OYT South bulletin 14th August 2009

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Voyage news
Last week’s bulletin left us part-way through the voyage from Klaipeda to Kiel with a mixed crew from the army, navy and a Dorset youth group. They had just arrived in Gedser, at the southern tip of the Danish island of Falster. Skipper James said it was a lovely place and they had a superb BBQ there. They also played football – barefoot, to compensate slightly for the superior fitness of the army boys – and the game was won by a pair including one of the Dorset girls!

James said this was a lovely crew who all did extremely well. One got the RYA Competent Crew certificate and everyone else got Start Yachting – though one other also got several sections of the Competent Crew signed. But above all they rejoiced in lovely weather – 400 miles downwind! Thanks to sea staff James, Liz, Dyfrig, Steve, Cathy and Andrew.

John Laing again enjoyed great hospitality at the British Army Sailing Centre in Kiel, where they were joined by the incoming sea staff for the next voyage, including skipper Wolf on his birthday!

The new crew arrived at 10pm on Sunday. These were from the Doncaster school where Tee Hee teaches – for those of you who don’t know her, Tee Hee used to sail with the Ocean Youth Trust as a young crew member; worked her way up through the ranks to second mate; went to uni and teacher training college, and is now bringing young crews back on board! Wolf says one of the highlights of the trip is hearing Tee Hee addressed as “Miss”.

They did the Kiel Canal all in one day on Monday, and spent that night in Brunsbuttel where there was a fair. Next morning they locked out at 0700 into the Elbe and from that point on, Wolf says it has been yucky and only got yuckier! Having had the wind against her all the way from Ipswich to Kiel in June, John Laing has had no luck with the North Sea and it is against her again going back. This produced quite a bit of seasickness as they sailed for half the time and motored the rest until 0300 Thursday when they arrived in Den Helder. They were moored in the place used for Tall Ships last year, which Wolf says is lovely, with our friends from Pegasus, who have been pretty much constant companions since Gdynia, and also Moosk, with our former mate Phoebe on board.

Lots of much-needed shore leave in Den Helder, including James beating the Pegasus crew of Liverpool lads at pool.

This morning they set off for Ipswich, returning to the UK after almost eight weeks away – hoping to make good progress before more bad weather kicks in! But for the moment, everyone is smiling. Wolf says the crew are lovely and it has been a real shame that the weather hasn’t been kinder.

Thanks to sea staff Wolf, James, Tee Hee, Toby, Tony and Jez.

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* OYT South Open Day, Lunch and AGM 11th October - more details
Please see here for details of this event in Hamble – all invited! Please do come along and hear all about our plans for next year, including some big changes. RSVP as soon as you can as we need to know numbers.

Whether or not you can make this year’s event, please put next year’s dates in your diary NOW as 16-17 October 2010 will be OYT South’s 50th anniversary celebration weekend – more details to follow in due course.

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* David Salmon retirement present
Despite various changes of plan last time we announced David’s retirement as OYT South’s General Manager, he really is retiring at the end of this season. We still have some funds in the collection previously set up for his retirement present, but if you would still like to make a contribution, we hope to have it organised for the October 11th event. Cheques to the office, please, or call 0845 365 6781 with a credit card - but please write "DS retirement" on the OUTSIDE of the envelope, so David doesn't open it; and if contributing by credit card, ask to speak to Sally!

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* Chris Ellis award – win ££s towards sailing next year!
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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Tall Ships photos - and keep in touch with other John Laing people
Still more photos of our Tall Ships adventures are being posted on Facebook - I recommend that you sign up just to look at them! See here for how to join.

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.

Please note that OYT South has introduced a policy that our adult staff and volunteers should not make or accept individual online friend requests with young people aged under 16. 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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* Voyages for young people 2009

7-12 Sept, Southampton, £300. Crew aged 12-25. Just waiting to hear if we have any space left or not.
27-30 Sept, Southampton, £210 – 1 or 2 places left. The rest of this voyage has been booked for a group of boys aged 12-13, so they are looking for two others who would fit in and would like to join them.
28 Oct - 1 Nov, Southampton, £260. Another half-term voyage, with a mixed crew. Again, just waiting to hear if we have any spaces left.

Please do contact our office about joining our reserve list if you still want to sail this year. People do sometimes drop out at short notice, and if we know you are interested and we have all your contact details, you might get a last-minute voyage at cheap rates! Failing that, see our 2010 programme.

Full 2009 voyage programme.

Contact the office for enquiries or bookings, or to join our reserve list.

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2010 voyage programme
If you can’t find space to sail in 2009, do start looking at 2010. We are still sorting out group bookings for 2010, but it’s not too early to apply now if you want to sail next year.

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* Mates' training weekend
18-20 September, Southampton, £150 – this is potentially now full, though please email me if you would like to be on the reserve list.

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* Sea staff bookings
Last few sea staff vacancies this year (all Southampton):

13 Sept day sail: possibly space for one more experienced John Laing mate
21-25 Sept: possibly space for one more experienced John Laing mate
26-30 Sept: second mate
19-23 Oct: one experienced OYT South watch leader for Thermopylae Clipper, and a second mate for John Laing. One or both should be female.
24-27 Oct: bosun needed.
28 Oct – 1 Nov: possibly space for one more experienced John Laing mate
Email me now if you can help with any of these!

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* Financial appeal
Many thanks CHK Charities Ltd for another very generous grant, and to the Greendale Foundation, who have made a grant to OYT UK to be distributed among the regions.

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. The last refit has been funded but now we all need to take a deep breath and start raising money for next winter!

Bursaries: 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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Lifejackets - essential training for sea staff
It is now becoming an essential safety requirement that all our sea staff and volunteers attend a short training course on lifejacket packing. We hope to set up convenient dates to get as many people as possible through this course, but the first one will be on Monday 14 September, 9am to 12 noon, at Ocean Safety in Southampton. There are currently 3 spaces, £20 each, call Wolf on 07771 771864 if you are interested.

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Sea survival course, 6-7 February 2010
We haven’t yet made decisions about the dates or the courses on offer for our traditional February shorebased training; but because of the need to book facilities, the ISAF Sea Survival course has already been set for 6-7 February. This is a really valuable course for all our volunteers, covering use of flares and a practice session in a swimming pool with a liferaft. Strongly recommended. Email me if you might be interested.

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Southampton Boat Show - discounted tickets
Many thanks to John Goode for once again arranging discounted Boat Show tickets for OYT members and their families and friends. The Southampton show runs from 11-20 September this year. 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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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