Varnishing team - but can you guess who is who?


OYT South bulletin 13th February 2009

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Shorebased training weekend – the results!
Huge thanks to everyone involved in making the shorebased training weekend and supper such a great success – the instructors, Wolf, Yvonne, Tony, John, Jason and Madge; Gosport Sea Cadets for the use of their building and Nicki Bird for providing lunches on both days; David and Sally in the office for all the admin, and particularly David for organising the supper; the refit team plus Jonathan and Sue Cheshire for providing accommodation; and to everyone else who took part – especially those who braved the snow to get to us. We had some real worries on the Friday in case the weather devastated the whole weekend, but in the end we only lost a tiny handful of people. 48 new qualifications were earned, in Sea Survival, GMDSS radio, radar, first aid, diesel engines, and basic food hygiene – with the latter course taking the prize for the most laughter coming from behind their classroom door….

It was great to see so many people – OYT South regulars, plus some who were new to us and others whom we haven’t seen for a long time – both at the courses and at the Saturday night dinner.

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* Will Ramsay
One of those unable to make the training weekend was Will Ramsay, who became one of our relief bosuns last year and was very much looking forward to training as a third mate this season. Very sadly Will suffered a major accident at his university a couple of weeks ago and has broken his back, alongside a number of other serious injuries. He’s currently in ITU in Bath hospital. His family are keeping us in touch via email. If you know Will and want to send him a message, please email me and I’ll pass it on.

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* Chris Ellis award result
Regular readers will know that Chris Ellis, who founded the Ocean Youth Club in 1960, left a sum of money to be awarded for the best piece of written work or art based on a voyage with us each year, in order to help someone who has really enjoyed a voyage to come back and sail again. The award is now judged for us by Mrs Ellis and their daughter Emma.

I am delighted to announced that the prize for 2008 was shared between two exceptionally worthy winners, Cami Rothe, aged 14 and Seonaid Strachan, aged 13. We particularly enjoyed Cami’s overwhelming enthusiasm, and Seonaid’s account of how the voyage helped her to feel more confident with new people. Both the girls have now booked voyages for this year, putting their prize money towards the cost.

We had a number of other entries of a very high standard this year. Commiserations to all those who didn’t win, and better luck next time.

If you have booked a voyage for 2009, do think about entering for this year’s award!

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* New volunteer watch leaders
If you want to join our volunteer watch leader team for 2009, please contact me now to book a place on the training voyage, 19-24 April, starting and finishing in Southampton, £300. This week will get you thoroughly familiar with sailing in John Laing, and help you practise techniques for teaching, leading and motivating young people. At the end of the voyage, the skipper will be able to tell you whether you have been approved to go forward to sail on a voyage with young people and complete a formal mates' qualification.

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 as soon as the skipper recommends you. Just complete this form and return it to the address shown, to get things under way.

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

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* Sea staff bookings 2009 - BOOK NOW
Many thanks to all those who have booked their voyages for 2009 – most (though not quite all) of our regulars have now booked their voyages, and the programme is looking very full, except that we still need to cover quite a few first mate vacancies. I’m not looking to fill too many more of the last few third mate / trainee mate vacancies at this stage as we need to have some opportunities left for new people after the April training voyage (above); but if you DO want to sail in 2009, you really need to tell me now or you risk missing out.

I’ll publicise most of the remaining vacancies a bit nearer the time; but I do need a second mate for a weekend voyage right at the start of the season – 3-5 April, starts Friday afternoon and ends Sunday evening in Southampton, crew from the Senior Section Girl Guides. Anyone interested?

One other vacancy it might be better to fill well in advance, because it involves some overseas travel, is 19-28 June, Ipswich to Kiel. The first two days are pre-Tall Ships maintenance, with the crew (mainly from a homelessness project in Plymouth) joining on 21 June. We still need a third mate or an additional second mate for this voyage – email me to apply.

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* Tall Ships cruise and races
Race 1: 4-13 July, Gdynia (Poland) to St Petersburg (Russia), £650 + travel - last TWO places left!
Cruise in company: 13-25 July, St Petersburg (Russia) to Turku (Finland), £720 + travel - 8 places left.
Race 2: 25 July - 2 August, Turku (Finland) to Klaipeda (Lithuania), £575 + travel - 7 places left.
Homeward bound: 2-9 Aug, Klaipeda (Lithuania) to Kiel (Germany), £490 + travel - 4 places left.

All these voyages are open to crew members aged 15-25 (max four 15-year olds, the others must be 16+). Anyone aged over 25 who wants to see a Tall Ships festival should see here.

Any of these voyages could be the experience of a lifetime – amazing maritime festivals, beautiful sailing areas, hundreds of sailing vessels from all over the world, parties and activities ashore. For more information, see here, and contact the office to reserve a place.

