John Laing's floorboards being worked on in Fraser Old's garage  - thanks Fraser!


OYT South bulletin 29th February 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Sir Maurice Laing
Sir Maurice Laing, who died last week at the age of 90, was a longstanding and immensely generous supporter of the Ocean Youth Club and later the Ocean Youth Trust. It was he who provided the yard for the building of the Robert Clark ketches, the previous generation of OYC vessels sailing in the 1970s and 1980s. He was the major donor behind John Laing, which was named after his father and named by his wife, Lady Laing, in 1990. OYT South continued to receive substantial donations from a charitable trust associated with the Laing family for many years, and Sir Maurice, a keen sailor, continued to take an interest in our work.

Sir Maurice was also immensely distinguished in other fields: the first chairman of the CBI, he was part of British industry's powerful elite but even in the 1960s was speaking out on behalf of ordinary workers: "Employees are human beings and not just resources," he said, and must be treated "at all times with equity and fairness" - perhaps a feeling which grew from having started work in the family firm, aged 17, as an apprentice builder on £1 a week. Wartime government contracts to build new airfields and barrage-balloon stations gave him a chance to rise fast, and by the age of 21, he had 5,000 men working for him. He then managed to join the RAF, despite the opposition of his father, who pulled strings at the Air Ministry to try to stop him. As a flying officer he piloted the second British glider carrying troops across the Rhine and was lucky to survive. In peacetime, he led the Laing company to build the first section of motorway in the UK, part of the M1; he built Coventry's new cathedral (on a no-profit contract) and was a director of the Bank of England for 17 years.

Everyone who has enjoyed sailing with the OYC or OYT owes Sir Maurice an enormous debt of gratitude. Our sympathies go to his wife and family.

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* Refit help desperately needed - sickness and other problems mean we don't have enough volunteers to complete the jobs
Having lost some key volunteers to illness and other unavoidable problems, we now have a critical shortage of volunteers with just two weeks to go before John Laing goes back in the water. There is more painting to do; the tent may come down as early as next Friday; and we have to get masses of kit back on the boat. PLEASE come and help if you can - we REALLY need you!

Call 07771 771864 if you can do anything between today and March 21st, when the shakedown voyage starts - just three weeks away. Do leave a message if Wolf doesn't answer, as he'll always call you back.
If you have never been to one of our refits before, you can find more information here. The key thing you need to know is that our refits require an inexhaustible supply of volunteer helpers, both skilled and unskilled. In 2006-7, ninety-five people contributed a total of 381 days of volunteer labour, and we need to match or beat that figure this year.

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* Refit news
Two weeks' news this time, as I was working on the boat myself last week and couldn't write the bulletin.

The team over the last fortnight has included Wolf, Liz, Paul, Max, Matt, Craig "Princess" Dickerson and Kirsty, Penny Sykes, Dave "Tigger" Heffer, Mark Boggis, Anthony Fawcett, Chris and Tristan from Contact Marine, Annie Holt, Janet Riddell, Eddie Harper and Caz. Fraser Old has also been working hard at home and has finished all the work on the wooden floorboards.

We have now reached the stage of the refit where weeks of preparation are over and the painting seems to proceed at a great pace. In the last two weeks the team have done all the antifouling (including test areas of a new product being trialled by International Paint); painted the topsides, the boot top and rubbing strake, the foredeck, the coachroof and its sides, the saloon and the navigation area. The rudder is back in and has been sanded and prepped, and is now being antifouled; the guardrails have been redone; all the wood in the forward accommodation has been sanded and varnished; the cockpit locker lids are being fixed; new morse cables have been put in; the gearbox oil hoses have been taken off and will be replaced shortly; the service battery terminals have been stripped, cleaned, greased and reassembled; the cockpit is prepped and ready to paint; the bunk numbers are back on and everything else in the crew cabins is being put back in place; the steering gear is in position but not yet attached; the main halyard has been shortened (where the wire was reaching the winch drum) and put back; a new staysail sheet has been made; a new main topping lift is being made; and new jackstays are being made (we are going back to wire ones as the webbing ones proved too wide for easy clipping on and off). There is lots more happening and it is all really busy, so please come and lend a hand!

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* 2008 bookings - short notice vacancies
Owing to a group cancellation, we now have a full voyage available for 12 people: 21-24 April, starting and finishing in Southampton. We are very anxious to get this voyage filled again, otherwise it risks cancellation - please help! It's only £185 per person; but bursaries may be available if people cannot afford even this much. Please contact the office NOW if you or anyone you know might be interested. We could sell this as an adult voyage if we cannot fill it with under-25s.

We also have possible spaces for 13-20 July, Falmouth to Liverpool, £420. We have a provisional group booking but it has not been confirmed - please contact the office NOW if you might be interested. This will be a fantastic voyage in a cruising area we don't often reach, ending with a chance to take part in the fabulous Tall Ships festival in Liverpool. If places definitely become available, this voyage may fill quickly, so it's well worth getting your name on the reserves' list now.

Complete vacancies list:

16-20 April: Southampton, £255, 1 place left
21-24 April: Southampton, £185, 12 places left (adult OR youth voyage possible)
5-9 May: Poole to Southampton, £255, 4 places left.
20-22 June (weekend): Southampton, £150, 6 places left (over-18s only).
13-20 July: Falmouth to Liverpool, £420. Places left tbc.
3-11 August: Maloy to Bergen, £520. 1 place possibly available.
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, places available tbc.
12-16 Oct: Southampton, £250, 12 places left.
17-19 Oct (weekend): Southampton, £115, 12 places left.

If you can't find what you want on this availability list, do please keep checking this 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
Small Ships race
Special funding for crew members from outside the UK.

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Financial appeal
The refit is our current fundraising priority, as there is a great deal to do to keep John Laing in good condition. 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.

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* Volunteer sea staff training (on board John Laing)
The April and May sea staff training and induction voyages are now FULL. I'll advertise places here if anyone drops out.

We do have 5 or 6 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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Job advertisement: OYT South General Manager 
- details available
The advertisement for the post of General Manager has now been widely publicised. :A full job description, person specification and details of how to apply are on our website here. Anyone who has trouble opening a pdf file can email me for a copy. If you are interested in joining the team, with a view to taking over management of OYT South's shore-based operations when David Salmon retires in November, please read the documents and apply with a CV and covering letter before 14th March 2008.

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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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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 is interested in helping to set up a Plymouth / SW support group if others in the area would like to get involved - email Andy if you might be interested.
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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Trustees needed
OYT South is run by a Board of Directors consisting of a number of unpaid Trustees. The Trustees are responsible for setting the charity's strategy and priorities, overseeing the management of the Trust, and ensuring good governance. The Charity Commission website has some good guidance on the duties and responsibilities of Trustees.

Trustees are elected by members at OYT South's AGM - the next one is Friday 4th April, 7 for 7.30pm, to be followed by a glass of wine in the new Gosport office.

The Trust is actively seeking to strengthen the Board by adding a number of new Trustees at this AGM. The present Trustees bring considerable expertise in terms of sailing, sail training and youth work; but as we entering a period of significant change and growth, we urgently need people with experience of business, management, finance, strategic development, marketing and PR. Anyone interested should email the chairman, Martin Skipper.

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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 now 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