Pumpkin carving on a Hallowe'en voyage - and how many RYA instructors does it take to hoist a sail?


OYT South bulletin 5th November 2010

In this Bulletin

Sections which have changed since last time marked *

* Voyage news
The sailing season is over! We can’t believe how fast it went - it seems only yesterday we were just starting the year!

We ended the 2010 season with four good days of sailing. The first two were a weekend voyage for the Hampshire County Council Post-Adoption team. Only six young people and six staff, as there were quite a lot of special needs in the group. They anchored in Osborne Bay for lunch on Saturday and then spent the evening in Cowes with a great session of pumpkin carving for Hallowe’en. Next morning the watch leader on duty (who shall remain nameless…oh, ok, it was Andy) forgot that the clocks had changed and woke everyone up early - which at least gave them plenty of time for a good sail back to Southampton. Many thanks to see staff Nic, Mattie, John, Andy S, Lucinda and Sparky.

On Monday and Tuesday, as we did at the end of last season, we ran two day sails for the Royal Yachting Association, to give their instructors some experience of a bigger boat - and incidentally to give us a chance to tell them more about sail training and the work of OYT South, and perhaps to recruit a few of them as volunteers and supporters. We had two great days with some lovely people. Monday’s group had almost no wind in the morning, but luckily things picked up after lunch in time to give them some idea of what John Laing can do. Tuesday’s group had better winds all day. We thoroughly enjoyed both days and hope to see lots of those people again. We also included a couple of the core refit team on one or both day sails - a chance to see the boat in action before taking her to bits! Many thanks to sea staff James, Sparky, Caz, Kirsten and Andy V.

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* Refit news
The refit has begun! It’s a really big refit this year, after last season when we did a smaller refit with the boat mainly in the water (which saved enough money to buy new rigging screws). This year it is back to the full-scale mega-refit, with the boat out of the water for most of the winter.

As in previous years, we have recruited a core refit team of full-time volunteers to work with James and Kirsten. The first two have joined us already: a big welcome to Fiona Keen and Elizabeth Brown. There will be one or two more people on the core team but I will introduce them when they join.

However, having a strong core team doesn’t mean that we don’t need other people! We will need all the volunteers we can get, on weekdays generally or on specific volunteer weekends, as follows:

6/7th November
4/5th December
15/16th January
5/6th March

If you are over 18, you are welcome to book yourself in for a weekend, a few days or a week or more. If you are aged 16 or 17, particularly current or prospective relief bosuns, you need to discuss refit bookings with the skipper - we would like to have you along but we need to be able to arrange some supervision while you work. Sadly we cannot have under-16s at refit.

Volunteers all get free food and accommodation. We have a great refit house this year, in Netley Abbey, with plenty of space. It’s two and a half miles by car from the main refit site in Hamble, or a bit less across the common by bike.

So far the refit team has started moving into the house and moving kit off the boat (thanks to James, Kirsten, Sparky, Fiona, Elizabeth and Tristan da Silva). This weekend we have a big team of volunteers booked in (still room for more people, though!) - John Laing is still in Ocean Village and this weekend is the key time for shifting absolutely everything that needs to go into the Ocean Village store, and then doing a thorough clean of the boat.

On Monday we are moving round to Hamble Yacht Services; the mast comes out on Tuesday and John Laing will be lifted out on Wednesday. On Friday we will start having her scaffolded and tented to create safe working platforms and space to work under cover.

Email JamesBoyce@oytsouth.org or call the boat phone on 07990 518915 to book yourself in for a refit weekend or to discuss weekday volunteering. We really hope to see all volunteer sea staff over the winter! Our last major refit saw 55 volunteers give a total of 572 days to the refit - can we beat that this year?

We also need lots of small items for the refit, many costing just a pound or two, such as bin bags! See here for complete list - can you donate something?

See here for more refit details. And see here for a report that was written for one of our key refit donors outlining some of the major work being done, with a provisional budget.

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* Furniture needed - especially a TV!
We have once again rented a refit house for staff and volunteers this winter, but it was unfurnished – thanks to all those who have donated things already, but we would still be interested to hear from anyone who has furniture to offer. The refit team would particularly like to hear from anyone who can lend them a TV till March! If you have anything at all to offer, please call James on 07990 518915 or email JamesBoyce@oytsouth.org.

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* Chris Ellis Award - want ££s off the cost of sailing again?
We haven’t had many entries yet for the Chris Ellis award, so it is very much worth trying as you stand a good chance of winning! Chris Ellis was one of the founders of the OYC in 1960 and he left a fund to be used to encourage crew members to produce a piece of work based on any OYT voyage. This can be a logbook, a diary, a picture, a story, computer art or whatever. OYT South can award up to £200 a year (to one entrant, or split between two or three individuals) in the form of a discount for a future voyage. Entries need to be in by the end of November - either emailed to me, or by post to the office, marked "Chris Ellis award entry".

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Shorebased training February 2011
We are planning to run our usual shorebased training weekend on February 5th and 6th 2011, in Gosport. If you would like to do any of the following courses, please let me know soon, as we will book instructors as soon as it looks as though there will be sufficient interest:

First Aid (NB these certificates need renewing every 3 years – check when yours expires)
GMDSS radio
Food Hygiene
Diesel Engines
Lifejacket packing
Youth work

You will only be able to do two courses over the weekend, and unless we get a lot of interest, many of the courses will only run once, so it is possible that some people will want courses that end up being scheduled at the same time. We’ll try to minimise this but the sooner you let us know what you want, the better the chance that we will be able to organise things to suit you!

We may also run other courses – more details to follow.

Email me to let me know what you want.

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Voyages for young people in 2011
Bookings are coming in fast 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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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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OYC/T 50th anniversary follow-up
A page has been created on our website following our hugely successful 50th anniversary event. See here to download a copy of the event brochure - including a wonderful to history of the Ocean Youth Club and Ocean Youth Trust; or a copy of the leaflet about OYT South’s proposed new sail training vessel, details of which were launched at the event; or to order a 50th anniversary t-shirt; or a copy of the 50th anniversary commemorative print by marine artist Colin Baxter; or copies of event leaflets on how to get involved with us.

We hope to add more information to this page in due course, including copies of speeches, photos (if you were at the event, do please send in any good pictures), and perhaps the chance to buy DVD copies of some of the archive films shown on the night.

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Volunteer training 2011
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.

These voyages are 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.

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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