More care needed when raising the anchor!


OYT South bulletin 8th February 2008

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Job advertisement: OYT South General Manager – NEW DETAILS
Apologies that it has taken slightly longer to finalise our plans than we originally thought: but we finally have a full job description, person specification and details of how to apply. Anyone 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, should see here for full information. Anyone who has trouble opening a pdf file can email me for a copy.

Deadline for applications is 14th March 2008.  

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* Training weekend news and thanks
Thank you very much to everyone involved in last weekend’s hugely successful training days, including those who planned and ran the courses; the Sea Cadets for the use of their building and for providing lunches, teas and coffees; everyone involved in arranging the very well-attended supper on Saturday night; anyone else who helped with organising things - and everyone who turned up and made it such a positive and successful event. Lots of old friends were there, but we also met several people who are new to OYT South - we hope you enjoyed your first encounter with us and that you will want to stay involved!

24 people earned RYA First Aid certificates; 8 got GMDSS certificates; 15 did Sea Survival; 8 got Radar; 13 passed Food Hygiene; and 6 did the Diesel Engine course - a total of 74 new qualifications gained over the weekend!   

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* John Snowden’s women-only self-defence course
Sorry it has taken a while to make progress with this; but John Snowden is now keen to arrange his women-only self-defence course. He has come up with a date which is rather short notice - 23rd February. Anyone interested needs to let me know a.s.a.p. whether you could manage a course on this date, in Gosport? If we get enough people it will go ahead then; if not, we’ll look for another date.  

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* Refit news
Thanks to all those involved in this week’s refit zoo (if you don’t get the animal reference, you need to turn up and see for yourself – all I can say is that it involves a rabbit, an elephant and a hamster who started out as a cat). The team this week included Wolf, Liz, Paul “Cakes” Barber, Matt Bland, Max Parsonson, Caz, Lindsey Gilbert and Mags (a friend of Liz’s from Trinity Sailing who realised that the only way of seeing Liz for any length of time was to come and help with the refit). This is not a bad turnout given that it involves weekdays only, as the refit was shut for the training weekend; but we really need to step things up from now on.

Jobs this week included finishing the engine, workshop and bosun’s bilges; finishing servicing all the winches (except those attached to the masts) and putting them back on the boat; sanding the deck; finishing the grinding of the hull and getting it primed ready for filling; sanding the saloon; finishing the priming under the capping rail and getting it ready to paint; starting to fix the cockpit locker lids; and finishing major work in the skipper’s heads (yes, that's "heads" not "head" - i.e. plumbing and fibreglassing, not advanced psychiatry!).

We also had a visit this week from Fred Cole, who runs International Paint. He came to see how we were using the company’s very generous donation of large amounts of free paint, and gained a clear understanding of why we get through quite so much - not including the paint in Max's hair...He said he was impressed by the standard of the work on the boat, and also by the dedication and enthusiasm of the team who were there on the day.  

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Last year we had some periods during the refit when we didn't have anything like enough help; and then at the very end lots of people offered to come, and some had to be turned away because there wasn't space in the refit house - or, sometimes, there were more people than can work on the boat at once. Please don't let this happen again! The refit house is starting to fill up; but we still need more people; and we can certainly take lots more day visitors who don't need accommodation.

We have just four and half weeks to go before the tent and scaffolding comes down and John Laing goes back into the water, and five and a half weeks before the coding inspection.

Please call Wolf on 07771 771864 if you can come, and do leave a message if he doesn't answer, as he'll always call you back. We really need you!
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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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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* 2008 bookings - NEW availability
Berths currently available:

NEW 21-24 April: Southampton, £185, possible 12 places available tbc. This voyage was previously marked as fully-booked but it might now be available again.
5-9 May, Poole to Southampton, £255, 5 places left.
20-22 June (weekend), Southampton, £150, 4 places left (over-18s only).

July and August, Tall Ships Races and Cruise in Company: we have currently had enquiries for all 12 places on all three of these voyages; but the last few places are unconfirmed (including those with deposits not yet paid), and people do drop out or change their minds, so if you still want to sail, get your name on the reserve list NOW!

8-13 Sept: Southampton, £315, 12 places left tbc.
12-16 Oct: Southampton, £250, 12 places left.
17-19 Oct (weekend): Southampton, £115, 12 places left.
20-24 Oct: Southampton, £250, 12 places left tbc.

If you can't find what you want, do please keep checking the voyage programme as new vacancies keep coming up as we adjust the programme to meet clients' needs, or because 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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* Volunteer sea staff bookings
Thanks to all those qualified sea staff who have sent in their bids to sail on particular voyages this season, or who spoke to me about it at the training weekend. In some years, lots of sea staff seem to be busy with other things and only wanting to do a week or so on board John Laing; while in other years everyone seems to have a lot of free time and wants to do a lot of sailing, to the point where it’s hard to fit you all on the boat.

This year, it is clear that a lot of first mates are busily occupied with other things; but among second and third mates, we have more people than ever before with extensive availability and masses of enthusiasm. This is a nice problem to have, but I really don’t want to disappoint anyone! Therefore what I am keen to do is make sure that everyone who wants to sail is booked on at least one or two voyages, before I start allocating the rest among the people who would like to do much more. I also need to leave some spaces so that we will be able to offer voyages and assessments to the best of the new people from the April / May training voyages (below).

I have almost finished emailing everyone who has asked for something, to offer the initial one or two voyages – if you haven’t had an offer by the end of next week, or if you haven’t yet asked for anything, please let me know as soon as possible!

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* Volunteer sea staff training (on board John Laing) - NEW vacancy
Owing to a cancellation, we now have ONE place left on the sea staff training / induction voyage 29 April - 4 May (£275) – email me if you want it!

The weekend 25-27 April 2008 (£150) is still fully-booked, but as you can see from the above, it might be well worth having your name on the reserve list.

We do have 5 or 6 spaces left for the September staff training voyage: 19-21 Sept (£150).

Email me for bookings or places on the reserve list for any of these voyages.

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* People news
Congratulations to our surveyor and third mate, Di Roberts, who has just become a grandmother of twin boys!

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Calling anyone in Devon or Cornwall!
The Battisborough Charitable Trust offers funding to help young people take part in sail training voyages, and are currently looking for applications, but on a very tight deadline - they first advertised in the Evening Herald and Western Morning News last week, and applications must be in by 18th February.

If you didn't see the press ads, the rules for last year were: applications can be made by individuals (not groups) from Devon and Cornwall only, to: Sonia Donovan, 57 Green Park Road, Plymstock, PL9 9HU. You will need to write a letter explaining a bit about yourself, why you want to sail and why you need help with funding. The Trust looks most favourably on people who have succeeded in raising some of the funds themselves, so you should write about what else you are doing towards paying the voyage fee - they will not normally cover 100% of your costs. And you should enclose a stamped, addressed envelope so they can reply to you.

People have been successful with applications to help them sail in John Laing in each of the last two years, so let's make it three in a row!

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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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* Core refit team - long-term volunteers needed
We now have our two full-time volunteers in place until the end of the refit; but we are still keen to meet people who can come and help for longer than a few days at a time - it's always good to have people who can really settle into a job and follow it through from start to finish, and it certainly saves time. If you are not working over the next five or six weeks and might be interested in a longer stint at the refit, and the opportunity to learn more about boat maintenance while doing something of real value for the charity, see here for details. Email me to express an interest and for more information.

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, please feel free to contact us as early as you like if you want to be on the team next time.

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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