John Laing and Thermopylae Clipper


OYT South bulletin 24th October 2009

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Voyage news
One extra bit of news from last week that hadn’t quite been finalised at the time of the last bulletin - huge congratulations to John Snowden for passing his first mate’s assessment (and incidentally following in his father’s footsteps - can people think of any other examples of hereditary OYC / OYT first mates?).

A new client for John Laing last weekend - Hillingdon Hospital’s paediatric diabetes unit. Ten young people who all use insulin, along with two medical staff, Fiona and Nigel. They left Ocean Village on Saturday and had a good afternoon of sail training drills, tacking and teamwork, before ending up in Cowes for the night. On Sunday morning they moved the boat over to West Cowes so that everyone could have a run ashore, and then sailed east to Ryde before heading back, with lots more tacking, reefing drills and so on. The sea staff say this was a lovely crew - a real mix, with 16-year olds who are quite used to their insulin regimes as well as younger ones who are getting to grips with it. There was plenty of enthusiasm and we definitely hope that Hillingdon Hospital will join our list of regular clients!

Many thanks to sea staff Brian, Liz, Fergus, Steve, Andy S and Andrew W.

Monday saw the start of a double OYT South voyage, with both John Laing and, once again, Thermopylae Clipper in action for us as we had more people wanting to book than we could fit into one boat. John Laing’s crew all attend Bourne College; Thermopylae Clipper took six young people who are all in foster care in Hampshire. John Laing started and finished in Ocean Village, Thermopylae Clipper in Universal Marina, Hamble; but otherwise they spent much of the week doing a cruise in company. After Cowes on the first night, and lots of Start Yachting training to avoid forecast miserable weather which never actually materialised, Thermopylae Clipper sailed down to Yarmouth and berthed alongside John Laing. Both boats thought of Weymouth the next day, but found a very lumpy and uncomfortable sea which encouraged them to go for Poole instead, where lots of games were played. They sailed back to the Solent on Thursday, with Thermopylae Clipper anchoring in Newtown Creek for lunch while John Laing went on to Osborne Bay; and both boats did night passages back up to their respective home berths. Six Start Yachting certificates were earned on board Thermopylae Clipper; and five on board John Laing - though the real achievement there was first mate Fergus reaching skipper Nic’s tea threshold, estimated at 11 cups!

Many thanks to all the sea staff: on board Thermopylae Clipper, James, Liz (doing first mate training), Jon (many congratulations to him for passing his second mate’s assessment) and Emma. And on board John Laing: Nic, Fergus, Amanda, Andrew W, and Sparky Ben doing first mate training.

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* Thank you from David Salmon
David would like to pass on huge thanks to all who contributed to his retirement present - a computer, plus life membership of OYT South - which he received at the AGM lunch.

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2010 voyages for young people

We have already had bookings or provisional reservations for almost 350 berths next season, and we still have some funded places to allocate too. Large parts of the 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.

If you have made a provisional reservation for next year but have not yet paid a deposit or discussed it with the office, do please contact the office now - we can’t keep holding provisional reservations if it means turning other clients away, unless there is a good reason for delay and we know what to expect from you.

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* Refit 2009-10 - a message from James!

Good day to you from John Laing,

We are rapidly approaching our winter refit again after an awesome year of barbecues on beaches, ice cream, dodging ferries, Russian customs officers, bare foot football, ice cream, 400nm broad reaches, beating across the north sea (twice), and ice cream. We’ve sailed around the Baltic and back, eaten 4200 fish fingers, and now we need your help again!

This year’s refit will be predominantly held in Ocean Village Marina, Southampton, and we have secured the let on a house in Woolston. We will be having 5 refit weekends where we ask as many people as possible to come and help, one a month November to March, with the first on Sat/Sun 7/8th November. 

Alternatively there will be space in the house if you wish to come and help during the week, though please call to check space ASAP if you wish to do that. As this year we are not having as big a core refit team, your help would be massively appreciated. And remember - berths for next year are dished out first to those who give us a hand through the winter!

Give me a call

James Boyce
Staff Skipper

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. The refit starts on Wednesday 4th November and we will have a busy few days getting lots of kit off the boat In Southampton. See here for more detailed refit plans and estimated costs.

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* Refit house - furniture needed!
We now have a rented refit house in Southampton for the winter, for staff and volunteers. Unfortunately it is unfurnished (apart from white goods) so we need pretty much everything – beds, cupboards, chests of drawers, dining table and chairs, ironing board, vacuum cleaner etc etc. If you have anything you don’t need - or can spare from early November till late March - especially if it can easily be got to Southampton, please call James on 07990 518915.

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Refit core team

As in previous years, we are looking to recruit a small number of full-time volunteers to work on our winter refit between November and March. We hope all sea staff will turn up for a weekend or a few days, as normal; but it really helps our professional staff to have a small number of long-term helpers who are there for periods ranging from a month to four months, developing real experience and skills (which can often lead to careers in the marine industry, for those who want). See here for more information. Volunteers receive food and accommodation as well as valuable experience. Our professional staff will hope to meet prospective volunteers over the next few weeks, and will explain more about what is involved before offering places to suitable candidates. If you would be interested, please email me.

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Training weekend 6th-7th February 2010
We shall be running our usual OYT South sea staff training weekend in Gosport 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.

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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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
Thanks this week to the SS Uganda Trust for a generous contribution towards safety equipment.

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!

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