Refit volunteers Ben and Matt


OYT South bulletin 5th December 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Welcome James Boyce - new skipper / first mate
OYT South is delighted to announce that James Boyce will be joining Wolf and Liz on our professional sea staff team next season, to share the skipper’s duties with Wolf and also to cover some of the time when we have normally had to employ freelance professional mates (volunteer first mates please note: we still really, really need you – James will only be able to cover a limited number of voyages as first mate).

James is aged 27 and from Scotland, and did the ASTO skipper’s training scheme in 2006 before becoming first mate on OYT North West’s Greater Manchester Challenge for two seasons, including a winter refit. He passed his OYT skipper’s assessment last summer and has been building experience skippering GMC. It is worth noting that Wolf also came to us from the first mate’s job on GMC – obviously an effective career path!

James is an Ocean Youth Trust person through and through, familiar with and committed to our aims and objectives, and we are sure he will be a great addition to the team. Some of us are also looking forward to him bringing his violin on board…

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* Refit news
Week 5 of 18.

The boat has been absolutely buzzing this week, partly because the heater broke on Monday and wasn’t fixed till Thursday, so only hard work with lots of power tools kept the team warm in daytime temperatures as low as +2 degrees C. As a result they have been storming through with grinding and preparing the forward bilges, water tanks, the hull below the waterline, deck, engine room, cockpit locker, stern platform, workshop floor and water tank lids, and are now priming all these areas.

Di Roberts has now completed phase 1 of the survey which has allowed the team to put various bits of the boat back together.

Many thanks to the team for working so hard in such cold conditions: Liz, Ben, Matt, Zoe and Tom, plus Bridget and Robin, and a final appearance from Wolf before disappearing for some much-needed annual leave.

Now that the heater is back working again, please do think about coming down to lend a hand – we really do need more people, on weekdays and especially on the following volunteer weekends:

13-14 December
17-18 January
14-15 February

Please call Liz on 07990 518915 if you can help at all, or email her at

The refit house is already filling up at certain times, but there are still plenty of dates when it will be possible to book yourself in. We also welcome anyone who doesn't need accommodation.

We hope to see all sea staff between now and March 20th, plus anyone new who would like to join our volunteer sea staff next year (it's the best way to meet us, and new volunteers who come to refit get priority when we allocate scarce training berths), as well as any others who want to support the charity. Skilled or unskilled - we have a huge variety of jobs.

The last working day before Christmas will be 23rd December, and the first day back will be 5th January.

If you are aged 16 or 17, especially if you have been recommended for bosun training next year, you need the skipper's permission to come to refit on a date when we have someone available to supervise you - please ask! I'm afraid that for safety and insurance reasons, we can't have under-16s working at the refit.

For background information on OYT South refits, see here.

For specific plans for the 2008-9 refit, including the budget, see here (pdf).

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* Can you donate items of refit equipment?
We still need lots of things for refit, from the items on this list through to old rags and occasional larger items which are listed from time to time in this newsletter. We have already bought some of these items, but call Wolf on 07771 771864 if you would like to 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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* Shorebased training weekend 2009 - only a few places left - please pay now
The 2009 OYT South training weekend is being held on 7th and 8th February, in the Gosport Sea Cadet Unit (except for the Sea Survival course, which is at KTY Yachts in Universal Marina).

Just a few places still available:

Sea Survival: either one-day course 7 Feb (£75), or 2-day ISAF course including first aid 7 & 8 Feb (£150). Instructor Yvonne Taylor. Recommended for all sea staff. 3 places left.

GMDSS / VHF radio: Sat 7 Feb (£50 + £22 exam fee). Instructor Mark "Wolf" Todd. The updated radio licence. Recommended for third mates, required for second mates and above. 1 place left.

Radar: Sun 8 Feb (£60). Instructor John. Recommended for first and second mates, required for skippers. At least 2 places left.

Food hygiene: Sun 8 Feb (£45). Instructor Madge Middleton. Required for all sea staff. 3 places left.

First aid: Sun 8 Feb (£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. 1 place left.

