Contrasting weather!


OYT South bulletin 28th August 2009

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *


* Voyage news
A week ago, John Laing had just arrived in Poole with a mixed crew of MDL Award Winners and individuals. They had shore leave plus some RYA training in Poole before leaving for the final leg back to Ocean Village. Sadly there wasn’t much wind – which was a shame since they had had almost too much wind at the start of the week (average wind strength across the whole voyage was probably just about right, but that’s no consolation!). However, things were enlivened by the second Red Arrows display of the week. First mate Simon also got the crew involved with the navigation – particularly interesting as that week saw some of the strongest tides of the year and they were doing 11 knots as they came into the Solent. They reached Ocean Village at half past ten on Saturday night and John Laing was finally back in her home berth after all her Tall Ships wanderings.

Nine RYA Competent Crew certificates and one Start Yachting certificate were awarded at the end of this voyage, and at least three of these young people would also be welcome back as volunteer sea staff in the future. It was also a good week for training existing sea staff – many congratulations to Michaela on passing her third mate’s assessment and to Joe for completing his second mate’s. Plus Brendan the bosun was recommended for a third mate’s assessment next year, and Andy Viney was recommended for first mate training – thanks and well done to all of them, as well as Wolf and Simon, for an excellent voyage.

The next group joined on Tuesday – a mixed group partly organised by trainee mate Lucinda, plus some individual bookings including a couple of people doing Duke of Edinburgh’s Award gold residentials. Sadly they have had a week of really difficult weather – one parent even rang the office to say she had been tracking the vessel online and they didn’t seem to be going anywhere. But there have been gales or really uncomfortable conditions all week, and the sea staff have been working hard to deliver an energetic and entertaining trip in trying circumstances. They sailed to Cowes on the first night and were then stuck there all through Wednesday: they had shore leave, rowing, practice mizzen hoists and reefing, and a quiz night. Next day things were a little better, so they had a good sail out through the forts and approaching Sandown Bay, before retreating to the shelter of Gosport in the evening, where they enjoyed loads of games. Today they have gales again and are stuck in harbour once more, but it’s a very nice crew and they are taking it well – it would really be neither safe nor enjoyable for anyone to be at sea in this weather!

Many thanks to the sea staff for all their efforts to make the voyage as much fun as possible: Wolf, Richard, Ben, Andy, Liz and Lucinda.

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* Congratulations to skipper Wolf!
Our senior skipper and Operations Manager, Mark “Wolf” Todd, is now an RYA Yachtmaster Examiner. This is a serious mark of approval from the Royal Yachting Association for the best sailors and instructors in the industry – and a big honour for OYT South to have the skill of our skipper noted in this way – especially after one of our relief skippers, Nic Crawford, also became an Examiner earlier this year!

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

19-23 Oct: one experienced OYT South watch leader for Thermopylae Clipper, and a second mate for John Laing. One or both should be female.
24-27 Oct: bosun needed.
28 Oct - 1 Nov: one more experienced John Laing mate
Email me now if you can help with any of these!

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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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* Lifejackets - essential training for sea staff - IMPORTANT
It is really important that we get some people through the Ocean Safety lifejacket course – it is now becoming an essential safety requirement that all our sea staff and volunteers, especially relief bosuns and anyone who often attends maintenance days, attend a short training course on lifejacket packing. We hope to set up convenient dates to get as many people as possible through this course, but the first one will be on Monday 14 September, 9am to 12 noon, at Ocean Safety in Southampton. There are currently 3 spaces, £20 each, call Wolf on 07771 771864 if you are interested.

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OYT South Open Day, Lunch and AGM 11th October - more details
Please see here for details of this event in Hamble – all invited! Please do come along and hear all about our plans for next year, including some big changes. RSVP as soon as you can as we need to know numbers.

Whether or not you can make this year’s event, please put next year’s dates in your diary NOW as 16-17 October 2010 will be 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 2009
Very last few places!

7-12 Sept, Southampton, £300. Crew aged 12-25. We might have one or two spaces left, depending on whether provisional bookings are confirmed.
27-30 Sept, Southampton, £210 - 1 place left. Ten places on this voyage have been booked for a group of boys aged 12-13, the eleventh is an older boy who hopes to become one of our volunteers - so the last place would suit either another 12-13 year old, or someone older who might be interested in supporting and encouraging the younger ones.

Please do contact our office about joining our reserve list if you still want to sail this year. People do sometimes drop out at short notice, and if we know you are interested and we have all your contact details, you might get a last-minute voyage at cheap rates! Failing that, see our 2010 programme.

Full 2009 voyage programme.

Contact the office for enquiries or bookings, or to join our reserve list.

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2010 voyage programme
If you can’t find space to sail in 2009, do start looking at 2010. It's not too early to apply now if you want to sail next year.

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Mates' training weekend and new volunteer mates
The 18-20 September weekend is now full, with a reserve list, so it is unlikely that we will be able to take anyone else. 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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Sea survival course, 6-7 February 2010

The next chance for volunteer sea staff to do the ISAF Sea Survival course has already been set for 6-7 February. This is a really valuable course for all our volunteers, covering use of flares and a practice session in a swimming pool with a liferaft. Strongly recommended. You can do the 2-day course for £150, plus an extra £10 for the handbook if you want to include the First Aid qualification; or you can do the one-day RYA Sea Survival course on the Saturday for just £75. Email me if you might be interested.

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* Shorebased training weekend
In previous years we have run other training courses at the same time as the Sea Survival weekend above, but next year we are thinking of separating them and we are just in the process of checking dates, venue and instructor availability. However, assuming we manage to arrange another training weekend at around that time of year, it would be useful to know what the demand is for particular courses. We have previously offered RYA GMDSS, Radar, First Aid, Diesel engines and Food Hygiene, and we have some other plans for useful things we could add to the weekend. Please start letting me know now if you would be interested in these or any other one-day shorebased qualifications – it really helps to have an early impression of the likely demand!

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* Financial appeal
Many thanks to the Dr Mary Ellis Memorial Fund for a donation towards bursaries, and also to Rob Harwood for a donation.

We are currently running appeals for refit and bursaries - please donate something if you possibly can.

You can find details of the refit appeal here - all the essential work which allows John Laing to keep sailing. The last refit has been funded but now we all need to take a deep breath and start raising money for next winter!

Bursaries: 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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Southampton Boat Show - discounted tickets
Many thanks to John Goode for once again arranging discounted Boat Show tickets for OYT members and their families and friends. The Southampton show runs from 11-20 September this year. 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.

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Tall Ships photos - and keep in touch with other John Laing people
Still more photos of our Tall Ships adventures are being posted on Facebook - I recommend that you sign up just to look at them! See here for how to join.

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.

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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* Boat for sale
One of our volunteers, Fraser Old, is sadly having to sell his much-loved Westerly Berwick 31, currently lying in Stavoren, in Holland. Fraser has posted some excellent photos on Snapfish – if you or anyone you know might be able to help her find an appreciative new owner, let me know and we can give you access to the pictures, or look for the green Berwick here.

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* Yacht charter for racing – can anyone help?
Another of our volunteers, Mike Sturrock, is thinking of doing the two handed Azores and Back race in 2011 and is looking for a boat to charter that he can have for a period before the race to complete the 500 mile qualifying trip and then the race itself. He says “We could just go for a normal charter boat, but I'm thinking that if someone has a boat they aren't using and want someone to get it up to scratch then this could be an opportunity.” Email me with any suggestions or offers and I’ll pass them on to Mike! 

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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