Two half-term voyages


OYT South bulletin 11th June 2010

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Extra maintenance day this Sunday 13th June - help needed
As reported in the last bulletin, the client had to pull out of the day sail booked for this Sunday, and though we tried alternative ways of filling the boat, we were sadly unable to get enough people at such short notice, so we have scheduled an extra maintenance day in Ocean Village instead. James really needs lots of people as we hope to do some sorting in the store and go through our spare sails. Call him on 07990 518915 if you could give him a hand on Sunday.

Other maintenance days this year:

Sat 4 July + Sun 5 July - Ipswich
Tues 10 August - Hartlepool
Mon 27 Sept - Southampton

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* Tall Ships - one last crew vacancy
We still have just one crew berth available on Tall Ships Race 1, Antwerp to Aalborg, 12-23 July, £780 plus travel. The crew member who has had to drop out had been given some bursary funding so if you would like to come but genuinely cannot afford it and can make a good case for a partial bursary, do please ask. Minimum age 15. A voyage like this can be the experience of a lifetime - racing against other vessels crewed by young people, and amazing festivals in the start and finish ports.

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* Sea staff bookings 2010 - full availability
The full list of voyage vacancies is as follows:

14-19 June: 3M or trainee mate
17-24 Aug, Ipswich-Southampton: 2M possibly needed
25-31 Aug, Southampton to Poole: 3M or trainee mate
1-5 Sept, Poole-Poole: 1M and 3M / trainee mate
6-10 Sept, Poole-Southampton: 3M / trainee mate
13-17 Sept: 1M, trainee mate and bosun - one must be female
18-19 Sept, marketing day sails: 3M or bosun
24-26 Sept: 3M and bosun
28 Sept - 3 Oct: experienced 2M for Small Ships race
4-8 Oct: 1M and 3M or trainee mate
22-24 Oct: 3M or trainee mate
25-31 Oct: Female 3M or bosun

In addition, as we have done before, we will be using Thermopylae Clipper to provide a voyage for an extra client in the autumn, 18-22 Oct, and we need to provide two qualified watch leaders for that.

Email me if you are interested.

For those of you who are new to OYT South and not yet qualified mates with us, please feel free to apply for anything listed as suitable for a trainee mate.

Please note that you cannot sail until you have completed a mates' application and done a CRB check (see here for details) - and EITHER paid for a mates' training / familiarisation voyage, OR paid your annual membership and sailing donation.

NB mates are allowed to apply for bosun berths - it's good for all mates to have a grasp of some of the technical and maintenance stuff!

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* Voyage news
The last of our May voyages involved eight young carers from Hertfordshire, plus four individual bookings. They sailed to Cowes on the first night, but during the passage they found themselves close to a yacht which had lost steering in the busy shipping channel and issued a mayday, so John Laing stood by, relaying information and assisting the yacht until the Hamble lifeboat could get there – for which our team got some nice thanks from Solent Coastguard.

In Cowes, the team played some games, and next morning sailed to Brighton. There they went on the electric train to the pier, played crazy golf and visited the arcades. They had a lovely sail back to the Solent, with loads of fun and laughter – including the skipper and first mate doing a dance routine to Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping (“I get knocked down but I get up again”) by popping in and out of the coachroof hatches. They also did extreme washing up during which Sparky got exceptionally wet. Altogether it was a really fun and lively crew and everyone got on and worked well together. All of them earned RYA Start Yachting certificates. Many thanks to skipper Andy plus Sparky, Heloise, Annie, Kirsten and special congratulations to Audrey Knight for passing her third mate’s assessment.

This was followed by the return of TS Swiftsure, one of our most regular clients – some of the 16- and 17-year olds were on their ninth voyage in John Laing; but as usual the group also included some new 12-year olds. We desperately hoped to get them to France this time, but the weather was against us, with extensive fog patches in the Channel: you don’t head into busy shipping lanes when you can’t see the container ships coming at you. We went to Cowes on the first night, though it took us two attempts to get away from Ocean Village as the first time we set off we had to rescue a jetski towing an inflatable sofa after they got a rope round their propeller and we found them drifting.

Next day we went down to Portland, with lots of activities on deck. Terry’s watch in particular made a valiant attempt at hoisting every sail on the boat but sadly fell just short, missing out on things like the storm sails but still succeeding in getting the spinnaker up. We got into Portland late and parked in the dark, waking next morning to enjoy the amazingly spangly new shower block and a wander over to the spectacular Chesil Beach. This was followed by RYA training, with the younger ones working towards Start Yachting and Competent Crew, and the more experienced ones starting to look at some watch leading skills - we had teams of people learning to do engine and safety checks with Kirsten, and others getting involved with all the passage planning and pilotage. We sailed to Poole that afternoon, a peaceful passage in glorious sunshine, and made another late arrival, with two of the crew, Foxy and David, doing the pilotage up the harbour in the dark.

