Busy days in the Solent


OYT South bulletin 26th September 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Southampton Boat Show - new readers' welcome and introduction
Lots of new readers this week because of all those who signed up at the Southampton Boat Show (and many thanks to the stand volunteers for making this possible).

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.

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.

You can even read back issues of this newsletter on the website - right back to November 2003.

OYT South has a “club” ethos and atmosphere. This means that quite a few people know each other and have sailed together before; but we appreciate that this may seem daunting to new people who don’t yet know anyone. However, you are always welcome to email us, ask questions or attend events. We hope that you will quickly find things that interest you, and that you will want to become involved with OYT South.

If you have any questions, please do email - or contact the office.

If you decide, however, that OYT South is not for you, just reply to this email version of this newsletter, putting “unsubscribe” at the top, and you will be removed from our mailing list.

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David Salmon retirement

David Salmon is retiring this autumn, having been General Manager of OYT South since March 2000, and previously assistant Fleet Manager of the Ocean Youth Club. His last day in the office will be next Tuesday; but we will be arranging an opportunity for people to say thank you, goodbye and best wishes to David around the end of the current sailing season. However, if you would like to contribute to David's leaving present, please send cheques payable to Ocean Youth Trust South c/o Martin Skipper, 44 Chamberlain Road, Weymouth, Dorset DT4 9EY.

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* Voyage news
Last weekend saw a hectic training voyage for new potential watch leaders. It felt almost like the first sunny days of the season (the bosun woke me up on Saturday morning to tell me there was a big round yellowy-orange thing in the sky and she couldn’t think what it was), which brought out virtually every sailor in the Solent and meant that teaching big boat skills and drills was a bit like giving someone their first HGV driving lesson in the middle of a city centre rush hour. We were trying to do reefs and sail hoists with hundred of small yachts bearing down on us from every direction. However, at some cost in frayed nerves for the skipper, we did have an excellent weekend, with some great new people. There were several with really extensive sailing experience who should quickly start sailing as second mates, with the potential to become first mates before too long; and others with less experience but plenty of enthusiasm who should make good third mates. We gave them a hard-working weekend in order that everyone should have a chance to lead a range of manoeuvres, so although we only sailed from Southampton to Cowes and back, a great deal of experience was packed into a short distance. Many thanks to sea staff Wolf, Mattie, Chris, Liz, Jonathan Cheshire and Caz.

Monday saw the start of our annual siblings’ voyage for CHASE Children’s Hospice, a project we have been involved with for several years. CHASE, like our other hospice clients, does fabulous work with the families of sick children, and activities like our voyages are vital in giving young people an opportunity to form bonds with others who are going through similar experiences. This year CHASE brought their usual enthusiastic group of young people – some of whom had sailed with us before – plus two lovely group leaders.

They spent Monday night on the Isle of Wight, anchoring for lunch next day in Freshwater Bay – a new location for some of our sea staff! Then they sailed on to Poole that night, back to Cowes the next day, then Portsmouth, and finally back to Southampton last night. Highlights included periods of baking sunshine; Grant’s 15th birthday party, with balloons and cake; and a dockyard tour in Portsmouth. Here the general conclusion was that HMS Victory looked too difficult to sail and that they’d be better off sticking with John Laing!

Four RYA Competent Crew certificates were earned during the voyage, and five Start Yachting certificates, and the voyage ended today in great high spirits. Many thanks to sea staff Craig Burton, Liz, Kerry “Special K” McMillan, Cathy Lacey and Dave Blogg.

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* Cami’s voyage diary
See here for a crew member’s account of her voyage this summer.

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* New Boat layout
As some of you will know, OYT South is making long-term plans to build a new sail training boat. We are still some years from any launch; but we have been working hard on the design, because in order to start serious fundraising, we need to be able to show potential donors what we have in mind. Last week, skipper Wolf (assisted by Matt Bland, Andy Viney and Di Roberts) laid out the proposed deck and interior with masking tape, full-size, in a shed (many thanks to David Marshall and to Nicola from MDL for organising the space for us). This allowed people to look round and get an idea of the size and scale, as well as thinking in detail about how the boat will work. Thanks to all those who turned up and made helpful comments, which are all being fed back to Merf and Allen at Owen Clarke Design to make amendments as needed. It’s clearly going to be an incredibly exciting project. The formal fundraising launch is still a little way off but if you know any individual or company which might be interested in major sponsorship, do please contact OYT South now.

