another good sail back to Poole, where the voyage finished yesterday, with RYA Start Yachting certificates earned by everyone. This voyage was a real triumph of turning round a group of young people who started out very apprehensive about the whole experience, and found it really quite challenging, and ended as an enthusiastic and happy team of sailors.

Many thanks to the three Toynbee Hall group leaders, and to sea staff Steve Furniss, Liz, Graeme Cole, John “Cuddles” Snowden and Stuart Raynsford.

No bulletin next Friday as I shall be at sea, but we have a Midhurst XL Club on board over the weekend, and the return of the Nautical Training Corps TS Swiftsure next week. Full reports when I get back.

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Vessel tracking
John Laing's vessel tracking system is the most popular 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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* Volunteer watch leaders needed
Sea staff vacancies are as follows:

9-14 June, Southampton to Southampton - second mate needed URGENTLY
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 needed, and second mate (tbc)
2-5 Oct - second mate and experienced third mate needed
12-16 Oct - first and second mates 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 and third mates.
20-24 Oct - second mate
25-29 Oct - first, second and third mate (all tbc)
30 Oct-2 Nov - first, second and third mate (all 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, 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.

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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.

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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.

Price to be announced shortly; but please contact the office a.s.a.p. if you might be interested.

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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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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 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