Diesel engine: Sun 8 Feb (£70). Instructor Jason. Recommended for bosuns plus second mates and above. 1 place left.

For more details on course content, see here.

Email me to book any of these courses.

To pay: If you have booked and had your place confirmed, you can pay now (except for GMDSS where you pay on the day). Either call the office on 0845 365 6781 and pay with a credit card, or use one of the other payment methods listed here.

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've had an offer of accommodation from a local supporter - let me know if you need somewhere to stay. If anyone else 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. Prices above are subsidised for us and will be a little higher for those not connected with OYT South or Gosport Sea Cadets.

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* OYT South supper Saturday 7 Feb
As in previous years we will be having a social gathering and supper on the Saturday of the training weekend, 7th February. Open to all OYT South supporters, whether or not you are attending the training. It will again be at the Kingfisher Caravan Park, Gosport, and as we’ll be such a large group, we need to order our food in advance – see here for the menu. Email to book and to place your order.

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* 2009 bookings - crew aged 12-25
We still have almost 40 berths available on standard voyages in 2009 (ages 12-25), and over 30 on special Tall Ships and Baltic voyages (ages 15-25). See here for details of currently available voyages. Please note that many of these voyages have no more than two or three berths left.

See here for the full 2009 voyage programme.

Voyages are selling very fast, with bookings or enquiries for almost 80% of the places already. 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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Sea staff bookings 2009 (current qualified sea staff)
I won’t be confirming many sea staff bookings just yet (I need to give more people time to come to refit, because refit helpers get priority), but especially if you have limited availability, there’s no harm in starting to email me your voyage requests now. It really helps me if you look at the programme and email me with the voyage numbers you can do (bearing in mind that we want you to turn up the night before) rather than giving me dates.

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* Want to become a new volunteer watch leader in 2009? NB CRB checks
If you would like to join our volunteer team for 2009, then we really want to meet you over the winter. Please do come to refit , and book yourself in for courses at our training weekend (first aid, sea survival, food hygiene and the GMDSS radio course are the ones to consider first if you don't have these certificates already).

If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need a Criminal Records Bureau check before you can sail on a voyage with young people. It’s worth starting the process now as it can take a while – then you will be clear to sail when the season starts. Just complete this form (pdf) and return it to the address shown, to get things under way.

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.

The next training voyage for new prospective volunteers is 19-24 April 2009 (£300, including your annual membership and sailing donation). There are only 12 places available, and 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. You can provisionally put your name on the list for this voyage now (email me), 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.

For more information on qualifying as a watch leader, see here.

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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.

Although not strictly part of the Tall Ships series, we do have four berths available for the next voyage: 2-9 Aug, Klaipeda to Kiel, £490, crew aged 15-25 - a great chance to see the Klaipeda festival and take part in the parade of sail as the fleet leaves.

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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Adult voyage –see the first Tall Ships festival of 2009
We now have two or three places for adults (18+) on a very special adventure voyage, 28 June - 4 July, Kiel to Gdynia, to see start of the Tall Ships series and enjoy the Gdynia festival, at the end of some beautiful Baltic sailing. £750 plus travel (adult price). Contact the office to book.

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* Financial appeal
Many thanks this week to the Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation for a very generous donation.

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.

We also have several groups and individuals still needing additional funding in order to be able to take part in a voyage in 2009. If you would like to help some specific young people to pay for their voyages – perhaps children with physical and learning difficulties, or homeless teenagers, or young people growing up amidst poverty and even violence, or brothers and sisters of children being cared for by a children’s hospice, please email me to discuss it. We also want to open up the most exciting voyages of 2009 - the Tall Ships series - to young people from a wide range of backgrounds, including some of those who cannot afford the full price.

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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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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* 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 - 2 places left.
18-20 September 2009 (£150): first mates and more experienced second mates' weekend - 6 places left.

Email me to reserve a place on the appropriate weekend.

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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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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 further west in Cornwall, we have a supporter in St Just who would help with a new support group if someone is available to pull it together.
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
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