The refit tent comes down


OYT South bulletin 28th March 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* End of refit
We had a very busy final week of refit, loading vast amounts of gear back on board; cleaning and tidying; double-checking everything required for our annual inspection (without which we cannot operate as a sail training vessel); and moving out of the refit house and getting that thoroughly clean and tidy. Many thanks to Wolf, Liz, Max, Andy Royse, Lisa Davis, Eddie Harper, Annie Holt, Chris and Tristan, Jon Seddon, Chris Robinson, Paul Barber, Stuart Raynsford, Phoebe and Caz for lots of work during a week which, although very hectic, did not actually require any of the 1am finishes we have experienced at the end of previous refits!

As a result of almost five months’ hard work, the coding inspection went very well and John Laing is now in excellent condition to face another season’s hard sailing. This is an immense effort on the part of all our staff and volunteers, and we are immensely grateful to everyone who has helped in any way. Particular thanks are due to skipper Wolf, who has now presided over seven gruelling refits; to Liz the bosun, who had to take on a substantial management role and a lot of responsibility, despite this being her first full refit; to Laura the previous bosun, who ran the first couple of months of the refit; to Chris and Tristan, our engineering team; and to around 80 volunteers – with special mentions for Paul Barber, Max Parsonson and Matt Bland, who each worked as full-time volunteers for more than a couple of months (in Paul’s case, almost four months).

A few things were left on the boat or in the refit house by volunteers, and are now in the office waiting to be collected: a set of tools (possibly belonging to Geoff Lewis?); some rigger boots; and various other items. Please contact the office on 0845 365 6781 if you think any of this might be yours.

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* Voyage news
Last weekend was the “shakedown voyage” – an adult voyage for refit helpers which involves taking the boat out and checking that everything works. For some reason the team decided to go to Lymington, a harbour we don’t often visit, especially not at low water springs (the lowest tide of the cycle) which is what they had last weekend. As a result they expected to run aground a few times on the way in, and they were not disappointed. It was a very cold and snowy weekend, so thanks to everyone on board for braving the elements and ensuring that everything was in good working order.

Finally, last Monday, the stage was set for the first proper voyage of 2008, with a young crew. These came from various senior sections of the Girl Guides, and several of them had sailed with us last year. They were a lively and enthusiastic crew, despite conditions which were very much against them: the weather forecast kept ruling out options and then changing completely within 12 hours. The one consistent feature of the weather was that it was extremely cold. First mate Special K, who worked for a whole season on a boat in Scotland, still says that this week included her coldest day sail ever!

They started with a short night passage from Ocean Village round to Haslar, in Gosport, and then the next day did a lot of tacking and gybing practice on the way up to Cowes. This passage was enormously enlivened by the coastguard rescue helicopter, who asked to do an exercise with John Laing, involving landing one of their crewmen on our deck, which our crew much enjoyed. The next couple of days involved Solent day sails, ending up in Ocean Village both nights. Allegedly the chef Gordon Ramsay walked past in Ocean Village and actually looked at John Laing, to the great excitement of the crew (squeal factor high). There was also an exercise at sea which is noted in the logbook as “reefing and drenching drills”: when the sails are reefed, bundles of sailcloth on the boom can catch and store large quantities of rainwater, as crew member Rachael found out when standing under the boom at the wrong moment without her hood up!

A welcome respite from the cold, rain and sleet outside came with evenings of games and activities in harbour. A highlight was the After Eight game: hand out a chocolate After Eight to everyone; use various ruses to get people to handle and breathe on their After Eights until they are slightly warm and sticky; then tip your head back, place your After Eight on your forehead, and, without using your hands, twitch your face around to manoeuvre your After Eight into your mouth – as a race against everyone else.

Many thanks to this week’s sea staff: Wolf (plus Nic Crawford who skippered for a day), Special K, Liz, Dawn Marshall, Karen Harris (who made substantial progress towards her third mate’s assessment) and ex-bosun Dings, back for a one-off appearance as second mate.

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* Vessel tracking
John Laing’s vessel tracking system is active again: just look here for a map showing where John Laing is sailing, and click on the vessel icon for extra information such as latitude, longitude and current speed.

