Trustee change: farewell Phoebe (the best-dressed sailor ever) and welcome Ben!


OYT South bulletin 25th October 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Board of Trustees - new member (and thanks to outgoing Trustee)
As announced in previous issues of this bulletin, OYT South always aims to have at least one person on our Board of Trustees aged under 25, in the same age range as the young people who sail with us, but the present incumbent, Phoebe Swatton, needed to move on as she has been working at sea, no longer lives locally, and can’t get to Board meetings. We would like to say a huge thanks to Phoebe, who is just about to submit her formal resignation from the Board, having been a Trustee since February 2007. She has been sailing with the Trust since the age of sixteen, in 2001. After leaving school, she worked as a full-time volunteer on a winter refit of John Laing, and later qualified as a second mate. She completed a degree in archaeology at Southampton university in the summer, and has been working in sail training for much of the autumn, hopes to sail full time next season and is open to job offers! Many thanks to Phoebe for all her support over the years. Although she is leaving the Board, she is still very supportive of OYT South and we are sure she will stay in contact.

This week the Board co-opted a new under-25 member to replace Phoebe. Ben Martin has just turned 21 and is part-way through a degree in economics at the University of Bath, but currently on a year's placement with KPMG - coincidentally, a company which used to sponsor the Ocean Youth Club. Having done many years of sailing 30-footers around the south and east coast with family, he came to OYT South as a crew member on a wild and windy Tall Ships race from Newcastle to Fredrikstad in 2005. He did well enough to be invited back, qualifying as watchleader in 2006, and stepping up to second mate in 2007. This year he was nominated by OYT South for an ASTO exchange award, which he won, to spend time on board a sail training vessel in Canada. We would like to welcome him to the Board of Trustees and we are confident that he’ll make a great contribution to the charity’s work.

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* Voyage news
If John Laing had left a trail on last week’s voyage, this week’s crew would only have needed to follow it, as they took a near-identical route, though in slightly worse weather. The weather was horrible on Monday and the crew all quite small, but they sailed to Cowes in the dark and the pouring rain. On Tuesday they had time ashore and bought far too many sweets before a long beat against the wind and tide to Poole – during which remarkably few people felt seasick, in spite of the sweets! Another late arrival was followed by shore leave the next morning and then a sail south of the Isle of Wight and into Gosport.

On Thursday the forecast was for gales approaching but they managed some RYA training before making their way back round to Southampton in a Force 8 under just a staysail and mizzen amidst lots of shipping – but fortunately no rain, which held off until after they arrived. They played lots of games in the evening, and yesterday morning were just finishing cleaning the boat and completing their RYA training. Skipper Nic Crawford hoped to be able to award at least 10 Start Yachting certificates, with two of those also having some sections of the Competent Crew signed off.

The sea staff have been working hard this week, as we have had two trainee first mates, Ben Gillett and Phoebe, getting in some practise, while Ben Whinnett should be congratulated for passing his third mate’s assessment with flying colours and getting a recommendation to move on quickly to second mate. Thanks to all three of them as well as Nic the skipper, John Parkin the official first mate, and Di Roberts the relief bosun.

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* Refit 2008-9 - lots of news!
In previous years, we have been fortunate in having one or two volunteers working for us for most if not all the winter refit from November to March. This year, we advertised the positions more widely and had a large number of good applicants. We are delighted to announce that we have now confirmed four refit volunteers, with the possibility of a fifth not yet confirmed. Tom Crockard, Zoe Ombler and Ben Whinnett will be joining us for the full four and a half months, with Matt Almond coming for more than three months. We look forward to welcoming them to the team at the start of November.

Having so many more people working with Liz and Wolf on the full-time team should bring real benefits in terms of the efficiency and pace of the refit; but it will involve some changes to our normal use of sea staff volunteers and others who come for a few days here and there. We are just looking at options, but it is possible that we may not automatically keep the refit open at weekends: we may be able to encourage volunteers who can come on weekdays, and those who don’t need accommodation, and then we will arrange specific volunteers’ weekends when the full-time team go away and we take as many sea staff and others as possible for those two days. But nothing is finally decided – we need to see what works best for all concerned. We certainly do want to keep encouraging volunteer interest in and commitment to the refit, and create opportunities for people to earn assessment berths, so please don’t think we won’t need you this winter. But hopefully we won’t be desperate for help for weeks on end!

