Contrasting weather!


OYT South bulletin 3rd September 2010

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Volunteer training weekend, 10-12 September - 2 places available
Owing in one case to an injury and in another case to a new job, we unexpectedly have two spare places on the volunteers’ training weekend coming up very shortly: it starts at 8pm on Friday 10th September and finishes at 5pm on Sunday 12th, in Ocean Village, Southampton, £160. It is 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. Even if you don’t necessarily want to volunteer, it is still good to have a full crew of people - if only to give the new volunteers a team to practise leading! We’ll just be spending a couple of days sailing in the local area. Email me if you might be interested.

If you are interested but not available next weekend, the 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.

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* Adult day sails, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th September
We still have a few places - two on Saturday and one on Sunday - available for these adult day sails, open to anyone interested in our work or just keen to try sailing a big boat. £85 per head for a sail in the Solent and lunch on board. Email me if you might be interested.

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* Voyage news
We left the tale a fortnight ago with John Laing heading into Dover, part-way through an epic voyage which had to cover twice the planned distance after the previous crew had been stuck in Hartlepool with bad weather. We were really on a mission to get back on track in order not to disrupt any more crew changes. Skipper James says that with many crews it would have been really impossible to cover so much ground in the time available, but this particular crew was thoroughly up for it and did a tremendous job to keep going. After Dover they sailed to Eastbourne and stopped for a few hours’ sleep; then on to Brighton and some proper time ashore to visit the funfair and pier - a much-deserved break. Next stop Gosport, in some miserable rainy weather, where the Mary Mouse lightship bar kindly let us all sit in the warm and dry while our crew ate them out of crisps despite having just had a roast dinner on board. Next day they called in at Cowes, watched the start of the Round Britain Race, stood by in support of a dismasted vessel, and finally got back to our home port, Ocean Village in Southampton, having done something like 450 miles in a week. It was good to be home after 58 days away!

Six of the crew earned RYA Competent Crew certificates and two got Start Yachting - the others already had certificates from previous voyages.

Many thanks to all the crew and to the sea staff: James, Vikki, Brigid, Dave, Kirsten and special congratulations to Sam Bates for passing his third mate’s assessment.

This was followed by our annual voyage arranged with our sponsors, Marina Developments Limited, who select six exceptionally deserving young people to sail with us. They were joined by six other individual bookings and quickly bonded into a cheerful and enthusiastic crew. They joined the boat in yet more miserable weather and went across to Cowes in rain so heavy that you could scarcely see your nose in front of your face. Next day the forecast was just as bad so they did local sail training in the Solent before diving back into the shelter of Cowes. But then everything improved, with good winds and weather, and they had a 3am start to take advantage of the tide to head west. They had a good sail to Torquay and enjoyed a Red Arrows display overhead. Next day they managed to get a berth in Dartmouth despite it being the last day of the regatta, and were able to enjoy a Tornado display and fireworks.Then it was back to Weymouth, followed by a stop in Lulworth on one of the busiest days of the year there, with time for people to go ashore, before the voyage finally ended in Poole - a fantastic week after an unpromising start in the rain! Nine of the crew earned RYA Competent Crew certificates and two got Start Yachting - one already had a certificate from a voyage last year. Many thanks to sea staff James, Kirsten, Graeme, Colin, Audrey and Jez.

This week’s group includes six from Devon & Cornwall Foyer, which provides accommodation and training for homeless 16-25 year olds, plus some individual bookings. They all wanted to go abroad, so they crossed the Channel on the first night and had all day yesterday in Cherbourg. They should be on their way back across today. Thanks to sea staff James, Sparky, Kirsten, Colin, Gerry and Rooby.

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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, 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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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
Only two staff berths still to fill this season - please help!

28 Sept - 3 Oct: second mate
18-22 Oct: qualified female watchleader for OYT South voyage using Thermopylae Clipper

Email me if you are interested.

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.

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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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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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* Thanks to Little Ship Club
Many thanks to the Little Ship Club for a donation of books from their library, to keep John Laing’s crews entertained and informed!

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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.

AGM paperwork will go out to all members later this month, and will also be posted on our website.

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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