Sunset at sea


OYT South bulletin 31st October 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Voyage news
Two short half-term voyages to finish off the season, which will end on Sunday.

The first trip involved nine crew members backed by our Isle of Wight support group (thank you!) plus three boys who had done a number of voyages with us before. They went to Cowes on the first night – not much of an adventure for the crew members who lived there, but the easiest place for a short first-day sail! After that they visited Gosport and then Poole – and the highlight, to great excitement, was doing 14 knots (practically warp speed) in the dark, on the way back from Poole. Several of this crew were nominated as possible future sea staff, and seven RYA Start Yachting certificates and one RYA Competent crew certificates were earned, to go with three people who already had theirs.

Many thanks to the sea staff for their hard work this week, especially as they were one staff member short due to last-minute illness: Nic Crawford, Kerry “Special K” McMillan, Ben Gillett, and Sarah Brown, returning to us after a few years away.

The current voyage only started yesterday, for a crew from a youth club in Kent. They spent last night in Hamble, and are currently heading to Poole – more news on their adventures in the next bulletin.

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End of season drinks – 2nd November
We’ll be having drinks on board John Laing on the evening of Sunday 2nd November in Ocean Village, to celebrate the end of the season. Let me know if you want to come; but if you need to stay on board overnight, call Wolf beforehand on 07771 771864 to make sure there’s a bunk for you. Bring a bottle!

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* Shorebased training weekend 2009 - dates confirmed - more bookings needed
We can now confirm that the 2009 OYT South training weekend will be held on the 7th and 8th February, in the Gosport Sea Cadet Unit (except for the Sea Survival course, which is at KTY Yachts in Universal Marina).

All courses depend on us filling enough places before we can guarantee to run them, but the provisional programme is as follows:

Saturday 7th AND Sunday 8th: ISAF two-day Sea Survival course (£150). Instructor Yvonne Taylor. This covers the basic sea survival course on the Saturday, which can be done on its own (see below) if you want to do something else on Sunday. The Sunday part of this course also includes the one-day RYA first aid course, among other things, although we are also offering this as a separate course (see below).

Saturday 7th: 3 options for one-day courses.
a) One-day sea survival (£75). Instructor Yvonne Taylor. This course includes the use of flares and a practice session with a liferaft in a swimming pool. Recommended for all sea staff at all levels. Lots of places left.

b) GMDSS / VHF radio (£50 + £22 exam fee). Instructor Mark “Wolf” Todd. The updated radio licence. Recommended for third mates, required for second mates and above. 6 places left.

c) Diesel engine (price and instructor tbc). Recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above. I have already had enough enquiries to fill this course but please keep asking, as people may drop out – or there may be sufficient interest to run a second course on the Sunday.

Sunday 8th: 3 options for one-day courses.
a) Radar (£60). Instructor John. Recommended for first and second mates, required for skippers. At least 5 places left.

b) Food hygiene (£45). Instructor Madge Middleton. Required for all sea staff. At least 5 places left.

c) First aid (£45). Instructor Tony Salmon. Recommended for ALL sea staff, required for second mates and above, compulsory updates every 3 years - check when your certificate goes out of date. 7 places left.

Email me to book any of these courses.

As in previous years, lunches will be provided at the sea cadet unit for a small cost (those doing sea survival will have other arrangements); and we’ll aim to organise a big social evening and a meal in Gosport on the Saturday. We don’t have accommodation available but if anyone living locally could offer a bed or a sofa, please let me know.

Dave "Tigger" Heffer is also planning to run a 2-day Powerboat Level II course sometime over the winter, though not on the same weekend as the other courses - let me know if you might be interested.

All these courses are open to anyone, although if courses are over-subscribed, priority is given to active OYT South members and those planning to join our sea staff.

I’ll start asking for payment only once all details are confirmed and I’m certain we have enough people to guarantee that your course will run.

