St Petersburg Tall Ships 2009


OYT South bulletin 18th July 2009

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

Voyage News

Last week we left John Laing entering St. Petersburg in the pouring rain. This was the end of  Race 1 of the Tall Ships 2009 Baltic Series. Four tea towels were needed to keep the chart dry,  despite it being in the shelter of the chartroom. 

 But things did get better; in fact much better. The sun came out and John Laing moored in the centre of St. Petersburg on the Neva River,  surrounded by the awesome architecture of this historic city: gilded domes, famous palaces and majestic bridges.

 If this wasn’t enough the final positions for the first race were announced and John Laing’s best result in years was confirmed:  9th in Class and 30th Overall, out of 73 finishers. Congratulations and thanks to all the crew and sea staff:-  Skipper Mark Todd, 1M Nick Power, Ben, John, Lisa and Tristan.

 The good news kept coming- this time in the form of Genia our amazingly efficient liason officer. Genia completed all the items on Mark’s jobs list:  food, fuel, water etc;  but not, thankfully, the nuclear warhead that he requested.

 The next day Genia took all the crew on a guided walk of St. Petersburg.  This included the Hermitage Museum, the Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral, the cake and coffee shops and down the longest imaginable escalator into the deepest metro system in the world. 

Monday saw the new sea staff starting to arrive in time for Caz’s  birthday party. Caz says that she thinks is one of the best parties ever held on John Laing.  Clearly a yacht moored in the centre of St. Petersburg is a fairly cool place to have your birthday party. Entertainment was provided by the top-rated folk singer Phil Beer who was sailing in another vessel.  An OYT celebrity presence was added by Emma Laird,  the daughter of the late OYC founder Chris Ellis. 

On Tuesday the new crew arrived and the Parade of Sail was held in the early evening.  John Laing met up with the yachts Black Diamond and Pegasus.  The next leg of the Tall ships Baltic series is a Cruise in Company. The plan in joining with these two yachts was to visit all the beautiful small places that are less suitable for a square rigger.

Tuesday night was spent at sea.  Wednesday saw the passage continue, with some sailing in light airs, and some motoring.  At 11.30pm the fog came down. Not ordinary fog but a serious gloupy peasouper of a fog.

 At 1.30 am the decision was taken to stop sailing because of  the very poor visibility and proximity to busy shipping lanes.  John Laing held station under main and mizzen while the other two yachts circled round John Laing using her as a reference point.  Apparently this has only served to heighten Wolf’s view that he is the centre of the universe.

On Wednesday morning the fog lifted after 9am and John Laing was able to reach Suomenlinna, near Helsinki.  This island is a Unesco World Heritage Site and very beautiful.  All the crew and sea staff spent time relaxing after the long passage.  Some sampled local customs by taking a sauna.

On Friday morning everyone caught the ferry into Helsinki and went to places as diverse as the Museum of Modern Art and the Fishmarket.  The plan for Saturday is to sail into the archipelago south of Finland and make gradual progress to Turku.

John Laing has been living the spirit of the tall ships races with a number of Russians amongst the crew onboard.  This has led to ideas such as a complete day of Russian themed food.

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Financial Appeal

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.

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Voyages for young people 2009 - current vacancies

There are just a few opportunities left to sail in John Laing this year:-

25 July - 2 August, Turku to Klaipeda, Tall Ships race 2, £575 ONO plus travel, crew aged 15-25 - 2 places left.

NEW: 7-12 Sept, Southampton, £300. Crew aged 12-25. Possibly 2 places left.

27-30 Sept, Southampton, £210 - 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.

24-27 Oct, Southampton, £195 - 1 place left. This is a half-term trip, with other crew members aged 12-13, both boys and girls.

28 Oct - 1 Nov, Southampton, £260 - 2 places left. Another half-term voyage, with a mixed crew.

 Book now by contacting the office:-   0845 365 6781,  (or join our reserve list.)

Voyages for adults 2009 

18-20 September, Southampton, £150. This voyage is primarily focussed on advanced mate's training, ideal for first mates and experienced second mates; but we can't have eighteen people all wanting to take charge of everything, so we are opening spare places to anyone who wants to come along and see what it's all about - especially if you would like to pretend to be a teenage novice sailor and give the mates someone to practise on! 3 places left. Email me for more information about this weekend.

 Voyages for Sea Staff 2009

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

 13 Sept day sail: possibly space for one more experienced John Laing mate

14-18 Sept: third mate or trainee mate - I've had one offer but still waiting to hear if he can get time off work.

26-30 Sept: second mate

19-23 Oct: one experienced OYT South watch leader for Thermopylae Clipper, and a second mate for John Laing.

24-27 Oct: bosun needed.

E-mail now if you can help with any of these!

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 Voyages in 2010

We are making good progress sorting out group bookings for 2010, but there are still some negotiations under way when different clients want voyages at around the same time, and we are also still making changes to voyage dates and durations to suit clients. An updated version of the programme is here. You can certainly apply for any empty voyages now; and we hope to clarify the status of all the ones marked "enquiry" over the next few weeks, so there may yet be additional voyages available.

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Dates for your Diary

OYT South Open Day, Lunch and AGM - 11th October 2009:  We 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. Hear about some big plans we have for the future of OYT South.

Ocean Youth Trust 50th anniversary - 16-17 October 2010:  Book this date into your diary now.  Full details to follow.

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1.   Lost property - cameras and a watch
The OYT South office has one camera and a watch, which were left on board during recent voyages:  phone 0845 365 6781 if you think anything might be yours.

 2.  Boat phone
While John Laing is overseas, from 22 June to 16 August, please bear in mind that it costs us a great deal of money to use the boat phone. So please don't call unless it is really necessary; and if you must call the boat, please keep it short. You can always contact our office on 0845 365 6781 instead. 

 If you have any questions, please do reply to this email: or contact the office on 0845 365 6781.

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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