Sections which have changed since last time marked *
Monday was spent getting John Laing ready for the lift, and moving off her berth in Ocean Village on the grounds that if the wind increased she might not have got off at all (we are not on our normal berth, but tucked away on the inside for the refit). They got into Hamble on Tuesday and the lift went without a hitch though it was even windier.
Since then, they have dropped the anchors out, started work on the anchor locker, and are grinding and priming the hull.
Many thanks to James, Liz, Ben, Andrew Wilkes, Wolf, Ian Johnson, David Aspinall and Daniel Spurling. Daniel is aiming to be our new full-time core team volunteer, having heard about us via the Association of Sail Training Organisations. Like most of our previous core team volunteers, he is looking to build up experience for a career in sailing.
The team will be hard at it over the coming weeks as we only have a short window in which to complete all the work below the waterline. John Laing will be relaunched on December 11th, after which the refit will continue in Ocean Village.
Do keep contacting James on 07990 518915 if you can help with the refit for a day or more between now and late March - see here for more about what is involved.. Please do ring James rather than emailing me - he can tell you when there is space and what he needs!
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.
* Sail Training International Conference, Istanbul
A good group from OYT South attended the Sail Training International Conference in Istanbul last weekend. Reports of the various sessions are being made available on the web here.
One of the busiest of OYT South members there was Ben Martin, who, as Chair of the UK Youth Committee, is the UK’s representative at the International Youth Forum, which had its inaugural meeting in Istanbul and spent a lot of time working out plans and strategies for future activities. Ben hopes to have more information available shortly, which can be circulated via a future edition of this newsletter; but in the meantime any young people (25 or under) who want to know more or who have ideas or want to get involved in the future development of sail training can contact Ben at BenMartin@oytsouth.org.
Apart from the formal sessions, one of the key roles for the conference is to provide networking opportunities for a broad range of sail trainers. The OYT South team particularly enjoyed catching up with other OYT regions, including exchanging ideas for future co-operation with OYT Scotland, sealed by our Operations Manager (Mark “Wolf” Todd) sharing a paddle in the hotel fountain with OYT Scotland’s Chief Executive and fundraiser. Wolf is obviously missing the water, and the responsibility of his new role hasn’t sobered him beyond recognition! The team also enjoyed catching up with our Tall Ships partners from Pegasus, and reviving their famous rendition of the song “Barrett’s Privateers”.
* Training weekend 6th-7th February 2010 - accommodation details!
Places on the training weekend - for first aid, radar, diesel, food hygiene, lifejacket packing and GMDSS radio courses - have been booking up very fast. More details here, including dates, prices, more information on course content and latest availability. Email me to book.
Some of our members had mentioned that the cost of doing a couple of courses plus going out for a meal on Saturday night, as well as finding accommodation, was too much for them. We have therefore been looking at a cheaper option this year, and the Gosport Sea Cadet Unit (where the courses are being held) has very kindly offered to help with all meals and accommodation if there is sufficient interest. Lunch (jacket potatoes and fillings) will cost £5 each, including tea and coffee all day. Dinner (chicken curry, chilli and veggie option) would also cost £5, and they would open the bar – and we are looking into getting some music for the evening. Accommodation would be camping mattresses or John Laing bunk cushions on the floor, which would cost £10 per head including breakfast. We’re not quite ready to take bookings for any of this yet, but it would be useful to start getting an idea of how much interest there might be in the dinner and / or accommodation option. I know cheap meals and bunk cushions on the floor won’t suit everyone, but I hope it might be a real help to some!
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 life raft. Email me if you are interested.
* Chris Ellis award - win ££s towards sailing next year - deadline next Tuesday!!
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!
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.
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.
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.