John Laing team in the Antwerp crew parade


OYT South bulletin 20th July 2010

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Tall Ships racing
If you want to track the Tall Ships events as John Laing takes part this summer, see here for all the news from the event organisers. And here for race positions, updated twice daily.  

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* Voyage news
The last bulletin saw John Laing just making her way into Antwerp for the first of the Tall Ships festivals, where the crew had several days to explore. It was scorchingly hot but they managed to play football and hire bicycles - 17 people on a tour of the town! They also enjoyed the crew parade, and those that didn’t already have them did training for their RYA certificates. Altogether it was a great experience. Many thanks to sea staff James, Sparky, Tee Hee, Andy, Nick - and special congratulations to Kirsten who passed her third mate’s assessment!

The race crew joined in Antwerp on 12th July - several young people who had sailed with us before, and others new to John Laing, including two on an exchange from Canada. They sailed down river to Flushing where they spent the night, coming out next morning for the race start which was postponed for two hours due to lack of wind. However, things soon changed…A line of black cloud appeared on the horizon, studded with lightning and looking very impressive. Pretty soon one of the vessels which was a little ahead came on the radio to tell everyone the strength of the wind under the clouds: skipper James says he has never seen so many boats get so many sails down so quickly. After that it just got windier and windier - gales and severe gales. Luckily it was from the right direction - behind the vessel - so although the sea built up into a big swell, it was really not too bad, though going in any other direction would have been no fun at all. John Laing was going well in the race as long as the big winds were sustained; but everything died away for the last day and a lot of the lighter boats caught up, giving us a final result of 11th in class and 56th overall.

After crossing the finish line there was time to spare before they needed to be in Aalborg, so they went for a day in Skagen - rest, shore leave, showers and beach football. Yesterday they had a good day of tacking in quite reasonable winds, and this morning they were making their way up towards the festival in Aalborg under cruising chute, all ready to enjoy all the events which have been planned there! Many thanks to sea staff James, Sparky, Lesley, Emma, Kirsten and Nick.

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* Kirsty Keith, half-ironman star - so close to sponsorship target - please help!
Kirsty finished her half ironman (in which she had to swim 1.2 miles, cycle 58 miles and run 13.1 miles) in an amazing time of 6hrs 57minutes, all to raise money for OYT South. She is currently just £15 short of her £1,000 target and her fundraising page is open for a few more days - it would be fantastic if someone could go to the page now and help her to hit her target!

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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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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* Adult day sail, Saturday 18th September
Owing to a change of plan, we are now able to offer an adult (16+) day sail on Saturday 18th September, starting and finishing in Southampton, £85 per head including lunch on board, 12 places available. The day will only run if we get enough interest - we still need just a few more!. Email me for more details.

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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:

13-17 Sept: bosun
18-19 Sept, marketing day sails: 3M or bosun
24-26 Sept: bosun
28 Sept - 3 Oct: experienced 2M for Small Ships race
4-8 Oct:: 3M or trainee mate
11-16 October: one more mate
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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41 Club fundraising efforts
You might know that the Ocean Youth Trust (including ourselves plus the other OYT charities) is the 41 Club National President's Charity this year. Malcolm Lockey, the President, has completed a tremendous fundraising walk for us - which he has described as not unlike the longest pub crawl in the world. Many thanks to Malcolm – you can read his blog here.

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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 days
John Laing maintenance days this year:

Tues 10 August - Hartlepool
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 this week to the Sydney Black Trust for a generous contribution towards bursaries.

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 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