Den Helder parade of sail (photo: Sail Training International)


OYT South bulletin 29th August 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Financial appeal
It’s that time of year: we really need to bring in some more funds in order to ensure that we can keep up with the work needed on John Laing 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.

Huge thanks this week to Revd Christopher Courtauld for a generous donation. 

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* Southampton Boat Show - thanks for offers of help but more needed!
Thank you to all those people who have volunteered to help on our stand. The office team are going to try to put together a volunteers’ rota today, so you should hear back from them shortly. If you don’t hear, please do drop them a quick email just to make sure your offer of help hasn’t slipped through the net. We do still have a few spaces where we need extra volunteers so if you haven’t yet been in touch, please do so as soon as possible. The Southampton Boat Show runs from 12-21 September, and we want a good team of people every day to help enthuse potential clients, crew, parents, volunteers and sponsors. Young people are welcome as well as adult volunteers. You'll get time to look round the rest of the show and dream about the yacht you'll buy when you win the lottery...

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* Voyage news
John Laing is back in the UK after two months overseas!

The latest voyage was for another north London group organised by Margaret Smith, one of our longest-serving clients and a great supporter for many years. They joined the boat in Den Helder and caught the tail end of the Tall Ships festivities, including a superb fireworks display, and also took part in this year’s final parade of sail – which was entertainingly chaotic as the entire fleet struggled to keep to their prescribed stations!

John Laing then sailed and motored through the inland sea to Den Oever, where they spent a night in a marina before proceeding through a series of locks to Amsterdam, where everyone had time ashore.

The inland waterways gave the crew a deceptively easy start to the voyage, and when they finally emerged into the North Sea at Ijmuiden, they found Force 7 winds and very rough conditions – first mate Dyfrig says it was the roughest he had seen for a little while. Initial excitement about the big waves kept people enthused through the first stages, but eventually the thrill died down and the buckets came out before a tough night’s sailing round the wind farms. All credit to those crew members who were able to keep working and steering throughout their watches!

The original plan was to make for Ipswich, but the wind direction proved to be exactly wrong for that, with Lowestoft the easiest alternative. So they arrived there at 2am on Wednesday and all had a rest before moving into the marina and cleaning the boat in the morning.

As ever with Margaret Smith’s voyages, this was an excellent group of young people, with some great characters and lots of enthusiasm. Virtually all earned their RYA Start Yachting certificates and there were several who should be encouraged to sail with us again.

Many thanks to sea staff Nic Crawford, Liz, Dyfrig, Ben Martin and Mark Boggis.

John Laing is currently doing a voyage for the Doncaster school where second mate Sarah “Tee Hee” Tredinnick teaches, and early this morning they were coming through the Dover Straits – back in the English Channel for the first time since 14th July!

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* 2008 berth availability
There is still a possibility of spaces on one last voyage this year, 15-19 September, £275 - call the office if you are interested. We’ve had some interest but not all the bookings are confirmed.

Anyone else wanting to sail in 2008 will have to go on the short-notice reserve list – well worth doing as it could lead to some cut-price sailing if someone else drops out of a voyage! Contact the office to put your name on this list.

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* Mates training weekend 19-21 September
I’ve had applications for all the berths on this voyage, but three have still to pay or send a booking form, and I only have one reserve, so it might still be worth putting your name on the reserve list if you might like to come! This is open to current OYT South mates, or to people who might be interested in joining our volunteer sea staff. It starts at 8pm on Friday 19 September in Southampton, and ends at 5pm on Sunday in the same place. Cost £150. Minimum age 16. Email me to express an interest.

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Day sail Sunday 14 September - places available
OYT South runs occasional FREE adult day sails to enable people to come along and find out more about what we do. The next one will be on Sunday 14 September, starting at 9.30am and finishing at 5pm in Ocean Village, Southampton. Email me to apply. Priority is given to those working with young people who might be interested in booking future group voyages; to existing or potential sponsors or donors or other supporters; and to anyone who might be interested in working with or helping OYT South in any way. Please spread the word among any friends, contacts, colleagues etc. who might be interested in our work!

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* Sea staff needed this season
Thanks to those who have offered to help fill sea staff gaps this season. As things stand, we only have one or two spaces left, but since other people have some flexibility, there may be choices on offer. We may need a third mate for 12-16 October, OR a second OR third mate OR bosun for 17-19 October, OR a bosun for 20-24 October. Email me a.s.a.p. if you might be interested in any of these voyages. Please note that you must be a qualified member of OYT South sea staff to apply for any of these berths.

Sea staff who wanted to sail this year and can’t find a berth on dates that suit you: it might be worth contacting OYT Scotland on 0141 221 1200 – I believe they still have some vacancies.

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Having a gap year? Not working over the winter?
OYT South is looking for two or more volunteers to work on our vessel refit for periods lasting from a month to four months between November 2008 and March 2009. Food and accommodation will be provided, and volunteers will gain skills and experience in boat maintenance. Many of our previous volunteers have gone on to careers in sail training or related industries.

See here for details, and email me to express an interest and for more information.

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* OYT South van – thanks to Pete Croly
Many thanks to Pete Croly for removing the old transfers from our van. Wolf and Liz should now receive fewer offers of work as kitchen fitters…

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* Trinity House Career Development Bursaries for sail training
100% funding available for courses and qualifications ranging from Coastal Skipper to Master 3000tns. You need to be committed to Sail Training and have sailed with an ASTO member organisation (such as OYT South). Interviews to be held on 13th October, in Southampton. Visit ASTO's website or call 02392 503222 for more information.

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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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2009 bookings - crew aged 12-25
See here for details and prices for 2009 voyages.

Voyages are selling very fast, with OVER HALF of the places gone already, and if 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.

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
As you may have seen, we have been advertising some possibilities for very special adventure voyages for adults in 2009. We have now had a firm reservation for one of these voyages from a full group booking: 28 June to 4 July: Kiel to Gdynia (Poland), so unless any of this group drops out, this voyage is no longer available. However, we had received a number of enquiries from individuals interested in an adult voyage, who were waiting to hear if this group was going to confirm or not. Now that this voyage is full, we are looking at offering the previous voyage to adults as an alternative.

If there is sufficient interest, then 21-28 June, Ipswich to Kiel, will be offered to over-18s - please let us know if you would like to join this voyage. 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.

While our priority is always to offer sailing to young people aged 12-25, this voyage falls during school term time and would generally be hard to sell to school-age crews; but a confirmed booking from a young group, if available, would take priority. Crew members of college or university age would of course be eligible to sail whether these become youth or adult voyages (and would be eligible for the Standard Crew price which applies to anyone aged 25 or under. The subsidy involved in this is not available to over-25s, who will be asked to pay rather more - please 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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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 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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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