March / April sailing


OYT South bulletin 16th April 2010

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Final refit volunteer figures
 We’ve finally had a chance to add up the last set of volunteer figures for the winter refit: we had 88 days of work in March, including 54 from volunteers; and the same number of nights used in the refit house. That makes a grand total from November to March of 439 days worked (279 by volunteers) and 429 nights used in the house (251 by volunteers). Huge thanks to everyone involved!

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* John Laing maintenance day next Monday
Help needed for the next maintenance day on Monday 19th April in Southampton - call James on 07990 518915 to book yourself in. The boat will be leaving later in the afternoon for a delivery down to Cowes - helpers are welcome to go along for the ride!

Other maintenance days for this season are:

Mon 7 June - Southampton
Sat 4 July + Sun 5 July - Ipswich
Tues 10 August - Hartlepool
Mon 27 Sept - Southampton

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* OYC / OYT 50th anniversary - 16th October 2010 - reserve list open
Many thanks to everyone who booked for our 50th anniversary celebration in October - it has been great to see how much enthusiasm exists for recognising our half-century! We have now had more requests for tickets than there are places available; but it is possible that some group bookings won’t need all their spaces, so do email us if you would like to go on the reserve list, stating how many tickets you would like.

Full details of the event are here.

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* Voyage news
Three voyages to report on as I was away doing a course last week and couldn't write a bulletin.

Easter weekend saw the return of the St Gabriel’s school group – always a cheerful and enthusiastic bunch of girls. They had horrible weather on the first day, when they sailed to Poole, but made up for it with a cracking sail back to Cowes the next day. They had an Easter egg hunt all over the boat, complicated by skipper Wolf – the girls were storing their “found” eggs in the saloon while they hunted for more, and Wolf was taking them and hiding them again – after imposing his own personal chocolate tax…

On the last day the girls were put in charge of the boat, with their own skipper, mates and bosun, as they left Cowes and sailed back to Southampton. All those who didn’t already have them earned RYA Start Yachting certificates, and everyone left in high spirits. Thanks to sea staff Wolf, Sparky, Geoff Eddy, Nick Higson, Heloise Finch and Andrew Viney.

Next came an Easter holiday voyage for a mixed group of individuals. They sailed to Cherbourg – our first Channel crossing of the season – but (despite having booked a berth) were shocked on arrival to find the port closed to all vessels. After some hurried radio communication, they were eventually allowed in under full military escort. The reason was never explained but we suspect either the movement of a nuclear vessel in the military port, or else an exercise involving one of the ferries. They had a day of RYA training, rowing and trips ashore, and next day were again escorted as they left – this time by Customs, who chose not to board us!

The return Channel crossing took them to Chichester, where new third mate Nick took charge of pilotage to an anchorage off Itchenor. Anchor watches that night proved surprisingly popular, allegedly because of the comedy of hearing others snoring and sleep-talking!

Next day they had a good spinnaker sail to Cowes, followed by a roast dinner and a night sail back up to Southampton. All the crew earned RYA Competent Crew certificates except the two who had them already. Many thanks to sea staff James, Sparky, Clareski, Rob Butler, Nick Higson and Viki Lough.

This week’s voyage has been organized jointly by Gosport Police and Motiv8, as part of a project designed to divert young people away from anti-social behaviour and crime. All through the project, points could be earned for regular attendance and good behaviour, and those with most points earned a place on the voyage. They sailed to Brixham (where we met up with friends from Pegasus and Trinity Sailing). Yesterday they came back as far as Weymouth and are having trips ashore today before aiming for Poole tonight. More on this next week when the voyage is over, but in the meantime thanks to sea staff James, Graeme Cole, Sparky, Andy Shuttleworth, Emma Burrows and Kirsten.

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* Sea staff bookings 2010 - full availability
Voyages left still looking for sea staff are as follows (all Southampton to Southampton unless otherwise stated):

9-14 May, Gosport-Gosport: bosun
17-22 May, Gosport-Southampton - possibly space for one more mate
8-12 June: 2M
13 June day sail: 3M
20-25 June: 1M and 3M / trainee mate
17-24 Aug, Ipswich-Southampton: 2M and 3M / trainee mate
1-5 Sept, Poole-Poole: 3M / trainee mate
6-10 Sept, Poole-Southampton: 3M
13-17 Sept: 1M, 3M and bosun (one must be female)
18-19 Sept, marketing day sails: experienced 2M, 3M and bosun
20-24 Sept: 2M
24-26 Sept: 1M, 3M and bosun
28 Sept - 3 Oct: experienced 2M and 3M for Small Ships race
4-8 Oct: 2M, 3M, trainee mate and bosun
8-10 Oct: 1M, trainee mate and bosun
11-16 Oct, Southampton-Portsmouth: 2M, 3M and bosun
22-24 Oct: 3M
25-31 Oct: 3M and bosun

Email me if you are interested.

For those of you who are new to OYT South and not yet qualified mates with us, please apply for anything listed as suitable for a trainee mate; but we won't confirm a booking until after your mates' training or familiarisation voyage, when we'll know whether you are keen to continue and are ready for an assessment.

I won't fill all 3M / trainee mate berths at this stage as I want to leave a few options for new people during the season!

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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* Sea survival course
KYT Yachts has very generously donated two free places on a Sea Survival course 15-16 May, for us to use for people who have given time and energy to OYT South and who would be even more use to us if they had this qualification. Email me to apply.

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New radar / chart plotter - manuals for sea staff
There is a manual and quick reference guide for the new radar / chart plotter on the members’ only section of our website, so that sea staff can have a look before you sail if you want to get up to speed! Email me if you don’t have a password.

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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 (10 places left). Email me to book.

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

27 April - 3 May, Southampton-Southampton, 6 nights, £360pp - up to 2 places available
4-8 May, Southampton-Gosport, 4 nights, £290pp - up to 5 places left
28 May to 1 June, Southampton-Southampton, 4 nights, £290pp - up to 2 places available
8-12 June, Southampton-Southampton, 4 nights, £290pp - 4 places left
26 June- 3 July, Southampton-Ipswich, 7 nights, £395pp - 6 places left
1-5 Sept, Poole-Poole, 4 nights, £290pp - 1 place left
13-17 Sept, Southampton-Southampton, 4 nights, £290pp - 3 places left
18-22 Oct, Southampton-Southampton, 4 nights, £290pp - 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.

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Marketing day sails
We have two day sails set aside this year for current or potential supporters, sponsors and donors to come along and see what we do: Sunday 23rd May and Sunday 19th September. There are only 24 places available in total, and at least a dozen have already been taken. Please let me know if you would like to be considered for one of the remaining places, or if you would like to nominate someone else for an invitation.

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* Financial appeal
Many thanks to the Whirlwind Trust for another generous donation which arrived last week. Thanks also to Rob Harwood for arranging the donation of a secondhand laptop from his company, which we can use at events and exhibitions.

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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* Support Jez's half-ironman - and Kirsty’s!
Two of our watch leaders, Jez Snead and Kirsty Keith, are taking part in half-ironman events to raise funds for OYT South.

As if that were not enough, on top of her 70.3 mile swim-bike-run in July, Kirsty is also running the Brighton marathon in April. She's almost two thirds of the way towards her target of £1,000 - please go to Kirsty's web page and support her.

Jez, meanwhile, is doing a 1.2 mile (1.9 km) swim, a 56 mile (90km) bike ride and a 13.1 mile (21.1km) run, all in memory of his mum. Jez is over half-way towards a target of £3,000 for OYT South. His website is here.

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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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