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* Amazing special adult voyage - Tall Ships festival!
Over-25s normally don’t have a chance to sail to a Tall Ships festival, but this year we are offering a very rare voyage for crew aged 18+, with no upper age limit: 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. £490 plus travel (adult price). Contact the office to book.

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* Tall Ships & Baltic overseas travel and visas (crew AND sea staff)
I know some people are already starting to book their flights for voyages this summer. If you want to compare travel plans or arrange to fly with other people, I’ve set up Facebook groups for the two Tall Ships races and the Cruise in Company so that you can meet each other and discuss plans online. These groups are ONLY open to people who have booked on that specific voyage. Let me know if you use Facebook but haven’t yet been invited to join your group.

If you don’t use Facebook, or are on a different Baltic voyage, but would still like to travel with others, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with others on your voyage.

Everyone on Race 1 or the Cruise in Company will need a Russian visa to visit St Petersburg. The race organisers are hoping to develop a simplified system for visa applications – we’ll let you know as soon as we have definite answers.

Sea staff booked on overseas voyages: your joining and departure dates are NOT the same as the dates published for crew members – we generally need you there for at least an extra day either side. We’ll email you shortly with details but please don’t book flights without discussing it with us first!

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* Refit news
Week 13 of 18.

The massive job of the last few days has been the varnishing – which hasn’t been tackled on this scale since at least 2001! Wolf says it is all breathtakingly beautiful and shiny, and makes much more difference to the look of the vessel’s interior than you could imagine. Combine that with the head-lining going into the crew quarters and those of you who have sailed before will notice a real transformation when you come back this year. Maybe still not a luxury yacht, but definitely just a bit closer….

Apart from that, the weather has made things awkward over the last couple of weeks, especially since it’s not possible to leave the heater running overnight, which means it is always a real battle to get the paint and filler to go off. But the vessel has had a MAJOR clean; the deck is sanded; the scuppers are painted; they have started a patchwork of antifouling (we are testing various different products for International Paint); the nav station is going back in; and the topsides are almost ready for painting.

Many thanks to Liz, James, Wolf, Tom, Zoe, Ben, Matt Almond (newly returned from the Philippines), Kerrin Koetsier, Ellis and Reggie from BVT, Fraser Old, who brought back some of the boat bits he’d been working on at home, and Caz who sewed a new cover on the steering wheel.

Thanks also to all those who have already volunteered to come and help over the rest of the refit, including the one remaining volunteer weekend.

If you haven't yet arranged to come to refit, I'm afraid both the boat and the house are pretty much full now - it's got to the point where any more people actually reduce efficiency because there is no room to work! This has been a phenomenal response and we are so grateful to everyone involved. If you would have liked to come and help, email Liz at telling her when you would be available, and she'll contact you only if we need you, if others drop out or anyone goes off sick.

We will obviously now have to waive the requirement that sea staff should all come to refit - we'll expect you at an in-season maintenance day instead!

Background information on OYT South refits

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

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* Other voyages for young people 2009
Short mid-week voyage at the end of April? Long weekend including a fun race and a party in October? Last few places in May, June, July and August? John Laing is fully-booked for much of the year, but there are still some places left! See here for a full list of available voyages.
Want to sail but can’t afford it? 
For Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential projects, see here
Special funding for crew members from outside the UK.
Full 2009 voyage programme.

Do talk to us about your requirements even if you can't find a voyage to suit you. People do drop out, so we can keep you on a reserve list; or give you priority booking for 2010; or even help to recommend an alternative way of getting you afloat this year.

Contact the office for enquiries or bookings.

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Supporters' newsletter
Hard though it is to believe, I know there are some people out there who don’t want to read this bulletin in full every week. You may not be one of them - since you are reading this now! - but you may have friends, family or colleagues who would like to know a bit about OYT South without getting the full details every week. We have therefore introduced a new Supporters’ Newsletter as a summary of our news, activities and plans, designed to come out just three or four times a year. You can find a pdf version here - please email the link or print it out and give it to anyone you think might be interested!

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Mates' training voyage 2009

Just THREE places left on the training weekend for mates and bosuns, 24-26 April 2009 (£150) - please email me to apply.

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Financial appeal
We are currently running appeals for refit and bursaries - please donate something if you possibly can.

You can find details of the refit appeal here - all the essential work which allows John Laing to keep sailing.

Bursaries: we have several groups and individuals 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 we can claim back tax on your donation.

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* Rob Purkis – new baby
Congratulations to former staff skipper Rob Purkis and Kirsten on the birth of a baby boy, Alexander John David.

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* Happy birthday Cuddles!
Anyone who ever thought there was something slightly sinister about second mate John “Cuddles” Snowden will be pleased to find that this year he is celebrating his birthday on Friday 13th,,,,

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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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 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