The refit starts on Monday 3rd November, and we have a week in which to get all the kit off the boat and move into the rented refit house in Hamble (rather larger than in previous years). However, with the full-time team just starting and settling in that week, Liz doesn’t need large numbers of extra volunteers at that stage.

John Laing will be moved round to the Hamble on November 10th, masts lifted out on the 11th, and the vessel herself lifted on the 12th.

Liz will be in charge of refit bookings this year, rather than Wolf. From 8th November you can call her on 07990 518915 to book yourself in or discuss dates (don’t call before then as we haven't had a chance to work out what we need and when); and I’ll also use future editions of this bulletin to announce dates when we definitely need additional volunteers.

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!

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* End of season drinks – 2nd November
We’ll be having drinks on board John Laing on the evening of Sunday 2nd November in Ocean Village, to celebrate the end of the season. Let me know if you want to come; but if you need to stay on board overnight, call Wolf beforehand on 07771 771864 to make sure there’s a bunk for you. Bring a bottle!

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* Shorebased training weekend 2009 - replies needed
We are hoping to run the OYT South 2009 shorebased training weekend on 7/8 February 2009, though we are just waiting for final confirmation on the venue booking – apart from the Sea Survival course, which will definitely be on that weekend.

I hope that in the next couple of weeks I will have final confirmation of dates and be able to give more information about prices, but for the moment it would be very useful if people could email me to say which courses you would like to do, with an order of preference as some courses will have to run on the same day – if you let me know now I will aim to minimise clashes for the most popular combinations. Also, we won’t run every course unless we get sufficient interest, so please tell me what you want so that your chosen course stays on the list!

Options 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. Full two-day course 7 & 8 February 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.

Dave “Tigger” Heffer is also planning to run a 2-day Powerboat Level II course sometime over the winter, though not on the same weekend as the other courses – let me know if you might be interested.

All these courses are open to anyone, although if courses are over-subscribed, priority is given to active OYT South members and those planning to join our sea staff.

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* Well done Liz!
While on the subject of shorebased courses, well done to our staff bosun, Liz, who passed her Yachtmaster Theory course last week.

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* Tall Ships 2009
Places are selling well for the most adventurous voyages on our 2009 programme – the Tall Ships race series in the Baltic. These voyages see John Laing cruising with or competing against other sail training vessels crewed by young people from all over the world – from the huge square riggers down to the smallest yachts, half the size of John Laing. Every port has fantastic maritime festivals, and the whole thing is truly the experience of a lifetime. John Laing is entitled to carry up to four 15-year olds on these voyages; all other crew members must be aged 16-25.

The 2009 voyages are:

Race 1: 4-13 July, Gdynia (Poland) to St Petersburg (Russia), 9 nights, £650 plus travel.
Cruise in company: 13-25 July, St Petersburg (Russia) to Turku (Finland), 12 nights, £865 plus travel.
Race 2: 25 July - 2 August, Turku (Finland) to Klaipeda (Lithuania), 8 nights, £575 plus travel.

Gdynia should be a superb festival, if our experience in nearby Szczecin two years ago is anything to go by. St Petersburg is a spectacular, not-to-be-missed destination, and the cruise in company takes us through one of the most beautiful sailing areas John Laing has ever seen, with time to explore before the Turku festival. The Lithuanian city of Klaipeda is an historic Baltic trading post with a fascinating culture and history, surrounded by beautiful Baltic beaches.

John Laing spends three days in each of the host ports, enough time for both the outgoing and incoming crew to enjoy the festival, see the city and join parties and other activities with all the other vessels’ crews.

For more information, see here. And contact the office to reserve a place.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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".

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* Sea staff assessments 2009 - for new potential watchleaders
If you have already been recommended to become a new member of John Laing’s volunteer watch leading team (i.e. if you have had a recommendation from an adult voyage, or you are a crew member aged 18+ who sailed this year and was invited to train as sea staff), it would be helpful if you could confirm with me if you would definitely like to be considered for assessment in 2009, and if possible give me some idea of your likely availability. This doesn’t need to be in detail, but it’s good to know the difference between those who are potentially available at any time, versus those who are restricted to college holidays, for example. I won’t allocate places for a while (those who come and help at refit take priority) but it is helpful to have an idea of the level of demand. We generally have more people recommended to join the sea staff than there are places, so the people who stay in touch, email me, attend events etc., will generally be ahead of those who wait for us to chase you!

16 and 17 year olds who have been recommended as future relief bosuns should certainly think about coming to refit for a few days.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 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.

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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 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.

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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