Launch day!


OYT South bulletin 11th December 2009

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Liz leaving present
We are now collecting for Liz's leaving present, as she will shortly be leaving us after two years as our Staff Bosun. See here for making a donation.

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* Refit news
John Laing is back in the water! She was relaunched this morning and is now safely back in Ocean Village, where we shall stay for the rest of the refit.

It’s been a busy week getting everything ready for the launch and making sure all the jobs were finished which can only be done out of the water. Thanks to all the team and special thanks to Chris the engineer for getting things done during a much shorter lift-out than usual.

The team has also finished the bilges back to the heads, finished two water tanks, put the rope cutter back on, done all the tank lids, put the cockpit locker back together after the welder finished, done the workshop floor and put that back in, and cleaned the engine room.

Many thanks to James, Liz, Dan, David Aspinall, Terry Bufton, Chris, Gina Seller, Andrew Viney, Viki Lough, Annie Holt (including special thanks for the loan of a liferaft while John Laing was moved this morning, as our own are away being serviced), Kerry McMillan and Emma Burrows.

James and Liz have decided to work through next weekend (19-20 December) in order that they can get away a bit earlier for Christmas. So they will be happy to see volunteers that weekend; but Sunday 20th December will now be the last working day for volunteers before Christmas. Staff come back on 4 January so volunteers will be welcome from 5 January.

If you can only make it at weekends, dates in our planned series of volunteer weekends are:

19-20 December
9-10 January
6-7 March
(NB February 6/7 is the shorebased training weekend)

Lots of volunteer help always welcome on weekdays!

Please contact James on 07990 518915 if you can help with the refit for a day or more between now and late March - see here for more about what is involved. Please do ring James rather than emailing me - he can tell you when there is space and what he needs!

We hope that all sea staff who plan to sail next season will come and help for at least a few days or a weekend. See here for more detailed refit plans and estimated costs.

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* Training weekend 6th-7th February 2010 - time to confirm and pay
There is now a booking form on this website so you can confirm bookings for training courses, meals and accommodation, and when you press “submit” it will give options for how to pay. Please do read the notes at the bottom of the page before booking.

The form is for people who have already told me what courses they want. If you are a new booking, please email me first and make sure there is space for you - some courses are full. More details here including dates, prices, more information on course content and latest availability.

Jonathan and Sue Cheshire have again very kindly offered some accommodation for the training weekend - please let’s keep this for people who would struggle with the mattress on the floor option at the Sea Cadet Unit. But email me if you would like to go to the Cheshire’s.
The RYA or ISAF Sea Survival courses are not running on the same training weekend as the rest of our courses. If you want to do Sea Survival, there are courses running on March 6/7 or April 17/18. This course is very highly recommended, covering such things as use of distress flares and a session in a swimming pool with a life raft. Email me if you are interested.

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Relief bosun training

We are just trying to gauge interest in some possible relief bosun training in late February / early March. This would be open to people aged 16-25 who have sailed with us and have been recommended to come back. Over two weekends (probably 27/28th February and 6/7th March) you could spend two days working on the boat, learning some essential elements of the bosun's job (pumps, winches, heads, etc.) and the other two days classroom work covering the RYA's Basic Navigation course. There will be space free in the house for anyone who wants to stay, and dinner laid on.

We will only run this if there is sufficient interest from people who are actually likely to be volunteering as relief bosuns next year, so email me now if you would like to apply.

Any crew members who sailed this year and did well enough to be recommended to come back as potential relief bosuns should also have been told that it is up to you to keep in touch and ask about opportunities - we don’t have time to chase everyone, so the ones who prove they are keenest will get the places! If you are interested - whether or not you could manage those two weekends - now is the time to email us and get yourself noticed.

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Sea staff bookings 2010
Please can sea staff start telling me now which voyages you would like to do next year? Especially if you have limited availability, or you want to do an assessment, or you would like to sail with a particular client group, do let me know now and I'll make a note of what you want.

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2010 voyages for young people
Large parts of the 2010 season are already fully-booked. If you want to sail next year, do look at the programme as soon as possible, and hurry up and reserve your berth.