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Refit 2008-9
Until we have a new boat, a major task is keeping John Laing in good working order. Plans are now developing for the 2008-9 refit which starts on Monday 3 November 2008 and ends on Friday 20 March 2009.

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!

We shall be needing the usual volunteers to help at refit – details will be announced nearer the time for those who want to come for days, weekends or short periods; but if you might be available for a longer period of a few weeks or even months, see here for details on the core refit team, and email me now if you might be interested. We have had some excellent applicants already so don’t leave it too late if you want to be considered.

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* Financial appeal
As you will see from the refit project document, we do need substantial funding 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.

Huge thanks this week for a generous refit donation from a friend and supporter who prefers not to be named.

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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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* Sea staff needed this season
Thanks to people who have helped fill all but one of the volunteer sea staff vacancies this season. The last gap left is for a first mate, 25 Oct to 2 November – qualified first mates please email me urgently if you can help.

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Corporate, teambuilding or client day sails
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.

The next corporate 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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* Everyclick
There are now nine of us raising money for OYT South by using Everyclick – and we are making around 50p a day for the charity between us, or up to £180 per year. If more people start using it, we could quickly be bringing in enough to buy significant refit items. 1,500 people receive this bulletin: if just one in ten readers switch to Everyclick for your web searches, we could raise over £3,000 per year!

Here’s how it works: you can raise money for OYT South just by searching the web, by using Everyclick instead of Google or any other search engine. It doesn’t cost either you or the charity anything at all; but half of the advertising revenue from Everyclick Search goes to charities chosen by you. Go to http://www.everyclick.com; 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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Chris Ellis award – win ££s towards sailing next year!
If you have enjoyed a voyage this year 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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Maintenance day Saturday 11th October, Southampton - help needed
Call Wolf on 07771 771864 if you can come and help with maintenance on board John Laing.

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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 OVER HALF 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 and 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.

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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* Adult adventure voyages 2009- NEW availability
We have finally confirmed two very special adventure voyages for adults in 2009:

21-28 June, Ipswich to Kiel (Germany), £750 – places available
28 June to 4 July: Kiel to Gdynia (Poland), £750 – provisionally reserved

As you can see, these prices are higher than we would charge to young people for equivalent voyages. This is partly because youth voyages are subsidised by fundraising which cannot be used for adult voyages, and partly to give us a surplus on these voyages which will be used in turn to subsidise further places for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. So you can have a holiday and do some good at the same time!

The second voyage is potentially booked up already; but the first one has places available and we are taking bookings NOW. Weather permitting, this could be an excellent trip, with the Dutch inland waterways, or the Dutch and German islands - "Riddle of the Sands" country - all possible destinations along the way, plus a gentle cruise through the Kiel Canal. Contact the office for details.

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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 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.

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Essential information for sea staff - fog navigation and MOB recovery
Skipper Wolf has asked that all sea staff take a look at a recent document produced by the MCA about fog navigation - a really good summary and reminder. You can download a PDF here, or read the same document on the MCA website here.

Also, if you haven't already seen this, John Laing now has a Dacon recovery system as one of the options available for the skipper to use to recover a man overboard. A document describing how to rig and use the Dacon, with photographs showing an exercise on board John Laing, is in the members-only section of this website. This is essential reading for all sea staff as you need to know how this system works before the next time you sail. If you have forgotten your password to the members-only section, please email me now!

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Local support groups – new officers needed for Southampton group
The Southampton Support Group has been dormant for a number of years, though it does still have a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer with a bank account. The individuals involved still support OYT South in their own ways and will continue to do so; but it has been decided that new officers should take over the group and any OYT South member interested (and they do not need to live in Southampton) should contact Peter Hughes (chairman) on 023 80842165 or hughes@langwaite.freeserve.co.uk. If there is interest in people taking over the group by mid-September, it is proposed an AGM is called in October to formalise the transfers. If there is no interest the group will be formally closed, with the remaining funds transferred to OYT South.
Other 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 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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“I have made a bunch of mates that I hope to keep in touch with - would love to come again" Joe, 13