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* Volunteer sea staff needed
We have a vacancy for a second mate, or possibly an experienced third mate, able to join the boat on the evening on Sunday 20th April (crew join Mon 21st), finishing early afternoon Thurs 24th April. Starting and finishing in Ocean Village, crew tbc.

We also need a second mate for a voyage 9-14 June (sea staff join on the evening of June 8th), again starting and finishing in Ocean Village. The crew are from a charity in Tower Hamlets.

Email me if you can help with either of these voyages.

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* 2008 bookings - including short notice vacancies
Complete vacancies list:

16-20 April: Southampton, £255, 1 place available.
21-24 April: Southampton, £185, 12 places left tbc
5-9 May: Poole to Southampton, £255, 5 places left.
20-22 June (weekend): Southampton, £150, 6 places left (over-18s only).
13-20 July: Falmouth to Liverpool, £420. Up to 4 places left, depending on whether provisional bookings are confirmed.
11-22 August: Bergen to Den Helder, £660, 1 place left for Tall Ships Race 2.
8-13 Sept: Southampton, £315, 12 places left.
15-19 September: Southampton, £275, 12 places available.

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.

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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OYT South AGM 2008
The official notice and agenda for OYT South's Annual General Meeting on Friday 4th April at 1900hrs, in the Gosport office, is at the foot of this newsletter.

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Candidates standing for election to the Board of Trustees
According to the rules, a third of our Trustees have to stand down each year, in rotation, but can stand for re-election. This year it is the turn of Andy Royse and Caroline White to stand down; and Martin Skipper, who was co-opted during the year, also needs to resign and be formally elected. All three have confirmed that they wish to stand again.

In addition, OYT South has so far received notice of three people intending to stand for election to the Board of Trustees at the AGM.

There is no formal upper limit to the number of Trustees which OYT South can have. Members are free to vote for as many or as few of the candidates as they wish.

The three new candidates have each submitted a short statement for the benefit of members intending to vote:

Fiona Pankhurst
“International Marketing Communications Manager at Raymarine for the last 6 years, following a 6 year stint with Beneteau as their UK Operations Manager. An interesting spell before that saw business admin with a sailmaker, yacht broker, and rigger, and as sailing secretary running a large Winter event - I also had a couple of years or so running a pub and bistro. Other experience includes working in the charity world with the National Trust, Imperial Cancer Research Fund and Marie Curie Cancer Care; setting up a distribution centre, opening the first tranche of shops, and starting up a mail-order catalogue for them - this is when I really appreciated how volunteers can galvanise a cause. I love the freedom of sailing and the sea, now own a small 1970's vintage sailing cruiser with my husband and, as an ex-World Champion dinghy crew, still get pathetically competitive when passed by faster vessels (which happens a lot). I have seen the positive difference that learning to sail, becoming part of a team, and exposure to a completely different environment can make to young people and hope to play a useful part by bringing my business skills, contacts and knowledge to bear for the benefit of OYT South and the young people themselves.”

Fred Cole
“Currently UK Manager of the Yacht Division of International Paint, previously Sales Manager for International’s Commercial Marine Division. Trained as a Chemist, having worked for Unilever and Morgan Crucible plc in fields as diverse as cosmetics, emulsion chemistry and industrial lubricants.  Has experience in marketing, sales, project management, PR, sponsorships, business strategy, employee relations and general management. Outside of the workplace have been involved in local politics, voluntary organizations and supporting local schools. Have some experience of both cruising and racing sailing, but nowadays spend most of my leisure time in the world of historic military vehicles.”

Jeremy Burnett Rae
“While supposed to be working as a Legal and Compliance Director for Investment Managers, Jeremy Burnett Rae helps on charity Trustee Boards including a School Society, a Citizens Advice Bureau and a Ugandan Children’s Choir. He is an active member of the Little Ship Club, where he seems surprisingly close to a dubious retired seafaring character, Brown Gordon, who sometimes keeps an even more dubious tavern for the children: Jeremy says he just advises the drunken old pirate on Child Protection and Health & Safety Policies. He is a passive member at the Bar Yacht Club, with a Yachtmaster certificate so old that it included Morse Code. Living in Oxfordshire far from the sea and without a boat, he mostly sails small yachts but has tried everything from a scuba tow to a barquentine, which he says only sank later. Caz pretends that he volunteered for the refit on the only day when it was impossible to work, but booked him in to sail in September. While taking his radio certificate at OYT South, Martin and Caz steered him into doing legal work on OYT South’s formalities.”

