Racing hard (photos: Martin Lovelace, Max Mudie)


OYT South bulletin 9th October 2009

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* OYT South Open Day, Lunch and AGM 11th October
We are looking forward to seeing 70 people at our lunch on Sunday in the Royal Southern Yacht Club, Hamble. There are no more lunch tickets left but if you want to come along and hear the presentations, please join us from 2pm onwards.

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Job advertisement
- Staff Bosun
OYT South is seeking applications for the role of Staff Bosun. Full details on our website here. This is a paid role starting in December this year. Closing date for applications Wednesday 21st October 2009.

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* Voyage news
Last weekend was the ASTO Small Ships Race, for an assortment of sail training vessels crewed by young people. Our race crew joined on Thursday - nine from a youth group in Rusthall, Kent, which has sailed with us before, plus three individual bookings. They motor-sailed to Gosport on the first evening, ending up in Royal Clarence, before spending Friday learning to handle sails, tacking and gybing well enough for the race. They tacked all the way to West Lepe, doing timed tacks to make it competitive between the two watches. Then they hove-to for lunch before gybing back again - passing Roman Abramovich’s yacht, which has a tender almost the size of John Laing!

There were lots of friends in Cowes that evening getting ready for the race, including Diggory and Pegasus, and Phoebe on board Moosk.

An early start next day and John Laing was on the start line just as the gun went. There was some very competitive tacking to the first mark in up to 30 knots of wind, which clearly made racing difficult for some of the boats. John Laing managed a great showing, however, reaching the downwind mark in thrd place, and eventually crossing the finish line in fifth place on the water, though a little further down the fleet after handicap calculations. Max Mudie’s race photos are here.

The evening was spent at the prizegiving party, with karaoke - John Laing’s crew, with help from third mate Emma, performed “You’re the one that I want”.

They went out for a nice Sunday morning sail, enjoying it so much that they abandoned plans to anchor for lunch, just to get in an extra hour of sailing, before heading back to Ocean Village. Group leader Mike later wrote to us: “With the outstanding efforts of James, Ben and all the crew we had a really good time and a great race! It was quite clear, when chatting to quite a few adults at the moorings and at the party, that the John Laing is held in high affection. It certainly is one of the reasons I am glad we found you!” We certainly hope to see the Rusthall group again next year, and at least two crew members showed potential as possible future volunteers.

Many thanks to sea staff James, Ben, Sparky, John, Andy and Emma.

This was followed by a maintenance day - lots of hard work from Wolf, James, Liz, Special K, Sparky, Chris, Grant, Emma, John, Fred, Roger and Shari.

Monday’s new crew saw the return of Drinda and Chichester High School for Girls – a slightly different group from previous years as this time they are all studying for a BTEC Diploma in Public Services. We asked Drinda if this meant they were all planning careers in the police, fire or armed services, and the reply came: “They will be by the time I’ve finished with them.”

They had a windy sail to Cowes on the first night under just staysail and mizzen, and on Tuesday had a reasonable passage as far as the Needles, but after that endured persistent drizzle all the way to Weymouth. Yesterday they made an early start as a weather window had opened up and they were able to make a very fast crossing to France, with lots of 8 knot sailing in rather confused seas. They are in Cherbourg this morning and planning an afternoon of training towards their RYA certificates, before sailing back tomorrow.

Many thanks to sea staff Wolf, James, Liz, John, Emma and Jonathan.

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* Refit 2009-10
Lots of volunteers needed! 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 Wednesday 4th November and we will have a busy few days getting lots of kit off the boat In Southampton. 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.

James will be working out how many casual volunteers he needs - partly depending on when get gets a refit house and knows how many people he can fit it in. He’ll also be working out a schedule of working weekends when volunteers will be welcome; but it already seems likely that 5th and 6th December will be a volunteers’ weekend because the Oysterband are playing in the Brook, Southampton, on Sunday night, and we are planning a team outing - let me know if you might be interested.

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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
Apologies to a few people who had applied for places on the Sea Survival course on Feb 6th-7th, but since we discovered that this is the weekend when we need to run all the other courses, sea survival has been moved. You now have a choice of dates: 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
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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* Justgiving
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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* Fundraising concert report
A great event last Friday in Werrrington, Cornwall, in aid of OYT South, as local musicians and a packed village church enjoyed an exceptional musical evening. It featured Darren and Shelley Jeffery, both opera singers with international reputations; Sarah Deere-Jones, a renowned celtic harpist, accompanied by her husband Phil Williams on guitar; organist William Uglow; traditional Cornish songs by guitarist Andrew Dinner; and keyboard playing by Steve Cameron, who used to tour with Jerry Lee Lewis and Hot Chocolate. It was a great night out which raised several hundred pounds for the charity - many thanks to Hans White for organising it.

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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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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