Sail if you can - and if you can't, paddle!


OYT South bulletin 20th August 2010

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Voyage news
Last Friday’s bulletin was written with John Laing stuck in Hartlepool due to bad weather - they had been out on the Thursday but turned back as conditions were so challenging and forecast to get worse. On Friday they did RYA training and went to the local swimming pool, which kindly let them in for free. On Saturday the weather was still wrong to sail south, but a local outdoor activity provider, the West View Project, very kindly came in specially on what should have been a day off and organised canoeing and kayaking for our crew in the marina - again, at no charge. We really are grateful to everyone in Hartlepool who helped us through what would otherwise have been a difficult couple of days.

By Saturday evening the wind had eased but there wasn’t time to make the nearest available ports to the south, so, in order that the crew should get at least some sailing, they left on the evening tide and did a night sail up to North Shields, which most people enjoyed hugely, and returned to Hartlepool on Sunday. This gave them enough sea time - on top of the RYA training they had done in harbour – for all those who didn’t already have it to earn an RYA Start Yachting certificate. Many thanks to Wolf, Liz, Andy, Brigid, Di and David - it is often harder work keeping things going in harbour than it is when the boat is sailing.

The next crew were very understanding about having to start their voyage in Hartlepool rather than Ipswich as expected. Ten of them travelled up together by train from London, which meant at least they had a chance to get to know one another before setting off – which happened almost as soon as the safety briefings were completed. Their voyage is scheduled to end next week in Southampton and they are all keen to get there, even though they have twice as far to sail! They did 48 hours non-stop at sea, zooming down the east coast at great speed to end up in Dover last night. This morning they set off again and are now on their way to Eastbourne, tired but in high spirits. Many thanks to sea staff James, Vikki, Brigid, Dave, Kirsten and Sam.

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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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Lifejacket packing course - Monday 27th September, Southampton
It is now compulsory to have trained people to repack our lifejackets after their regular inflation tests or if a lifejacket goes off by mistake. It is therefore absolutely essential for safety reasons that we get a good number of sea staff through this course. The next one will be held during our maintenance day on Monday 27th September in Southampton. It only takes a couple of hours. Price £25. Email me to book.

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OYT/OYC 50th anniversary celebrations
Although we are still over-subscribed for our celebration event on 16th October , we have had some tickets back and have been allocating them to people on the waiting list. If you still want to come and don’t have a ticket, do please email me as the waiting list is now short enough that it could be worth adding more names - you just might get a ticket.

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

24-26 Sept: bosun
28 Sept - 3 Oct: experienced 2M for Small Ships race
18-22 Oct: qualified female watchleader for OYT South voyage using Thermopylae Clipper

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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Free next 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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* John Laing maintenance day
Only one more John Laing maintenance day left this year:

Mon 27 Sept - Southampton

Call the boat on 07990 518915 if you can help.

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Mates' training voyages
New potential volunteers, or existing mates who want more practice: apply now for the September training weekend 10-12 Sept, £160 - we have had a lot of enquiries but not all have confirmed so there may be one or two places left. If that doesn’t work out, volunteer training voyages for next year are:

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

Email me to book.

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* Financial appeal
Many thanks to Mr and Mrs Trembath for a generous contribution towards bursaries; and to Hampshire County Council for the latest instalment of their bursaries grant.

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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OYT South AGM date 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.

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* Keep in touch with other John Laing people
We have just reached a milestone - 1,000 Facebook friends! The great majority are people who have sailed with us or have a genuine involvement with John Laing - we haven’t been simply collecting “friends” for the sake of it. People use the page to keep in touch with the boat and each other, to share their photos and to see what we are up to.

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