Wolf demonstrates his new "go-slower" prop accessory; and the anchorage in Sark


OYT South bulletin 30th April 2010

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Voyage news
The last bulletin finished as we were part-way through a week organized jointly by Gosport Police and Motiv8, as part of a project designed to divert young people away from anti-social behaviour and crime. They were just heading to Poole, from where they had an early start the next day, sailing to Yarmouth, where they had a BBQ and played games during the afternoon before an evening sail back up to Ocean Village. All eleven crew and group leaders earned their RYA Start Yachting certificates.

The next day was a maintenance day - many thanks to James, Sparky, Mattie, Emma and Angus for lots of hard work.

That evening, James went on leave and Wolf, with Mattie, Sparky, Emma and Angus, took John Laing down to Cowes for the Isle of Wight event, bringing her back the following evening.

After that came the training week for new prospective volunteers - a mixed group with several who had sailed with us before, or been to refit, the shorebased training weekend and/or the RYA instructors’ day sails at the end of last season, plus a few who were new to us.

We set off across the Channel on the first night, made good time and were all set for an early arrival, when we were put on alert by an unexpected change in the propeller noise. Sure enough, when we lowered sails in the outer harbour and tried to motor, we could get barely any speed up. We crept across the huge harbour at a snail’s pace and executed an extremely careful park, before tracking down a diver who went to have a look, and came up with a huge tangled mass of fishing net - as you can see from the picture above if you are reading this on the web rather than email.

We had a productive day in Cherbourg with shore leave, detailed tours of the boat so new volunteers could see where everything was and how it all worked, and an entertaining exercise of turning the boat round on the berth using the warps.

Next morning required an early start to catch the tide, and we headed down to Sark, doing sail handling and reefing drills (and avoiding fishing nets) all the way. A quiet anchorage at Sark and time for shore leave on this beautiful island was followed by a late afternoon passage to St Peter Port in Guernsey and an evening ashore.

Next morning we completed an exercise which had been in preparation for a couple of days: people were divided into teams and asked to teach a specific section of the RYA Competent Crew course, pretending they had a teenage audience and trying to make it as interesting and engaging as possible - useful preparation for those who come back as watch leaders!

The long passage home started after lunch, repeating the pattern of the first crossing when Sparky’s and Emma’s watches had to motor a bit in light winds, while Caz and Chris’s watch enjoyed good sailing every time they came on deck.

By 4am next day we were safely anchored off Sandown, Isle of Wight, on a very calm and peaceful night. After a few hours’ sleep, we sailed the boat off the anchor and did some tacking and gybing practice, man overboard recovery exercises and a fire drill before enjoying a great sail back towards Southampton with a roast dinner underway.

The two crew members who didn’t already have it earned RYA Competent Crew certificates; and we gained a good selection of new volunteers at varying levels of skill and experience, many of whom are already booked to sail again this season. Many thanks to the sea staff: Wolf, Caz, Chris the engineer, Sparky, Emma and Angus.

This week’s voyage was filled by young people with bursary funding from various sources, mainly from Hampshire or Kent. They sailed from Southampton to Cowes to Brixham, where they were delighted to find good showers! They spent yesterday afternoon doing RYA training, playing games and (successfully) crab-fishing. This morning they are heading for Weymouth in a good breeze. Many thanks to sea staff James, Mattie, Andrew, Emma, Angus and Elaine from Hampshire County Council who came along to help out.

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* Isle of Wight OYC / OYT 50th anniversary event
The Isle of Wight Support Group gave us a very successful start to a year of 50th anniversary celebration events with an Open Day and lunch in Cowes on Tuesday 20th April - huge thanks to them for organising it. Marion Heming sent the following report:

“9.30am Tuesday 20th April 2010 proved to be everything the Support Group wished for: a beautiful sunny morning; John Laing dressed overall and alongside the Royal London Yacht Club’s pontoon, looking magnificent; the RLYC showing off its newly painted doors and, upstairs in the Club, a happy buzz of activity making sure that everything for the expected 73 guests was in order.