Shore leave next morning, and then we handed the whole boat over to the crew and put them in charge of getting us back to Ocean Village. Foxy became skipper, David first mate, Zoe and Sam watch leaders, Morgan bosun and Jacob and Andy the navigators, and between them they ran the whole thing - getting off the berth, hoisting sails, organising the entire passage. In the middle of all this we had a fire drill, with group leader Adele playing the part of an unconscious casualty – putting Terry under some pressure as he had to “resuscitate” her under the watchful eye of the other group leader, Sam, a professional paramedic!

The two 14-year old navigators had a very challenging task as the Solent was as busy as we have ever seen it; but the whole team kept it up all the way to Ocean Village, and by the end we were seeing quite a few activities carried out to a standard which might lead to people becoming qualified watch leaders when they are old enough. They also gained a much greater insight into what our staff have to do, and quite how much there is to think about! They had a relaxing last evening in Ocean Village (including the maltesers and flour game) and left next day in great high spirits with four new Competent Crew certificates, one Start Yachting and the rest of them with a few sections signed off on the watchleader syllabus. As ever, a huge pleasure to sail with this group. Many thanks to the official (and usurped) sea staff: Wolf, Caz, Kirsten, Heloise (who was having a practice as first mate for the week), Terry (big congratulations for completing his second mate assessment) and Alistair (who made great progress with his 3M assessment).

That voyage was followed by a busy maintenance day on Monday - many thanks to James, Kirsten, Sparky, Rooby Woods and Dave Price, plus moral support from Wolf and Caz who were there for meetings, and a flying visit from Jon Seddon.

This week’s voyage has been a mixed group of individuals struggling with some unhelpful weather which seems to be thwarting every plan they make! They went to Cowes on the first night, and hoped for Brighton the next day, got as far as the forts and hove-to for lunch before changing their minds and sailing back to Yarmouth instead, with lots of tacking practice. They had a BBQ in Yarmouth, and hoped for Poole the next day, but the wind changed again, so they thought of Chichester and set off, only to find that four hours of driving rain had sapped morale so that the sensible plan was to stop in Gosport instead - which is where they were this morning, doing RYA training. Many thanks to sea staff James, Sparky, Joe, Kirsten, and to Dave and Rooby who are both working hard on their mate’s assessments.

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* 2010 voyages for young people
Most of the 2010 season are already fully-booked, but we are still looking for crew members for the following voyages:

20-25 June, Southampton-Southampton, 5 nights, £365pp - 2 places left
26 June- 3 July, Southampton-Ipswich, 7 nights, £395pp - 1 or 2 places left
12-23 July, Antwerp to Aalborg, Tall Ships race 1, £780 plus travel - 1 place, minimum age 15.
13-17 Sept, Southampton-Southampton, 4 nights, £290pp - 1 or 2 places left

If you want to sail this year, do look at the programme as soon as possible, and hurry up and reserve your berth.

The 2011 programme should be published within the next few weeks, so there will be more voyages to look forward to despite us being so full this year!

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Mates' training voyage
New potential volunteers, or existing mates who want more practice: book now for the September training weekend 10-12 Sept, £160 (5 places left). Email me to book.

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* Financial appeal
Huge thanks this week to the Man Group plc Charitable Trust who have been in touch to say how pleased they were with our report on how last year’s bursary funding was spent, and confirming that they will provide the same funding for the coming year.

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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* Kirsty and Jez - sponsorship and event updates!
Huge congratulations to Jez Snead who completed his Ironman 70.3 last Sunday (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run) in 7 hours 14 minutes which he says “fell a little short of qualification for the world Ironman championships in Hawaii but is a personal best for this distance.” All the more impressive for being achieved In temperatures of 28 degrees centigrade-plus (Jez says “sadly much lower in the water”). He also says his time was affected by “some hills that took me by surprise (who would have thought it in Switzerland?!)” Jez was doing all this in memory of his mum, but had also set a target of raising £3,000 for OYT South. Amazingly, just this morning he has exceeded his target - his total currently stands at £3,008.50 - see his website here. Huge thanks for an amazing effort.

Kirsty’s half-ironman will be taking place in July but she has already run a marathon and raised 93% of her target of £1,000 for OYT South - please go to her web page and support her:

You too can use Justgiving to raise money for a sponsored activity or an event; to make regular donations, or set up a page in memory of someone and invite donations to the charity. Have a look here.

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OYT South AGM date 2010
The 2010 OYT South AGM will be held on Saturday 16th October at 1.30 or 2pm (tbc) 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.

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Annual report
The OYT South annual report for the year ending October 2009 has now been published and is available here. Hard copes are also available - email the office if you would like one.

The second half of the annual report contains our financial statements and accounts; but the first half includes an account of the year, with lots of useful information as well as comments from our clients - do have a look! If you are ever trying to enthuse anyone about us - a potential crew member, parent or group leader, or a sponsor, or a new volunteer - the annual report is an excellent place to find all the background information you might need.

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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