2009 sailing


OYT South bulletin 13th November 2009

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Training weekend 6th-7th February 2010 - bookings needed
We are starting to get a slow trickle of bookings for the training weekend, though we still need a few more before we can start confirming that any particular course will run. Please think NOW if you would like to do any shorebased courses. I know it's a long way off, but until we get enough interest to make any course cost-effective to run, we can't confirm instructors or plan the weekend.

If it all goes ahead, the OYT South sea staff training weekend in Gosport will run on the weekend of February 6th and 7th. Depending on demand, we might offer RYA First Aid, GMDSS (the VHF radio qualification), Radar and Diesel Engines, as well as the Food Hygiene certificate, plus the short lifejacket packing course, which is becoming essential for all sea staff and only takes a couple of hours, and maybe a youth work workshop. Sea survival courses will run on a different weekend - see below.

This year we are working on an option for very cheap local accommodation to enable people to stay overnight.

Do let me know a.s.a.p. which courses might interest you and we will see how many we can fit in.

Don’t forget that first aid certificates are only valid for three years - do make sure yours isn’t going to run out next season.

Email me to let me know which courses you would like.

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* Refit news
A very busy start to refit, with lots of people coming along to help, and a very lively first volunteers’ weekend. Many thanks to James, Liz, Sparky, Kerrin, Viki Lough, Emma Burrows, Geoff Eddy, Amanda Smith, Kirsty Keith, Rosie “Habit” Allan, Alistair Baird, Kerry McMillan, Annie Holt, Brendan Stewart, Josh Russell, Louise Ruffell, Kirsten Mackay, Brendan Roof, Allan Owen and Ian Johnson.

Between them they have continued to move as much gear as possible off the boat, with most of the sails going off to be serviced, and the liferafts and other equipment also away. The dinghy is being fixed. Sparky broke the van (well, perhaps not strictly his fault) and that was also being fixed. The running rigging check has been completed, the forward bulkhead area has been exposed; the team has checked under the headlining and put it back up; Liz has cleaned the black water tank after an extremely close inspection, and Sparky has cleaned the starboard fuel tank. All bilges have been cleaned. Lots of laundry has been done, the forward area has been sheeted off, more kindly donated furniture has been collected and moved into the refit house (which is very nice and comfortable); and the boat has been moved into our refit berth, on the other side of Ocean Village Marina. Apart from all that, the team has cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and eaten approximately three tonnes of doughnuts.

They also found time for a big night out at the weekend, much enjoyed by all - though refit responsibilities were not forgotten as they managed to return from the night out having successfully sourced extra resources and equipment for Liz…..

If you would like to book yourself in to help at the refit, please call James on 07990 518915. We need help on most weekdays until late March, and there is normally room for a couple of extra people, with accommodation if you need it. The refit will be closed this Thursday and Friday 19-20 November as most of the team are going to the Sail Training International Conference in Istanbul (other holidays and refit closures to be announced in due course).

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

5-6 December
9-10 January
6-7 March

(NB February 6/7 is the shorebased training weekend)

Don’t forget if you are coming to the December weekend that there will be a team outing to an Oysterband gig in Southampton on that Sunday night (see below).

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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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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Sea survival courses
We aren’t running the RYA or ISAF Sea Survival courses 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 liferaft. Email to book on either of the available dates.

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* Financial appeal
A generous donation was agreed this week with the SS Uganda Trust, who will pay for a new EPIRB and Jonbuoy. We also had a very kind private donation from Hamish Oliphant.

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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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.

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Oysterband gig, Southampton, 6th December
Those of you who have sailed in John Laing over recent years will know that the Oysterband’s music often features on the ship’s stereo system. We are planning a team outing when the Oysterband play in the Brook, Southampton, on Sunday 6th December. You can get a ticket on the Brook’s website or by phone on 02380 555366 (£15). Don’t leave it too long – their gigs normally sell out. But do let me know if you book so I have an idea of who is coming. Last time they played at the Brook (about four years ago) we were a group of 24 OYT South people + friends and it was a great night…Bring all your friends and let’s try to get another big group together.

For those needing accommodation, I guess priority in the refit house will go to those who come for a day or two to do some work!

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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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* Chris Ellis award - win ££s towards sailing next year - two weeks to deadline!
If you have enjoyed a voyage this year, are aged under 25 and would like to sail again in 2010, 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".

Last year's winners, Cami and Seonaid, both had excellent voyages using their winnings - it could be you in 2010!

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Mates' training and new volunteer mates

Existing mates and new potential volunteers who would like to come and see what we are all about might like to start thinking about next year's adult training voyages:

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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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