At 11.30 guests started to arrive on the pontoon to visit John Laing. Mark Todd and his sea staff had a busy time!  At 12.15 precisely The Lord Lieutenant, Martin White together with his wife, Mrs White, were greeted by Brian Mead, Chairman of the Island Support Group and shown around John Laing.  A few minutes later, the High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight, Mr. Peter Kingston, together with Mrs Kingston, joined in the tour of the boat.

Guests then enjoyed drinks before going into the dining room for the celebratory luncheon.

After the Loyal Toast, Brian Mead made an excellent speech in which he welcomed Mrs Gill Ellis and her daughter, Emma Laird, saying how pleased Chris Ellis would have been to see his great aim in life, youngsters from all walks of life, on the water, sometimes in challenging conditions, achieving more than they thought they could.

Mark Todd then gave everyone a most entertaining and most descriptive account of what sailing with the OYT really entailed. Quite unexpectedly, Mark then presented Brian Mead, Peter Coke, (Treasurer) and Marion Heming with wine and flowers for their contribution to the OYT.

The High Sheriff had a hard act to follow but of course, did so with the greatest of ease and was extremely generous in his praise of the OYT’s work and involvement with the young.

Brian Mead made his final thanks to the RLYC and the luncheon ended at 1500.”

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* Kirsty and Jez - sponsorship and event updates!
Our two watch leaders, Kirsty Keith and Jez Snead, who are raising money for OYT South through half-ironman and marathon events are both doing really well. Kirsty emailed her latest news: “I completed Brighton marathon in 4hrs 56 last Sunday. It was a fantastic day, with beautiful blue skies and some unexpected warm temperatures, made all the more special by the amazing crowds that turned out to support. It was a long run but the thought of that sponsorship money really drove me to keep going even when I didn’t want to! It was made all the more special by passing by what used to be Taikoo (an ex-Ocean Youth Club boat) at the 22 mile mark. It brought back lots of memories - I first sailed in Taikoo in 1990 on a school trip - my first ever sail in a big boat and this was what started off the whole OYC experience and culminated in doing the marathon and raising funds for OYT South - so very fitting indeed. The last 6 miles are a total blur - agony at the time but now my recollection is a fantastic experience running back along Brighton sea front through the amazing cheering and shouting provided by the crowds and happily crossing the finish line - the crazy thing is now 4 days later, and I can walk again, I'm already desperate to do it again to see if I can get a better time......Mad, I hear you ask? Certifiable I think!” Kirsty has already raised £875 for us; and her next challenge is a 70.3 mile swim-bike-run in July - please go to her 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 has already raised 60% of 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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* One or two days’ volunteer work needed in Gosport office
Would anyone be interested in doing a day or two in the Gosport office, sorting out a huge pile of used charts and making a list so we know which ones to keep, send back or throw away? Call Mark on 07771 771864 if you can help, or email MarkTodd@oytsouth.org.

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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):

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 and bosun
8-10 Oct: Bosun
11-16 Oct, Southampton-Portsmouth: 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 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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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:

4-8 May, Southampton-Gosport, 4 nights, £290pp - 2 places left
28 May to 1 June, Southampton-Southampton, 4 nights, £290pp - possibly 1 place available
8-12 June, Southampton-Southampton, 4 nights, £290pp - 4 places left
NEW: 20-25 June, Southampton-Southampton, 5 nights, £365pp - a booking fell through leaving the whole voyage available, though we have since had a few provisional enquiries for places.
26 June- 3 July, Southampton-Ipswich, 7 nights, £395pp - 6 places left
13-17 Sept, Southampton-Southampton, 4 nights, £290pp - 3 places left
18-22 Oct, Southampton-Southampton, 4 nights, £290pp - 1 place 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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* John Laing
maintenance days
Help needed for any of the following maintenance days - call James on 07990 518915 to book yourself in.

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

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* OYT South AGM date 2010
The 2010 OYT South AGM will be held on Saturday 16th October at 2pm 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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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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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