Thermopylae Clipper - OYT South borrows an extra boat because there is a demand for more voyages than we can fit in John Laing!


OYT South bulletin 28th May 2009

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Sea staff bookings
Thanks to those who have filled the urgent sea staff vacancies.

I’ve had plenty of offers - more than we can possibly use - for almost all the remaining sea staff berths this season, so I am just in the process of engaging in a complex juggling task to try and make sure everyone who has asked gets something that suits them.

The only voyages left where I don’t have a queue of people hoping to sail are:

12-18 June, Southampton to Ipswich: space for one extra mate or trainee mate
31 Aug-4 Sept, Southampton: is there a volunteer first mate available? If not, we’ll have to pay a professional.
27 Sept - 4 Oct, Southampton: two voyages but we’d like to find one person who can bosun for both.
12-16 Oct, Southampton: need a second mate or experienced third mate.
16-18 Oct, Southampton: is there a volunteer first mate available? If not, we’ll have to pay a professional.
19-23 Oct, Southampton: hoping to find a volunteer first mate for John Laing, plus two experienced watch leaders for Thermopylae Clipper.
Email me now if you can help with any of these!

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* Voyage news
Last week was one of the most popular voyages of OYT South’s year, with Alfreton Park Special School - six young people with moderate to severe multiple physical and learning difficulties, sailing with six adult carers. They had a week of brilliant sunshine but decent winds, so some very good sailing. We never do a lot of miles with this group, so 68 miles in five days was a great achievement. With maximum winds of Force 7, they were glad to be able to stay in the shelter of the Solent for the week: Southampton-Gosport (where Sally from the office was able to come and meet the crew)-Osborne Bay-Cowes-Yarmouth-Southampton. Seventeen-year old Luke’s catchphrase for the voyage was “I love my life”; while Elliot likes to have a distinguishing characteristic associated with the people he meets, to help him remember their names, so on being introduced to one of the watch leaders, caused much amusement by stating confidently: “Geoff – no hair!” Altogether it was a fantastic week and everyone got on brilliantly. Many thanks to sea staff James, Graeme, Geoff, Habit (back from Canada for one voyage only), Di, and sixteen-year old Kerrin, sailing for the first time as the official relief bosun, having done lots of work at the last winter refit.

This was followed by a weekend voyage for St Gabriel’s school, another regular client. Skipper Yvonne said they were a great group, very bright and sparky, and got through an amazing amount for a short voyage. They sailed to Poole and back, with time ashore as well as games on board. Most people said the highlight of the weekend was the crème caramel game, which teacher Anna said she is now going to introduce at dinner parties! All the girls got their RYA Start Yachting certificates, a great effort. Many thanks to sea staff Yvonne, Brian, Ben M, Lucinda, Andy and Kerrin.

The voyage currently under way is a mixed half-term group: seven people from a Hertfordshire young carers’ group; three girls who were introduced to us via the Scoliosis Association (for spinal curvature), and two individual bookings, one of whom had sailed with us before. Apart from two pairs of siblings, no-one knew anyone else, so it has been a good week for getting to know each other and making friends. It has also been another blustery week; but luckily for the young carers, not as bad as last year when some of the same Hertfordshire group had dreadful weather just at the time the boat was under real pressure to get to Falmouth. This year they have been able to have a much more relaxed experience by staying in the Solent and having time ashore: they have done Southampton-Cowes-Yarmouth-Portsmouth-Osborne Bay-Gosport, and are currently heading for an hour’s run ashore in Cowes before making their way back up to Southampton tonight. Most of the tales of the voyage seem to involve water-pistols, chocolate and the like, so they are clearly having a good time. They are also getting through some serious training as well, as Yvonne is currently expecting to be able to award a lot of certificates when the voyage ends tomorrow. The sea staff have certainly been working very hard, as Ben M has started his first mate’s assessment and Jez is doing his third mate’s, so skipper Yvonne and official 1M Martin have been keeping them both very hard at work, alongside the other watch leader Annie and bosun Kerrin. Thanks to all of them for their efforts.

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* Voyages for young people 2009 - NEW availability!

21-28 June, Ipswich to Kiel, £450 plus travel, crew aged 12-25 - 1 place left.
13-25 July, St Petersburg to Turku, Tall Ships cruise in company, £720 plus travel and Russian visa, crew aged 15-25 - up to 3 places left.
25 July - 2 August, Turku to Klaipeda, Tall Ships race 2, £575 plus travel, crew aged 15-25 - 2 places left.
2-9 Aug, Klaipeda to Kiel, £490 plus travel. Crew aged 15-25 - 4 places may be left though we have had some interest in all four.
NEW: 27-30 Sept, Southampton, £210 - 2 places left. The rest of this voyage has been booked for a group of boys aged 12-13, so they are looking for two others who would fit in and would like to join them.