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* Financial appeal
A very good week for fundraising, with lots of people to thank. I can now confirm that the extremely generous donation I reported three weeks ago came from the Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation in memory of Sir Maurice Laing, who had a long-standing interest in our work. Sir Maurice, who died in February, was the major donor behind John Laing, and the boat was called after his father and named by his wife, Lady Laing, at the launch in 1990. Enormous thanks to the Foundation for all their support.

New this week: the Curatus Trust has once again made a tremendous contribution towards our refit – £9,999. This is organised by Chris Lane, who has brought terrific support to OYT South over a number of years. Huge thanks to Chris and the Curatus trustees.

Another donation from a familiar source was £5,000 this week from the Dulverton Trust, who have been kind and interested supporters for some time – huge thanks to them too.

And this week has also brought two pledges of funding from new sources. The Peter Dixon Charitable Trust has pledged £7,280 for a bursary funding next year, to be known as the Peter Dixon Mohawk Voyage Programme. Peter Dixon was the captain of the destroyer HMS Mohawk, which was sunk in the Mediterranean during the Second World War, with the loss of 43 lives. Peter Dixon survived and went on to take a great interest in helping under-privileged young people. Special thanks to John Boldero for putting us in contact with the Trust.

And we have also had a pledge of £2,000 from Geotechnical Engineering and Marine Surveys (GEMS), the company which employs one of our volunteers, Rob Harwood. Rob says he just put on a good suit, went into the boss’s office with a copy of our refit plan, and asked for a contribution. If others could try the same approach in their own companies, we would really appreciate it!

We are still some way short of the final total we need to raise in order to complete all the refit work planned 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.

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* Calling everyone in the Portsmouth News area!
The Portsmouth News, in partnership with Barclays, has £10,000 to give away to registered charities in the area. If you live in the Portsmouth News area, please nominate Ocean Youth Trust South here. It’s a simple online form. You will need to give them our charity number (1079959), and write something about the aim of the charity. Officially that’s “to use adventure under sail as a personal development opportunity for young people aged 12-25, the great majority from disadvantaged or deserving backgrounds”, but you can add your own words, if you like. You have to specify how much you are applying for, and how exactly it would be spent. One good option would be to ask for funding towards essential safety equipment we need for John Laing: new lifejackets (£684.80); safety harnesses to keep crew members clipped on to the boat (£720); and new and replacement safety items for the liferafts (£1,119.95). That comes to £2,524.75 but the maximum you can ask for is £2,500 - that’s the closest I can get! [STOP PRESS: the first person to try this has just told me that she had to phone the details through as they forgot to put a “submit” button on the webpage – hopefully they will now put this right!]

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Everyclick – please sign up!
The easiest way to fundraise - if only on a small scale! Everyclick is a search engine which you use just like Google, but which gives half its advertising revenue to charities chosen by users. Every time you do an internet search you can watch the total funds raised creeping up. Just 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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* Raise money while shopping online
There is a new website,, which links to over 1,000 retailers (including most of the big High Street names) - if you shop online here, the retailers pay a commission, which is split 50:50 between funditfrog and the good cause of your choice. Ocean Youth Trust South is now on the searchable list of good causes. I haven't tried it yet so I'm not officially endorsing it, but a lot of big-name charities are on the list. If you want to try it out, do let me know how it goes. Thanks to Neil Fairbrother for drawing my attention to it.

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* Refit 2008-9
Refit starts next Monday, with the new core refit ream of Ben, Matt, Zoe and Tom joining Wolf and Liz.

For those who didn’t see last week’s bulletin: having so many more people working on the full-time team should bring real benefits in terms of the efficiency and pace of the refit; but it will involve some changes to our normal use of sea staff volunteers and others who come for a few days here and there. We are just looking at options, but it is possible that we may not automatically keep the refit open at weekends: we may be able to encourage volunteers who can come on weekdays, and those who don't need accommodation, and then we will arrange specific volunteers' weekends when the full-time team go away and we take as many sea staff and others as possible for those two days. But nothing is finally decided - we need to see what works best for all concerned. We certainly do want to keep encouraging volunteer interest in and commitment to the refit, and create opportunities for people to earn assessment berths, so please don't think we won't need you this winter. But hopefully we won't be desperate for help for weeks on end!

