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OYT South bulletin 1st October 2010

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Enjoyed a voyage this year? Want ££s off the cost of sailing again?
If you have enjoyed a voyage this year, are aged under 25 and would like to sail again in 2011, 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".

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* Shorebased training February 2011
We are planning to run our usual shorebased training weekend on February 5th and 6th 2011, in Gosport. If you would like to do any of the following courses, please let me know soon, as we will book instructors as soon as it looks as though there will be sufficient interest:

First Aid (NB these certificates need renewing every 3 years – check when yours expires)
GMDSS radio
Food Hygiene
Diesel Engines
Lifejacket packing
Youth work

You will only be able to do two courses over the weekend, and unless we get a lot of interest, many of the courses will only run once, so it is possible that some people will want courses that end up being scheduled at the same time. We’ll try to minimise this but the sooner you let us know what you want, the better the chance that we will be able to organise things to suit you!

We may also run other courses – more details to follow.

Email me to let me know what you want.

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* Voyage news
A short voyage last weekend for Hamish Lochhead’s Parkside School group - all boys at the lower end of John Laing’s age range. They stayed in Southampton on Friday night and then had a good day of sail training with tacking and gybing practice, ending up in Yarmouth where they had what will probably be the last BBQ of the season. They played lots of games in the hope that some of their excess energy could be burned off! Next day they stopped in Cowes for an hour before returning to Southampton. Sadly the voyage was just not long enough for RYA qualifications, but they still had a great time. Hamish wrote afterwards: “Another great trip with a huge thanks to [sea staff] James, Vikki, Clare and Terry. The boys had such a positive experience that I fully expect to fill next year’s trip with no problem.” Thanks also to Hamish who is a third mate as well as a teacher!

On Monday John Laing had a maintenance day and we also arranged a lifejacket packing course which got five more people qualified. Meanwhile on the boat there was lots of routine maintenance, cleaning and catching up with odd jobs - including packing all the lifejackets, which had been inflation-tested. Many thanks to everyone involved: James, Kirsten, Chris, Jon Seddon, Ben Whinnett, Fiona Keen, Elizabeth Brown, Joe Parker, Garreth Bridgman, Kat McInally, Clare Thorpe, Angus Knox and Audrey Knight.

This week has been sailing and race training with a crew of siblings from Naomi House Children’s Hospice, who will be taking part in the ASTO Small Ships Race tomorrow. James says they are a really lovely crew and everyone is enjoying sailing with them. They sailed to Cowes on the first night and then had a good day of race training before getting to Yarmouth in the belting rain. Yesterday it all turned into beautiful sunshine and they went into Cowes to pick up a mainsail which had been mended and then made their way up the Beaulieu River to spend last night at Bucklers Hard. They played lots of games and got on with their RYA training – James expects to be able to award lots of certificates when they finish on Sunday. We wish them all the best for tomorrow’s race. Many thanks to sea staff James, John, Jon, Rachel and Kirsten.

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OYT South AGM 2010
The 2010 OYT South AGM will be held on Saturday 16th October at 1.30pm in Portsmouth. It is open to all members and shouldn't take very long, so people can attend before joining in our 50th anniversary celebrations that afternoon and evening. AGM paperwork has gone out to members and recently lapsed members (who should renew a.s.a.p.) and is also available here. If you want to be a member and vote at our AGM, see here for membership information.

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Fundraising gig for OYT South
Anyone able to get to the Oxford area might like to know about a fundraising event for OYT South taking place on Sunday 3rd October: our friends the Oysterband are playing a gig in Oxford’s Holywell Rooms and the promoter’s profits are all being donated to us. See here for information and tickets.

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* Volunteer refit weekends
We will be needing volunteers at the refit from November to March - help always needed on weekdays, but also on specific volunteer weekends. Proposed dates are:

6/7th November
4/5th December
15/16th January
5/6th March

Email to book yourself in for a refit weekend or to discuss weekday volunteering.

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50th anniversary raffle prizes
We are looking for donations of raffle prizes for our 50th anniversary celebration party in October. If you have anything you might like to donate, or you work for a compnay which might donate something, please contact

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Voyages for young people
We are provisionally fully-booked for the rest of the 2010 season!

However, from experience we know that people do drop out from time to time, so we are putting together a reserve list in case any spaces crop up. Just send me an email if you would like to be alerted to any short-notice vacancies or discounted places.

Apart from that, we are now taking bookings for 2011 - do have a look at our plans, dates and details - including Tall Ships 2011 (Waterford - Greenock - Lerwick - Stavanger - Halmstad). Lots of great voyages available but parts of the programme are already selling fast. Contact the office to discuss sailing next year.

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Office volunteer needed
We are looking for a volunteer to join our office team in Gosport to assist with computer based tasks and routine admin during our busy sailing season. Ideal for someone between jobs or looking for experience to add to a CV.

Duties to include:-
Data entry
Answering telephone calls
General office duties

Skills / experience required:-
Knowledge of MS Word/Excel
Good telephone manner
The ability to work alone with little supervision
Friendly, with a sense of humour
Capable of accurate data entry

Contact the office if you are interested.

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Sea survival / ISAF course 13-14 November
Places available on a Sea Survival / ISAF course run by KTY Yachts at Universal Marina on the weekend of 13/14 November. You can just do one-day Sea Survival on Saturday for £75, or the more advanced ISAF course (including first aid) by doing the Sunday as well, for another £75. Email for more information or to book - stating that you are from OYT South, as the price is discounted for us.

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Free this winter? Taking a gap year, or not working for other reasons?
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. If you would be interested, please email me.

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Financial appeal
We need a regular flow of funds to cover at least three major areas: bursaries for young people who could not otherwise afford to sail; vessel maintenance and equipment; and staff salaries - please help, or pass on our details to anyone you come across who might make a grant, large or small.

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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Volunteer training 2011
Volunteers' training voyages for 2011 are:

1-3 April 2011, Southampton, £170
26 April - 1 May 2011, Southampton, £380
9-11 September 2011, Southampton £170

Email me to book.

These voyages are suitable for qualified mates who want a bit more practice; for new volunteers who are hoping to join our sea staff; and for any other adults who just want to see how we work and what is involved in sailing with us.

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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