John Laing outside Poole this week (photo: Mike Millard)


OYT South bulletin 25th September 2009

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *


OYT South Open Day, Lunch and AGM 11th October - URGENT
If you are planning to come to this event, please contact the office a.s.a.p. with numbers and payment for lunch, if required. See here for details - all invited! Please do come along and hear all about our plans for next year, including some big changes and a chance to look at the design for our proposed new boat. We really need to know numbers as soon as possible.

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Job advertisement - Staff Bosun
OYT South is seeking applications for the role of Staff Bosun.

The staff bosun's role involves boat maintenance under the supervision of the staff skipper. From November to March, the bosun will work on John Laing's annual refit. During the sailing season, the bosun sails on board John Laing on a working pattern of approximately four weeks on and two weeks off.

The successful applicant will be aged 18+ and will have an interest in and empathy for working with young people from a wide variety of backgrounds. The bosun will also be required to work with volunteer watch leaders and other OYT South supporters, including the marine engineer.

An enthusiasm and proven ability for making and fixing things will be essential. Applicants will ideally have some experience of boat maintenance, sail training and sailing generally, and prior experience as a bosun, volunteer bosun or refit volunteer is desirable; but the job will incorporate substantial training and can be used as an entry point to the sail training industry.

The bosun will also be required to keep maintenance records and must therefore have basic numeracy and literacy skills.

We will expect the bosun to qualify as a watch leader fairly quickly and be competent to lead a watch of young people on an occasional basis. RYA cruising qualifications (Competent Crew and above) will be an advantage but not essential.

Ideally applicants will be interested in staying in the post for at least two years.

Salary is expected to be in the range £9,000 to £11,000 depending on age and experience, plus additional benefits.

A satisfactory criminal records bureau enhanced check will be required. A clean driving licence is desirable. The successful candidate will need to pass an ENG1 medical, which covers medical fitness for seafarers, including eyesight standards and colour vision.

Energy, enthusiasm and a sense of humour will all be real advantages in a demanding and responsible role.

Apply with CV and covering letter, including contact details for at least 2 referees, covering professional/educational and personal experience over the last 5 years to: Sally Croly, OYT South Office Manager, preferably by email to , but otherwise by post to Ocean Youth Trust South, 8 North Meadow, Weevil Lane, Gosport, Hampshire PO12 1BP. Telephone 0845 365 6781 if further information is required. Closing date for applications Wednesday 21st October 2009. Applicants should ideally be available to start work in mid-December 2009.

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* Voyage news
Last week ended with a brief stay in Hamble while the riggers fixed the problem with the mast – it is now all secure once more!

We then had a training weekend for prospective first mates, with a few new potential sea staff also along to see how things work. Friday night gave us a chance for a good discussion about the role of the first mate; and on Saturday various people took turns at delivering all the introductory and safety briefings, and we also did the detailed mates’ deck walk. There was no wind on Saturday morning, so we spent a long time giving everyone a chance to park the boat. Then we sailed and motored down to Cowes and some people had an evening ashore. Next day there was still no wind, but we did a lot of man overboard recovery drills, including trying out a Jon buoy which James Turner kindly brought. We also anchored, tested the storm sails, and did various tours of the boat and the engine room. All in all it was a full weekend which made the best of the complete lack of wind, and we can definitely see prospects for some good first mates and other new mates in future. Thanks to official sea staff Wolf, Caz, Andy, Martin, Chris and Ciaron, who all alternated between showing people lots of things, or occasionally having nothing at all to do while other people took over their jobs!

This week’s voyage has been the annual one for CHASE children’s hospice, from Guildford, for brothers and sisters of life-limited children. They set off very promptly after joining the boat on Monday in order to catch the tide down to Poole – a long way and a late arrival for a a new crew, many of whom were only 12 years old. The next morning they had a little bit of shore leave, and then trainee mate Ruth piloted them out of Poole Harbour. On the way they were spotted by photographer Mike Millard, who kindly sent us a nice photo which is on the web version of this newsletter.

The sails went up by Old Harry, and then they did some man overboard recovery drills under power before setting off for Weymouth in westerly winds of force 5 or so, with the vessel doing 10 knots at times. They arrived in time for dinner and lots of games.

Next morning they practised rowing the dinghy and worked on their Start Yachting certificates, as well as fitting in shore leave and showers. Then they went out for a day sail, covering tacking, gybing and points of sail, as well us picking up a fender under sail, and anchoring, before going back into Weymouth.