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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, preferably in the Hamble or Southampton area if at all possible – can anyone help?

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2009 sailing programme

We are just in the process of preparing our 2009 sailing programme. If you have any very specific requirements for a voyage in 2009 - for example, a school might want a voyage to fit into a scheduled Activities Week - do let us know as soon as possible, and we'll try to write something suitable into the programme.

Just to get you excited in advance for summer 2009: we are hoping to take part in another Tall Ships race series in the Baltic. This will involve a number of voyages in June designed to get us to the start in Poland in early July (crew changeover ports still to be decided). We will then race from Gdynia to St Petersburg, in Russia, followed by a cruise to Turku, Finland, and then another race to Klaipeda, Lithuania, arriving in early August. We will then have a series of voyages in August to bring John Laing back to the UK (again, crew changeover ports still to be decided, though we are tempted by Copenhagen at some point…).

If you might be interested in taking part in any of this - and especially if you might want to make a full group booking - do talk to us now about options. We are also considering making one of the voyages in June, on the way to Poland, an adult voyage - worth considering for over-25s who don't normally get this sort of chance to sail to more exciting places with us!

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Financial appeal
Although the refit is over, the bills will keep coming in for some time yet, so the fundraising task goes on. See here  for how to make a donation. To see the sorts of things that a small donation (anything from £1 upwards) would buy, see here. For larger donations (up to £50,000!) see here (pdf) - which has recently been updated.

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!

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* Volunteer sea staff training (on board John Laing)
I now have one space left on the mates' training weekend, 25-27 April, £150 (joining Southampton at 8pm on Friday, ending at 5pm on the Sunday). Suitable for current mates and new prospective sea staff. Please email me NOW if you would like this berth.

The longer adult training voyage, 29 April to 4 May, is FULL.

We do have 4 spaces left for the September staff training voyage: 19-21 Sept (£150). Email me for bookings.

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“Working with young people” course
Brian Eyres and Steve Lacey are offering a FREE pilot course on “Working with young people”, on Saturday 12th April in the Gosport office, 11am to 4pm, open to all OYT South sea staff. Email, or call 01929 401696 (evenings only) if you are interested.

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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 this year's refit has been the presence of volunteers who have been 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. This week, a girl coming on her own for a voyage in April put a note on Facebook – and within a couple of days had a reply from another girl doing the same voyage. Other people have used these sites to plan travel to and from and the boat, especially for overseas voyages, if they don’t want to travel alone.

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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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The Directors of Ocean Youth Trust South
hereby give formal notice that the
Ocean Youth Trust South
Annual General Meeting
will take place on

Friday 4 April 2008 at 19.00 hrs

At OYT South Office, 8, North Meadow,
Weevil Lane, Gosport PO12 1BP


1.                  Welcome

2                   Apologies of absence received

3                   Minutes of last meeting 18 February 2007

4                   Chairman's Report

5                   Treasurer's Report, presentation of accounts for year ending 31 October                      2007

6                   Resignation of Directors on rotational basis

7                   Nominations for Directors/ Trustees

8                   Confirmation of appointment of Auditor

9                   Items previous advised with 7 days of AGM for inclusion of meeting

10                 Date and time of next meeting

11                 Close of meeting

Please note: - Everyone is welcome to attend, but only paid up members may vote on any resolution presented to the members. You may become a member on the night by appropriate application and payment.

Light refreshments will be available before the commencement of the meeting.

Any item you wish to be raised at the AGM must be forwarded in writing 7 days prior to meeting.
Please advise the office (Tel: 0845 365 6781 or e-mail if you will be able to attend as this will allow us to make appropriate arrangements.

Thank you.

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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