The job for next week is to get all the kit off the boat and move into the refit house, but with the full-time team just starting and settling in that week, Liz doesn't need large numbers of extra volunteers at that stage.

John Laing will be moved round to the Hamble on November 10th, masts lifted out on the 11th, and the vessel herself lifted on the 12th. Then it’s flat out for four months, apart from the Christmas break: last working day 23rd December, first day back 5th January.

Liz is in charge of refit bookings this year, rather than Wolf. From 8th November you can call her on 07990 518915 to book yourself in or discuss dates (don't call before then as we haven't had a chance to work out what we need and when); and I'll also use future editions of this bulletin to announce dates when we definitely need additional volunteers.

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!

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Tall Ships 2009
Places are selling well for the most adventurous voyages on our 2009 programme – the Tall Ships race series in the Baltic. These voyages see John Laing cruising with or competing against other sail training vessels crewed by young people from all over the world – from the huge square riggers down to the smallest yachts, half the size of John Laing. Every port has fantastic maritime festivals, and the whole thing is truly the experience of a lifetime. John Laing is entitled to carry up to four 15-year olds on these voyages; all other crew members must be aged 16-25.

The 2009 voyages are:

Race 1: 4-13 July, Gdynia (Poland) to St Petersburg (Russia), 9 nights, £650 plus travel.
Cruise in company: 13-25 July, St Petersburg (Russia) to Turku (Finland), 12 nights, £865 plus travel.
Race 2: 25 July - 2 August, Turku (Finland) to Klaipeda (Lithuania), 8 nights, £575 plus travel.

Gdynia should be a superb festival, if our experience in nearby Szczecin two years ago is anything to go by. St Petersburg is a spectacular, not-to-be-missed destination, and the cruise in company takes us through one of the most beautiful sailing areas John Laing has ever seen, with time to explore before the Turku festival. The Lithuanian city of Klaipeda is an historic Baltic trading post with a fascinating culture and history, surrounded by beautiful Baltic beaches.

John Laing spends three days in each of the host ports, enough time for both the outgoing and incoming crew to enjoy the festival, see the city and join parties and other activities with all the other vessels’ crews.

For more information, see here. And contact the office to reserve a place.

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Corporate, teambuilding or client day sails - ora great day out for any 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. Email me for more information.

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Chris Ellis award – win ££s towards sailing next year!
If you have enjoyed a voyage this year, are aged under 25 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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Sea staff assessments 2009 - for new potential watchleaders
If you have already been recommended to become a new member of John Laing’s volunteer watch leading team (i.e. if you have had a recommendation from an adult voyage, or you are a crew member aged 18+ who sailed this year and was invited to train as sea staff), it would be helpful if you could confirm with me if you would definitely like to be considered for assessment in 2009, and if possible give me some idea of your likely availability. This doesn’t need to be in detail, but it’s good to know the difference between those who are potentially available at any time, versus those who are restricted to college holidays, for example. I won’t allocate places for a while (those who come and help at refit take priority) but it is helpful to have an idea of the level of demand. We generally have more people recommended to join the sea staff than there are places, so the people who stay in touch, email me, attend events etc., will generally be ahead of those who wait for us to chase you!

16 and 17 year olds who have been recommended as future relief bosuns should certainly think about coming to refit for a few days.

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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 almost 80% 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, you really need to look at the programme NOW. We really are set to be fully-booked before too long, so don’t miss your chance. Contact the office if you want to reserve a place.

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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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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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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Funding source for registered charities booking groups to sail with us
Registered charities who are organising groups of young people to sail with us next year, or who would be interested in doing so, might like to know that the Four Acre Trust have said that they are happy for us to recommend them as a possible source of funding for your voyage. Registered charities only – see the Four Acre Trust website for details of how you can apply.

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Local support groups
Local 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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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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“To be honest I never wanted to come, but I'm glad I did because I have learnt and seen so much!" Charlotte