John Laing in the 2006 ASTO Small Ships race - can she do even better this weekend? (photo:MAX)


OYT South bulletin 3rd October 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Financial appeal
As you will see from the refit project document (pdf), we still 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 to the Whirlwind Charitable Trust for a donation towards John Laing's sails.

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* Voyage news
The latest voyage was the annual trip for Parkside School - a group of boys around 12 years old, organised by teacher and volunteer third mate Hamish Lochhead. They went first to Cowes and then on to Weymouth, initially under motor but later enjoyed a pleasant sail with fair winds - and cruising in company with Duet, the original Ocean Youth Club boat from the 1960s, now sailing with the Cirdan Trust and this week skippered by Tom Bastable, formerly an OYT staff member. Great to see such a beautiful boat.

It was very sunny in Weymouth and John Laing’s crew were able to go ashore for beach games. The next morning they explored the town and bought souvenirs before leaving at lunchtime for an excellent sail back to the Solent, including a very fast night-time sail through the Needles Channel in big seas which some people enjoyed much more than others!

After another night in Cowes, they made their last passage up to Ocean Village in Force 7 winds. In contrast with the last bulletin, when we reported on around 400 yachts all out in the Solent at once, on this occasion there was just one other sailing vessel in sight. The average age of the Parkside group almost certainly makes them our youngest crew of the year, so they can be proud that they were out in weather that deterred most other people!

Such a young crew obviously needs a fair amount of looking after, so special thanks this week to the sea staff - Wolf, Liz, Kerry “Special K” McMillan, Di Roberts and Hamish – for a lot of hard work and support for the crew.

This weekend, John Laing is taking part in the ASTO Small Ships Race, competing against other sail training vessels of a similar size, crewed by young people. Best of luck for the race to John Laing and everyone on board! The forecast is for quite a lot of wind…..

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* Shorebased training weekend 2009
As in previous years, we plan to run a shore-based training weekend, probably in late January or February, offering recognised courses and qualifications required for volunteers sailing in John Laing. We’ll aim to offer as many courses as possible, depending on demand: please let me know a.s.a.p. which courses or qualifications you would most like to do, subject to dates. If you are interested in more than one course, please give me an order of preference, and I’ll aim to minimise any clashes (most courses take a full day, but we recommend the 2-day version of the sea survival course).

Options might 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. Yvonne Taylor is running this course on the weekend 7/8 February – full two-day course 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.

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* Corporate, teambuilding or client day sails - or just a great day out for a 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. If you prefer a day sail at a weekend, Saturday 26 September is also available. Email me for more information.

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* Everyclick - weirdly addictive
Those of us who are trying to give up on Google and other internet search engines in favour of Everyclick, which does just the same job while raising money for charity, are finding it oddly addictive. The search page gives an updated running total of funds raised for OYT South - it’s great to see the figure creeping up, while we do nothing more than the normal internet searches we would have done anyway. Ten people helping so far, but imagine what 100 users could do! The quality of search results seems fine - please give it a go and let me know what you think.

Here's how it works: you can raise money for OYT South just by searching the web, by using Everyclick instead of 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; 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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Refit 2008-9
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. Thanks to all those who have expressed an interest in joining the core team and volunteering for a longer period – the skipper is trying to meet potential core team volunteers and more information will be available shortly.

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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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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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* 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 70% 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 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 dozens 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
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 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 If there is interest in people taking over the group, 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 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