Sections which have changed since last time marked *
* 250th edition of this newsletter
Hard to believe that this is the 250th edition of the OYT South weekly e-newsletter. You can read all the back editions here. We started it as refit 2003-4 was getting under way, simply with a view to attracting volunteers down to the boat over the winter. It has grown to an all-year-round publication with a much wider remit than was ever originally envisaged. The first edition went to 127 people, and was very much an in-house newsletter, and full of in-jokes. Nowadays the circulation is heading towards two thousand people, and the style has had to change somewhat. However, it has been fantastic that so many people have wanted to stay in touch, join in with events and activities, and contribute to the growth of OYT South over the last six years. Thank you all for reading!
* New staff bosun!
We had an exceptionally strong field of applicants for the staff bosun’s position, we interviewed some extremely nice people and had some tough decisions to make in turning people down. However, we can now announce that our new Staff Bosun, joining us in January, will be Kirsten Mackay. She is aged 31 and has spent most of this year doing a training course with and then working for Square Sail in Cornwall, as well as volunteering as Bosun’s Mate with the Jubilee Sailing Trust. Before that she was an education administrator, running orchestral outreach projects for schools. She is also a musician and music teacher who plays the violin and viola. We look forward to Kirsten joining the team and I know everyone will want to make her feel very welcome.
On Saturday 6th February, we hope to run the GMDSS radio course (£50 + £25 exam fee - only one or two places left. Apologies for emails in which I have quoted a £22 exam fee - I’ve just realised it has gone up), the lifejacket packing course (price tbc, and lots of places left as it is a short course so we can run it twice in the day if we get enough people) and food hygiene (which still definitely needs more people before it becomes cost-effective to run).
On Sunday 7th February, we hope to run Radar (£60 - around 3 places left), First Aid (price tbc but last year it was £45 with a full group - this time we currently have 3 or 4 places left), and Diesel (definitely needs a few more people to be cost-effective - aiming to get the cost down to around £70).
The RYA or ISAF Sea Survival courses are not running 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.
More details about course content on the website here.
Email me to book on any courses.
This year we are working on an option for very cheap local accommodation to enable people to stay overnight, as well as a social evening on the Saturday - more details to follow..
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.
* Financial appeal
Fundraising has been going through a very good patch lately. We have secured a three-year grant from Children in Need which will go towards the skipper’s salary and vessel refit costs. Comic Relief, via the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation, has made a generous donation to this year’s refit, as has the EBM Charitable Trust. The Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation has just sent us the second instalment of a three-year funding programme in memory of Sir Maurice Laing. The Peter Dixon Trust has just agreed an extensive bursaries programme for 2010 after the success of the first year’s funding in 2009. Graham Watson has made a kind donation following a day sail with us earlier in the autumn. And the cheque from the SS Uganda Trust for the new EPIRB and Jonbuoy was delivered to the office this week. Thank you so much to all these people and organisations for their exceptional generosity.
However, we still can’t sit back and relax - the fundraising task never ends! 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.
However, before they left, the team finished shifting fuel from the port tank to starboard and cleaned the port tank - after James had built a pump with a fine filter! Liz and Sparky rust-busted the forepeak and put on two coats of primer. Andy Kitching did the tank lids and spent a long time working out which way round to put them back on. They also survived the first of the winter storms, did a lot of cleaning and tidying, and renamed James “the Tasmanian Devil”. Many thanks to James, Liz, Sparky and Andy for all their efforts; also to Jonathan Cheshire and Mark for visiting them; and to Bob Trimble for lending us a life raft for when John Laing moves round to the Hamble for the lift-out, so that our own life rafts could go away to be serviced. Everything that was planned to be done before moving the boat and lifting her has been done, and she comes out of the water next Tuesday. She will be relaunched on December 11th, after which the refit will continue in Ocean Village.
Do keep contacting James on 07990 518915 (not till Monday when he’s back after Istanbul) if you can help with the refit for a day or more. For students and others hoping to help in the Christmas holidays, refit holiday dates are as follows: the last day for the staff before Christmas is 23 December, so probably the last useful day for volunteers is 22 December. Staff come back on 4 January so volunteers will be welcome from 5 January.
If you can only make it at weekends, other dates in our planned series of volunteer weekends are:
(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.
* Sea staff bookings 2010
I’m not going to confirm lots of sea staff bookings just yet - the skippers haven’t written their rota, and we need to allow time at refit to see who does the most work and deserves their pick of the voyages. But if you have limited availability, or you want to do an assessment, or you would like to sail with a particular client group, do let me know now and I’ll make a note of what you want. It would also be useful to get an early indication of availability and interest from first mates, since there are fewer of you. I won’t be confirming any bookings for Tall Ships sea staff yet - the skippers will probably want to invite a number of people for those places.
* London Boat Show January 2010 - special offer
The London International Boat Show will run from 8th - 17th January 2010, and John Goode has again kindly arranged for discounted tickets for OYT South members. 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.
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.
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. Take a look here for the first example of someone making a Justgiving page for OYT South - many thanks and best wishes to David Arnold!
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. I think we have 17 people so far…
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!
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.
* Chris Ellis award - win ££s towards sailing next year - ten days 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!
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.
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.
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!
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.