Motoring in no wind!


OYT South bulletin 17th April 2009

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Adult voyage starting this Sunday – 1 place left
Owing to illness we have one spare place on the adult voyage starting this Sunday (19-24 April, starting and finishing in Ocean Village, Southampton, £300 o.n.o.) – anyone interested? Phone 07990 518915, as we won’t pick up emails in time.

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* Refit record-breaker
Latest news, hot off Liz’s calculator: we have worked out that 55 people worked on John Laing’s winter refit this year, and a total of 572 days’ unpaid labour was donated to us between November and March. This is an amazing figure – up from 458 days last year, boosted by having a big full-time core team. Many thanks to everyone who came and helped!

This was an incredible effort, which allowed us to do work on the boat which would otherwise have been completely impossible – the equivalent number of hours from paid boatyard workers would have cost us tens of thousands of pounds. In fact, not only does this volunteer refit effort save money, it actually helps us to raise money: the level of volunteer backing which OYT South enjoys has often been an important factor in encouraging major donors to support us.

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* Crew places available in April
Can anyone help us to fill the last five places on a voyage that is less than two weeks away now: 28-30 April, Southampton, crew aged 12-25? Contact the office to book. Full price is £190 but we would consider a sensible offer for short notice berths if you would like to come but cannot afford the full price. The only constraint is that any additional crew members must be compatible with the group of seven which has already booked – a young group with a few special needs.

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* Maintenance day Monday 27th April
John Laing has a scheduled maintenance day on Monday 27th April – help needed, anyone interested should call skipper Wolf on 07771 771864 so he can plan jobs and make sure there is food on board for you at lunch time!

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* Voyage news
Just a couple of things to wrap up from last week’s voyage: big congratulations to Ben Whinnett for completing his second mate’s assessment; and well done also to the crew – I think there were five Competent Crew certificates earned, 4 Start Yachting, and a couple of people who had already done Competent Crew starting to look at a few sections of the RYA Watch Leader certificate. At least three of these young crew members were possible future volunteer sea staff for us.

This week’s voyage, with Margaret Smith’s North London group – our longest-serving client – has been dogged by lack of wind. They have been from Ocean Village to Poole, Weymouth, Brixham, Weymouth again, and are currently on their way back towards the Solent – but in all of that, only Weymouth to Brixham on Wednesday had a decent breeze. Otherwise there has been lots of motoring; but the crew have been fun and enthusiastic and when I spoke to the team this morning, a couple of crew members were even sanding the hatch to make the boat look prettier! James was optimistic that most if not all of them would earn Start Yachting certificates.

James has been skippering the boat this week, with Wolf on board as a passenger; but yesterday both of them took the day off and let Graeme the first mate have a go as skipper, while Tee Hee the bosun acted as first mate. Apparently James and Wolf proved to be appalling backseat drivers and spent most of the day muttering “Ooh, I wouldn’t do it like that.” Muppet Show fans should be thinking Statler and Waldorf at this point…I’m assuming that all this probably left the two watch leaders, Andy Shuttleworth and Annie Holt, doing all the work. Annie doesn’t know this at the time of writing, but she has just passed her third mate’s assessment – well done to her!

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* Day Skipper course / small boat refresher
One place left on Wolf’s small boat course from 24-29 May, ideal for anyone who wants to do RYA Day Skipper (Coastal Skipper possibly also available) or take a chance to practise things which are not easily learned in the 72-foot, 55-tonne John Laing. Cost £325, call Wolf on 07771 771864 to discuss it.

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* Qualified first, second and third mates
Here are the current gaps where we don't have sea staff booked. Some have been removed from the list since the last newsletter, but others have been added as people dropped out, so do look again.

22-24 May, Southampton - school group, Berkshire, 3M or extra 2M needed
25-29 May, Southampton - Herts young carers plus 2 individual bookings, 3M or extra 2M needed

The above are two new vacancies – we have someone doing first mate training on these voyages, so it might be an interesting experience for another mate who would like to see what’s involved!

2-6 June, Southampton - crew from Cardiff, 3M or extra 2M needed.
7-11 June, Southampton - Toynbee Hall Aspire programme - 1M and 3M needed.
12-18 June, Southampton to Ipswich - Toynbee Hall again - 2M needed.
21-28 June, Ipswich to Kiel - Plymouth Foyer plus others - 1M needed.
28 June - 4 July, Kiel to Gdynia - adult voyage - 2M or 3M needed.
25-30 Aug, Southampton, youth club group from Leighton Buzzard area - 1M needed
14-18 Sept, Southampton - 8 crew from Dorset, 4 from Southampton - 3M needed
26 Sept, Southampton - day sail for RSYC cadets - 2M needed.
27-30 Sept, Southampton - Parkside school - 1M and 2M needed.
12-16 Oct, Southampton - Naomi House children's hospice siblings' voyage - 3M needed.
16-18 Oct, Southampton - Diabetic teenagers - 1M needed.
19-23 Oct, Southampton - Bourne College - 1M, 2M and 3M needed.
28 Oct to 1 Nov - Isle of Wight group - 2M and 3M needed.

In addition, we are chartering another boat for 11-17 May and 19-23 Oct to accommodate regular clients who can't find berths on board John Laing. The first one is now fully-staffed but we need experienced mates for the second.

