Southampton Water


OYT South bulletin 24th April 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Short notice vacancy: 1 place left on adult voyage next week
We have one space available on the adult voyage next week, 29 April to 4 May (Southampton to Poole, £275) following an unavoidable cancellation. This is suitable for anyone aged 16+. Call 0845 365 6781 if you would like to come – you won’t be able to book it by emailing me as I shall be on the boat and won’t see your message in time.

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* Maintenance day next Monday - help needed (and social evening afterwards)
John Laing has a maintenance day next 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!). And we are aiming to have a social evening afterwards – again, call Wolf if you would like to come. This will be a chance for people to say hello to our new General Manager, Chris Robinson.

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* Calling anyone with carpentry skills
Skipper Wolf is looking for someone who could make a set of softwood bungs for the boat. We carry a selection of these to block any holes in the hull (e.g. where pipes lead out) if the fitting fails; but we could do with some more spares in a variety of sizes. Call Wolf on 07771 771864 if you could help.

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* Voyage news
Yet another fantastic crew - it’s been an outstanding season so far, with week after week bringing new groups of really nice young people who have all been thoroughly enthusiastic, friendly and great fun. This time they were all connected to a network of families who are home-educating their children. There were a couple of brother-and-sister pairs, and a number of South Africans, much to the delight of South African third mate Julian “Slartibartfast” Jansen van Rensburg.

The initial plan was to go to Poole; but having gone down into the far west Solent with the tide, the visibility dropped and it became too foggy to head safely out of the Solent. So they turned round and went all the way back to Gosport against the tide, which took a long time but allowed everyone to become exceptionally good at gybing the boat.

There was poor visibility again the next morning so they spent some time in harbour learning about navigation and pilotage, and in the afternoon they were able to put it into practice, with one watch piloting the vessel out of Portsmouth harbour, and the other taking her round a course designed by the skipper. They anchored in Osborne Bay for dinner (fajitas, very popular) before heading back to Southampton, arriving around midnight.

All of them earned RYA Start Yachting certificates, and one person completed a Scouts badge, not something we have often been asked to do on board John Laing. Several of this crew are keen to come back, and one or two of them might even have the potential to become volunteer sea staff when they are old enough. It would certainly be a real pleasure to see this group again.

Many thanks to the sea staff: Wolf, Kerry “Special K” Mcmillan, Kat “Gizmo” Francis, Julian “Slartibartfast” Jansen van Rensburg, Matt Bushby and Karen Harris. 

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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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* 2008 bookings
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. 1 or 2 places left, depending on whether provisional bookings are confirmed. Age 15-25.
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. Age 12-25.
15-19 September: Southampton, £275, 12 places available. Age 12-25.

That's only 34 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 
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:

9-14 June, Southampton to Southampton - second mate.
28 June to 2 July, Southampton to Southampton - possible space for third mate or trainee mate (tbc)
8-12 July, Gosport to Falmouth - second mate.
5-7 September, Southampton - second and/or third mate.
8-13 September, Southampton - second mate.
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
12-16 Oct - first, second and third or trainee mate.
17-19 Oct - second and third mates.
20-24 Oct - second and third or trainee mate (all tbc)
25-29 Oct - first, second and third or trainee mate (all tbc)
30 Oct-2 Nov - first, second and third or trainee mate (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)
As mentioned above, we have one space available on the adult voyage next week, 29 April to 4 May (Southampton to Poole, £275) following an unavoidable cancellation – phone 0845 365 6781 if you would like to come.

We only have 2 possible spaces (though we have had a number of enquiries) left for the September staff training voyage: 19-21 Sept (£150). Email me for bookings or to put your name on the reserve list – people often do have to drop out.

Adults who want to try sailing in John Laing with a view to getting involved with our work might also like to consider the over-18s weekend voyage 20-22 June, Southampton, £150, 6 places left. This is NOT a mates’ training weekend; but it is a chance to have a sociable weekend cruise and to get to know the boat a little.

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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 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