Everything else this year seems to be full, for the moment, but I can only stress that people DO have to drop out of voyages from time to time, so it is well worth getting your name on our reserve list and giving us an idea of your availability, and we can contact you straight away if spaces come up.

Please note that if you are aged 18+, you can also look at the adult voyage, Kiel to Gdynia, 28 June to 4 July, as an option - see below.

Full 2009 voyage programme.

Contact the office for enquiries or bookings.

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* Voyages for adults 2009

28 June - 4 July, Kiel to Gdynia, £490 ONO plus travel, an amazing chance to see the Gdynia Tall Ships festival. We really need to fill this voyage - if you would like to come but can't afford the full price, please email me to discuss it. We really MUST fill some more places - please send this flyer around to anyone you can think of, with a note to say that if we can’t sell full-price berths we will accept the best offers!
18-20 September, Southampton, £150. This voyage is primarily focussed on advanced mate's training, ideal for first mates and experienced second mates; but we can’t have eighteen people all wanting to take charge of everything, so we are opening spare places to anyone who wants to come along and see what it’s all about - especially if you would like to pretend to be a teenage novice sailor and give the mates someone to practise on!

Email me for more information about either of these.

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Maintenance days – 1 June, 19 & 20 June
John Laing has maintenance days on 1 June in Southampton, and 19 & 20 June in Ipswich. We need lots of help for these, especially the Ipswich dates, when a major task will be getting two months’ food stores on board for our Baltic trips, and stowing it all in an organised fashion. Call Wolf on 07771 771864 to book yourself in to help.

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* Cycle to raise funds for OYT South
Anyone interested in joining a cycling tour over to raise some funds for OYT South?

Musician and OYT watch leader Joe Parker did an acoustic tour last year by bike, and fancies repeating it again this year with a 'riders of the apocalypse' thing going where he’ll have four riders with him, each one riding for a specific charity.

You can find out more about Joe and his music here, where you will also find the following description: “LONELY JOE PARKER is not only one of the founding members of the Sotones co-op label, he is also the label's cider swigging, bike riding, imaginatively attired troubadour of broken hearts and broken strings. An extremely accomplished songsmith and performer, he's honed his sound last year on a busking tour of the States, from Miami to NYC - no mean feat. Intense yet endearing, Joe is a captivating onstage presence as some of the most crafted and lyrically assured guitar pop this side of the Lemonheads springs forth from his blackened soul and fingers. Make sure you witness this battle-scarred scoundrel before he leaps off stage in search of the dregs of someone else's pint...and possibly their girlfriend too.”

I don’t yet have details of where and when Joe is planning his bike tour, but anyone who thinks it sounds fun should email me and I’ll put you in touch with Joe.

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* Financial appeal
Three donations to report since the last bulletin: a generous contribution towards bursaries from the Sydney Black Trust; a donation from the Cook family; and a cheque from Rob Harwood, who stopped to help a woman who was struggling to change a tyre by the roadside, and when she offered to give him some cash for his efforts, he wouldn’t take anything for himself but was persuaded to accept something for the charity of his choice!

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: we have several groups and individuals needing additional funding in order to be able to take part in a voyage in 2009. 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. We also want to open up the most exciting voyages of 2009 - the Tall Ships series - to young people from a wide range of backgrounds, including some of those who cannot afford the full price.

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 - NEW social networking guidelines
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 introduced a policy that our adult staff and volunteers should not make or accept individual online friend requests with young people aged under 16. Young crew members can use the sites to stay in touch with the boat and with each other, but not with individual adults.

See here for how to join.

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Volunteer press officer

With the 50th anniversary of the Ocean Youth Club coming up next year, we would really like to develop the capacity to generate much more publicity for OYT South - both for big projects and events, but also simple regular stories for local papers when a group or individual from their area comes on the boat. We've got one volunteer who is keen to be involved with this and has lots of ideas for stories, but he freely admits that writing and spelling are not his strongest points. So we're looking for one or more additional volunteers with strong writing skills, to set up a small Press Team - which has the additional benefit of ensuring that if any team member goes on holiday or is extra busy at work, we might have someone else in the team to send out stories - meaning there wouldn't be too much pressure on any one individual. Anyone interested? Email me for more information.

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OYT South Open Day, Lunch and AGM 11th October
A date for your diary - OYT South will be holding an Open Day and lunch, followed by our AGM, on Sunday 11th October. It will be held at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble. John Laing will be berthed on the pontoon immediately outside. There will be an excellent three course Sunday lunch in the Yacht Club for a reasonable price, and we invite all our supporters, volunteers, clients, sponsors, suppliers, parents, past and present crew to come along and see the boat, chat to the team, and hear about some big plans we have for the future of OYT South. Tickets will be on sale shortly but you can email me now if you would like to come, and we’ll send you full details as soon as we have them.

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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