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2010 group voyages - any ideas?
There are just four voyages left next year which are completely unbooked and therefore available for a full group of 12 people, or for a different sort of voyage:

27 April - 3 May, Southampton-Southampton, 6 nights, £450pp
8-12 June, Southampton-Southampton, 4 nights, £290pp
26 June- 3 July, Southampton-Ipswich, 7 nights, £495pp
11-16 Oct, Southampton-Southampton, 5 nights, £360pp

Does anyone have any suggestions? We obviously still hope to run most if not all of them as regular youth voyages. Does anyone know a youth club, school, sports group, charity or other organisation which might like to take a group voyage? Or shall we do something different with one of these voyages? Would there be sufficient demand to turn one of them into an additional staff training voyage, or an adult cruise, or a 50th anniversary reunion trip for people who have sailed since the OYC was founded in 1960, or a team-building voyage for a company, or a series of day sails for any useful purpose, or a fundraising event? Is there anything new and original that we should be trying? Please email me with your ideas!

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* Financial appeal
Many thanks this week to the Inverforth Charitable Trust for a generous donation, and to John Trembath for another kind contribution to bursaries..

The major appeal at the moment is for the 2009-10 winter refit - please donate something if you possibly can.

We also need bursary funds for next season.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.

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 we can claim back tax on your donation.

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Mates' training and new volunteer mates
We have had a real rush of applications for the March and April training voyages for existing mates and new potential volunteers. If I have confirmed your booking, then your place is secure; but for the few remaining places, we are having to think about whether to have some kind of priority list (for example, we wouldn’t want people who have been to refit to lose out to someone who hasn’t), or whether we can add an extra mates’ training voyage without ending up with more new mates than we can use. This in turn may depend partly on how many weeks next year might potentially see us using - and needing to staff - a second boat. So please keep sending in your applications for these voyages, but you may have to give us a little time before we confirm many more berths.

Current dates are:

26-28 March, £160
21-26 April, £360
10-12 Sept, £160.

All three start and finish in Southampton. If you are new to John Laing and unless you have other experience of sail training or of vessels this size, it is definitely a good idea to book on the longer April voyage if you possibly can. On the weekend voyages, there isn't really time for everyone on board to practise all the things you have to be familiar with to sail as a watch leader. But if you can't manage the April dates, we'll give you as much training as possible on one of the weekends. Email me to book.

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* London Boat Show January 2010 - special offer and OYT South team outing
The London International Boat Show will run from 8th - 17th January 2010.

There will be an OYT South team outing to the Boat Show on Friday 15 January. Meet at 3pm at the Guinness Stand.

John Goode has again kindly arranged for discounted tickets for OYT South members. If you are an OYT South member who subscribes to this newsletter by email, you will find details of how to get your dicounted ticket there - we can't put them on the website which is accessible to the general public.

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OYT South is now on the JustGiving website - ideal for any of you who might want to raise money for a sponsored activity or an event as you can put details of your event on the site and the money you raise comes direct to us. You can also make regular donations, or set up a page in memory of someone and invite donations to the charity. Take a look here for the first example of someone making a Justgiving page for OYT South - many thanks and best wishes to David Arnold!

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OYC / OYT 50th anniversary

I have started to collect photographs and tales of the Ocean Youth Club and Ocean Youth Trust since we were founded in 1960, and in due course I will make a special section of the website where we can post all the historical material. Do please email anything to me if you think others might be interested.

Please put 16-17 October 2010 in your diary NOW for OYT South's 50th anniversary celebration weekend - more details to follow in due course.

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Fundraising talk
Rupert Emerson, who recently did a day sail on board John Laing, has been asked to do a talk about his own sailing at Poole Yacht Club and will be appealing for donations on the night for OYT South.

The talk will be on Wednesday 17th February at 1930, on the subject "Skippering Kippa, a virgin voyage around Britain".
Rupert is the Principal of ABC Sailing, and on Kippa’s voyage he visited remote harbours and anchorages, and experienced several mishaps, one resulting in being towed in by lifeboat. He will also be signing copies of his book, "Skippering Kippa, a virgin voyage around Britain." You can find out more at Please contact Rupert via ABC Sailing or at if you would like to go along to the talk.

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Keep in touch with other John Laing people
We use a number of social networking websites to allow crew members to keep in touch with the boat and with each other. People can swap stories, post photos and more. For some overseas voyages, we will even set up online groups well in advance, restricted only to people who will actually be sailing on that particular voyage, so that people can compare travel plans and arrange to travel together. See here for how to join.

Please note that OYT South has a policy that our adult staff and volunteers should not make or accept individual online friend requests with crew members aged under 18. Young crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual adults.

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Survey - tell us what you think
If you have recently completed a voyage, please help us by filling in our web-based survey. It really helps - we use the data to keep improving our voyages, and to help us raise funds!

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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