Yesterday they had a 7am start and sailed to Swanage on a beautiful broad reach in calm seas with winds of force 3-4. Everyone enjoyed the sunshine except James, who was doing a fog navigation exercise and was in the chart room with all the windows covered up! They anchored in Swanage to wait for the tide, and did a few more exercises there, before doing a night passage up the Solent, getting back to Ocean Village just after midnight. It was a very full and challenging trip for the young crew and group leaders but they have been brilliant, completing 157 miles and 8 night hours in four days. We expect to be awarding two Competent Crew certificates and 9 Start Yachting before they leave.

Many thanks to sea staff Wolf, John, James T, Tigger, Miranda and Ruth, who has just been signed off as a third mate – congratulations!

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* Sea staff bookings - really need to fill last few places
Last few sea staff vacancies this year (all Southampton):

24-27 Oct: bosun needed.
28 Oct - 1 Nov: one more experienced John Laing mate needed
Email me now if you can help with any of these!

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* Builder needed - can anyone help?
We have very kindly been offered free storage by MDL at Ocean Village, Southampton. The place we can use is under the car ramp in the multi storey car park. The builders of the car park used this area to store their tools. The only slight technical problem is that we can’t get in as it’s been bricked up. We need a builder to remove some breeze blocks, put a lintel in and fit secure doors. Does anyone have any good contacts or the ability to do this work? Email me if you have any ideas.

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Refit plans 2009-10 - something different!

In each of the last six years, John Laing has had a major refit every winter, involving a four-month vessel lift and huge demands on our finances and on volunteer time. Our staff and professional experts now believe that the underlying condition of the vessel is in a sufficiently good state that it might be possible to have a really major refit only once every two years, with a much less demanding refit in alternate years. The only way to be certain how this will work is to try it, so 2009-10 will be a different sort of refit. We are planning to have the boat out of the water for only three weeks, in late November and early December, to complete work below the waterline. Otherwise, John Laing will be afloat in Ocean Village through the winter, with the deck tented.

This should save a good deal of money on storage ashore, scaffolding etc., and we should be able to rent a cheaper refit house for staff and volunteers in Southampton than was ever possible in Hamble.

We will, however, still need lots of volunteers! We will probably only have a couple of people in the full-time core team (see below), and 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 Tuesday 3rd November and we will have a busy few days getting lots of kit off the boat. James is in charge, and can start taking bookings for volunteers now, including for the first weekend 7-8 November (when he plans something sociable for Saturday night...) - contact him on the boat phone 07990 518915. See here for more detailed refit plans and estimated costs.

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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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Maintenance day Monday 5th October
John Laing is having a maintenance day in Southampton on Monday 5th October – help needed, both skilled and unskilled. Call 07990 518915 if you can come along. This would be an ideal day for people interested in joining the core refit team to come and get an idea of what might be involved.

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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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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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* Voyages for young people
We are now fully-booked to the end of the 2009 season, though you can always contact our office to go on the short-notice reserve list in case anyone drops out at the last minute.

But the 2010 sailing programme is filling fast - some times of year are proving very popular, so please don’t leave it too long before making your provisional reservation!

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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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Trinity House Bursary Fund
This scheme encourages ASTO members to recommend suitable applicants who are working or volunteering in Sail Training and wish to gain RYA and/or MCA qualifications. Successful candidates will be awarded grants from the Trinity House bursary fund to cover the cost of relevant training and examinations.

This is an excellent opportunity for employees and volunteers committed to Sail Training to apply for funding, enabling them to achieve structured progression towards a higher level of qualification. 

The next round of interviews will be held at Trinity House in London on 11 November 2009. 

Applicants should be under 40 years of age; unable to fund or obtain the required training without a Trinity House Career Development Bursary; able to demonstrate a previous and continued commitment to Sail Training; be a British citizen; be able to complete the requested training within two years of the award.
The training requested should develop the overall skill set and ability of the applicant, and represent a genuine improvement in their competence. For example, training to move from RYA Coastal Skipper to RYA Yachtmaster, or to make the transition from RYA Yachtmaster to STCW '95 OOW (Yachts limited to 3000T), would meet this requirement.
Applications for short courses alone, updates, or instructional qualifications will not be accepted.

An Application Form and guidance notes are available for download here. Submissions to ASTO by 16 October 2009, but please email us first to check whether OYT South can recommend your application.

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Financial appeal
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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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