Email me now to let me know what you might like!

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* Voyages for young people 2009 – only 22 places left!
This is a complete list of all the places left on voyages this year:

28-30 April, Southampton, £190 per person, crew aged 12-25 - 5 places available.
21-28 June, Ipswich to Kiel, £450 plus travel, crew aged 12-25 - 2 places left.
4-13 July, Gdynia to St Petersburg, £650 plus travel. Tall Ships Race 1. Crew aged 15-25. Only 2 places left! See here for details.
13-25 July, St Petersburg to Turku, £720 plus travel. Tall Ships cruise in company. Crew aged 15-25. 5 places left. See here for details.
25 July-2 Aug, Turku to Klaipeda, £575 plus travel. Tall Ships Race 2. Crew aged 15-25. 4 places left. See here for details.
2-9 Aug, Klaipeda to Kiel, £490 plus travel. Crew aged 15-25 - 4 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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* Voyages for adults 2009
28 June – 4 July, Kiel to Gdynia, £490 plus travel, an amazing chance to see the Gdynia Tall Ships festival. See here for details.
18-20 September, Southampton, £150. Advanced mate’s training, ideal for first mates and experienced second mates, or anyone who hopes to move in that direction and wants to see what’s involved.

Email me for more information about any of these.

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* Will Ramsay update
I reported a few weeks ago in this bulletin that one of our young bosun / trainee watch leaders, Will Ramsay, had had a serious accident and broken his back. Latest news from his family: “Will continues to progress in his rehab: along with occupational therapy, circuits and physio he now has hydro, sports, hockey, tennis, and basket ball in his programme although he is not allowed to play contact sports for possibly a year.…This w/e Will came home for Saturday night, Access is not particularly easy but we have managed to get a bed in the dining room and this is OK for a night at a time….On June 12th there will be a black tie “Wheels for Will” fund raising event at the Meeting centre in Hinckley, 100 tickets to sell @ £20 per person, with disco and buffet. Money raised will go into a fund for a wheelchair and other expenses for Will." If anyone wants to contribute to this fund – whether or not you can attend the event – let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Will and his family.

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Can you help us find crew?

Please help us to spread the opportunity to sail with us this year way beyond the readership of this newsletter! We have produced two flyers, one about the Baltic voyage series this summer, the other purely for the adults-only voyage in late June/early July. Can you email these links to your friends (even if they aren’t interested themselves, you could ask them to pass the links on to others)? Can you print a flyer and stick it on a notice board? Can you leave a pile of copies anywhere where people pick up leaflets?

Anything you do will be much appreciated – and someone somewhere could have the voyage of a lifetime, which they would never have known about if it hadn’t been for you!

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* Falmouth sailing opportunity 4-6 May
James Turner, one of our second mates who writes for Sailing Today, will be sailing out of Falmouth from 4-6 May to write an article about a local sea school, and wonders if any OYT South mates would like to join him?

He’s hoping to arrange a Hi-line exercise with the local coastguard helicopter, so it would definitely be an interesting experience for anyone who hasn’t done this before.

James says he hasn’t yet looked at charts and tides but is hoping that places like the Helford River and Fowey might be possible destinations. He can offer a lift from the Southampton area, or people can make their own way. The boat is free but there will be a shared food bill and a few quid for petrol.

Anyone interested please DO NOT reply to this email but contact James direct:, 01489 890 816 or 07747 333 582.

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World Voyage
In 1995-7, John Laing and her sister ship, James Cook, sailed round the world in 13 legs with crews of young people. A number of them are currently trying to track each other down, swap news and maybe even organise a reunion. If you were on the World Voyage, or know anyone who was, please email me – or even better, if you use Facebook, send a request to join the group “Ocean Youth Club World Voyage 1995-7” – people are using the page to post their stories and photos.

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NEW Baboon file (voyage handbook for sea staff)
Thanks to those who have sent me comments on the all-new Baboon file – do please let me know what you think of it, and any suggestions for changes, improvements or additions.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s on the sea staff only section of the website, which you can access with a password. Any sea staff who don’t have their password should email me. It contains all the standard operating procedures and policies for staff and volunteers working on board, now in full colour with pictures!

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OYT South Open Day, Lunch and AGM 11th October
A date for your diary – OYT South will be holding an Open Day and lunch, followed by our AGM, on Sunday 11th October. It will be held at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble. John Laing will be berthed on the pontoon immediately outside. There will be an excellent three course Sunday lunch in the Yacht Club for a reasonable price, and we invite all our supporters, volunteers, clients, sponsors, suppliers, parents, past and present crew to come along and see the boat, chat to the team, and hear about some big plans we have for the future of OYT South. Tickets will be on sale shortly but you can email me now if you would like to come, and we’ll send you full details as soon as we have them.

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* Financial appeal
Thanks this week for a generous donation from Russell Cook.

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 refit has just finished but the bills still keep coming in – and once the 2008-9 refit is fully-funded, we all need to take a deep breath and start raising money for next winter!

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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Keep in touch with other John Laing people - or make new friends
See here for online opportunities to meet other John Laing enthusiasts. Swap stories, post photos, keep in touch with people you sailed with, track down old friends etc.

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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